Christopher Columbus: Five things you thought you knew about the explorer

4. MYTH: Columbus discovered America.

FACT: Columbus never set foot in North America.

Columbus certainly put the Americas on the proverbial map after opening up a new trade route for Europeans, but he actually never sailed to North America. In fact, he wasn’t even the first European to come to the Americas. Many historians suspect that Viking Leif Erickson, who established a settlement in northeastern Canada in the 11th century, was the first European to come to the Americas.

Columbus’s first landfall was most likely somewhere near the Bahamas or the Dominican Republic. However, as is frequently noted on this day, when Columbus landed, natives already inhabited the land. He called them Indians because he initially thought he had reached India.

4 of 5
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.