Christopher Columbus got his first look at the Atlantic ocean when he was working as a sailor on a commercial vessels. When he was young he spent most of his time learning to sail and make maps. By 1477 he was working in Portugal and later joined the Portuguese merchant fleet.
When Columbus worked as a merchant sailor Portugal was trying to find an eastern route to Asia because the route around Africa was taking too long. Columbus thought it would be quicker to sail west to Asia. Some people thought the earth was or larger than it actually was. It turns out it was smaller than Columbus thought.
Columbus had to raise a lot of money to buy supplies to make the trip west. He asked the rulers of Portugal and said "No" because it would take too long and be too dangerous. He then asked the king and queen of Spain and it took him 7 years to convince them.
The First Voyage
Columbus went on his first voyage in 1492 from Spain with 3 ships: The Nina, The Pinta and the Santa Maria. Columbus left on September 6th and land was sighted on October 12th. Columbus called the first island that he landed on San Salvador. He thought he was in Asia but come to find out he was really in America. He continued to explore and ended up in Cuba and Hispaniola. Columbus was very impressed with the people of Hispaniola and found them to be very interesting. In January of 1493 Columbus sailed back to Europe. He berough back with him tobacco, turkey, spices and several native people.
The Second Voyage
Columbus's second voyage started in September of 1493. He sailed back to the islands the he explored on his first voyage. When he returned he had 17 ships in his fleet and 1200 men. When he returned to Hispaniola he found that the colonists that he left behind the first time had been killed by the natives. This made Columbus mad. So he enslaved the natives and sent some back to England and used the others to mine for gold in Hispaniola. FInding gold was one of Columbus's main objectives but he was not very successful at it. He