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Did Columbus discover America?

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Quick Answer

Christopher Columbus did not discover America; millions of people were already living there thousands of years prior to his arrival. The first Europeans to reach North America were probably the Vikings.

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Full Answer

Five hundred years before Columbus was born, Leif Eriksson sailed to what Icelandic legends called the New World. The “Saga of Erik the Red” says that he was blown off course in a storm and that Eriksson, like Columbus, arrived in North America accidentally. The “Saga of the Greenlanders” claims that Eriksson set out to find the New World intentionally because traders had sighted it during their travels. Eriksson and his crew landed in North America and allegedly spent the winter in a place he called Vinland. In 1960, archaeologists believe they found evidence of that camp proving Vikings were here first.

Columbus' arrival initiated centuries of exploration and conquest in the Americas by Europeans.

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