Queen Isabella I

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On August 3, 1492 Columbus set sail with three ships the Niņa, the Pinta and  the Santa Maria and 87 men.  (The flag of the main ship, the Santa Maria is shown above.)

Columbus reached America on October 12, 1492.   Actually he had not been sailing for all that time.  He had first arrived in the Canary Islands and left them on September 6th.  He did not find a new route to India, but found for Spain a land rich with gold, silver and spices.  He was convinced that he had found a new route to Asia and the East Indies.  He thought that Cuba was actually somewhere in Asia and that the island of Hispanola (where the Dominican Republic and Haiti are now located) was just off the coast of China.  He also found the native people.  He supposedly called them Indians because he thought they were from the Indies. 

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