Christopher Columbus opened routes to the Americas, so Europeans could colonize the region. Columbus also discovered gold in the Caribbean, and he claimed new land in the name of the Spanish Empire.
Columbus believed that reaching India and China would be more attainable if he found a way to get around the Muslim-dominated trade routes of the Middle East. He believed that sailing west across the Atlantic would be an easier way to reach Asia. Columbus lobbied the Spanish court until monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand funded his expedition in 1492. He eventually reached the Bahamas after sailing for 36 days, and he claimed the new territory for Spain. He continued his voyage and discovered Cuba and Hispaniola, otherwise known as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Columbus believed he discovered Asia, and he returned to Spain to give a report of his findings.
He embarked on another voyage the following year and discovered additional islands in the Caribbean. He discovered the Orinoco River, which is in modern-day Venezuela, during his third voyage. However, his settlements in the Caribbean crumbled, and he faced complaints and revolts from the native populations. The monarchy had Columbus arrested, and he was stripped of his official titles. However, he convinced King Ferdinand to finance his final expedition, and he tried unsuccessfully to secure a passage to the Indian Ocean in 1502. Columbus never found a new route to Asia.