Christopher Columbus was a great salesman. He convinced the King and Queen of Spain to fund his voyage after he had been rejected by Portugal and Italy.
He didn’t give up and continued his quest to find others in Europe who would provide him with the money he needed to set sail to find China and its riches.
The intent of his trip was to find a faster, new way to the emerging Chinese trade markets, but the result of his first main voyage thanks to the generosity of Queen Isabella of Castille and King Ferdinand of Aragon, did not yield the fruits he claimed it would.
History suggests that the monarchs’ nautical experts were more than skeptical of the Italian explorer’s claims that he could find the new routes, but something in his presentation must have intrigued Isabelle and Ferdinand, because they kept Christopher Columbus on a retainer.
In 1486, when the explorer first approached Spain, the nation was in the middle of a war with the Muslims and until the conflict ended in January of 1492 with the capture of Granada, Columbus continued to lobby for his voyage.
Finally, his efforts paid off when he was given the go-ahead and set sail in August of 1492 aboard the Santa Maria, with the Pinta and the Niña.
On October 12, 1492 a sailor aboard the Pinta, first sighted land. Later Columbus claimed that he had seen a “light or aura” before Rodrigo de Triana did. This allowed him to keep the reward offered to whoever spotted land first.
Columbus named the island in which they landed San Salvador, which is present day Bahamas. Later the expedition moved to Cuba and Hispanola.
Christopher Columbus had a triumphant return to Spain, despite wrecking the Santa María and failing to discover new trade routes. He was convinced he had landed in the Far East and had not discovered anything new, a belief he kept until final days.