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After seven years of attempting to secure funding and disappointment after disappointment, Christopher Columbus set sail on his infamous voyage to the New World on August 3, 1492. Though the Europeans had arrived five centuries before when the Norse landed in modern Canada, the Italian sailor’s expedition from Palos, Spain opened the door to waves of European exploration and settlement over the course of several centuries.
Columbus moved to find a western trade route to the Orient by approaching the King of Portugal, John II in 1485. Proposing he be given a year to sail three ships out and return, Columbus further requested the title “Great Admiral of the Ocean Sea” – the name for the Atlantic Ocean in his day – and a ten percent share of all profits from whatever lands he discovered, as well as being appointed governor of them. Interested in the potential financial rewards, particularly as the land route to Asia had become treacherous after the Ottomans captured Constantinople three decades before, the king passed the plan on to his advisors for their review. …(Read more)