Christopher Columbus (Italian: Cristoforo Colombo, Spanish: Cristóbal Colón) (30 or 31 October 1451 - 20 May 1506) was an Italian sailor in the 15th century. Believing the Earth was smaller than it actually is, he mistakenly thought Asia could easily be reached by travelling west. He submitted a proposal for a journey to India by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean to several European monarchs and ultimately received approval, funding, and three ships from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. He did not find India (though he initially thought he did) but instead became the first European to reach the New World and establish a lasting presence. He returned on several subsequent journeys and became the first governor of Spanish colonies established there.
Columbus died a wealthy man, convinced he'd visited Asia to the very end of his life.