One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(1451–1506), Italian-born Spanish explorer, credited as being the first European to reach the Americas; Spanish name Cristóbal Colón. Columbus persuaded the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, to sponsor an expedition to sail across the Atlantic in search of Asia. In 1492 he set sail with three small ships (the Niña, the Pinta, the Santa Maria) and discovered the New World (in fact, various Caribbean islands). He made three further voyages between 1493 and 1504, landing on the South American mainland in 1498 but never making contact with North America.
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