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Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), Italian explorer. Based on flawed assumptions of geography, Columbus calculated that a westward route from Europe to Asia would be 3700 kilometres (as opposed to the true 19,600 kilometres). He secured the support of Queen Isabella I of Spain and in 1492 his ships arrived in the Bahamas, Hispaniola and Cuba. He had discovered the Americas, though he thought he had reached Asia. He was appointed Viceroy and Governor of the Indies, and over a further three voyages he explored the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Artwork from 'History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella' (1846).
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