Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
Christopher Columbus was born between August 25 and October 31, 1451, in Genoa, Italy. He died on May 20, 1506, in Valladolid, Spain.

The Far East
The Far East is made up of the countries of India, China, and Japan. It is also known as the Indies. The Europeans traded with the Far East for spices, jewels, gold, ivory, pearls, and silk. They relied on a single trade route over land from Europe to the Far East.
This trade route was established by Marco Polo between 1271 and 1274. The route was thousands of miles long and took months to travel. The route was dangerous because robbers would loot the traders of their goods.
In 1435, the Ottoman Empire blocked the European trade route to the Far East. If the Europeans wanted to continue trading with the Far East, they would have to find another route.

New Trade Route
The Portuguese tried to find a new route to the Far East by sailing south around the African continent. In 1488, Bartholomew Diaz discovered Africa's southern tip. It is called the Cape of Good Hope. In 1499, Vasco da Gama continued around the Cape of Good Hope and discovered a sea route to the Far East.

Another Idea for a New Trade Route
Before da Gama found this trade route to the Far East, Christopher Columbus had another idea for a trade route. Columbus believed the earth was round, and therefore, he could reach the East by sailing west. To do so, he would have to cross the Ocean Sea. Today, the Ocean Sea is known as the Atlantic Ocean.

Other people also believed the earth was round. However, they did not think a boat could reach the East by sailing west because they thought the Ocean Sea could not be crossed. At this time, there were several myths about the Ocean Sea. They include:
 The ships would catch on fire because the water reached boiling temperatures.

 The ships would be destroyed by the monsters living in the Ocean Sea.

 The Ocean Sea was too big to sail across.

 If a ship sailed...