Christopher Columbus spent a significant amount of time as a child at sea, which led to his desire to become an explorer. Columbus was born in Italy in 1451 to a family of wool weavers. Despite learning weaving techniques as a young boy, Columbus developed an interest in maritime pursuits.
Columbus, through determination and work, gained experience and confidence in sailing. Eventually, he left Italy to pursue a professional sailing career in Lisbon, Portugal. Columbus worked in the port cities of Portugal, dreaming and planning of setting sail to discover new sea routes. Columbus made rounds to the royal families and governments of Europe seeking financial support for an overseas journey. Columbus accrued money and experience while soliciting help from European governments. Eventually, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain funded Columbus's inaugural voyage to the Far East and Spice Islands. With money and men, Columbus set sail in 1492 from Spain in search of new territory, fine fabrics and spices. In contrast to most sailors of the time, Columbus set out heading west upon leaving port. He believed that heading west led to a faster discovery of new trading routes and a chance at fame. Columbus discovered lands in the Caribbean and Atlantic and, ultimately, completed several trans-Atlantic voyages.