When Christopher Columbus set sail on August 3, 1492, his goal was to find the western route to India, China and the spice islands of Asia. Columbus stumbled upon an island in the Bahamas, which he claimed for Spain. When he later landed on Cuba, he thought he reached mainland China. In December, he landed in Hispaniola, which he thought may be Japan.
When he returned to Spain in March 1493 with captured natives, spices and gold, he was honored by the Spanish court. Columbus continued his journeys west, traveling to and from the New World a total of four times during his lifetime.Learn more about Exploration & Imperialism