While exploring the islands in the area and looking for gold to loot, Columbus' men traveled to the islands of Hispaniola (now divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Cuba, and many other smaller islands. On the way back the Santa Maria crashed and the captain of the Pinta sailed off a different way thinking he was going to beat Columbus back. Columbus returned to Spain in the Nina, arriving on March 15, 1493.
On the second trip, a larger expedition Sept. 25, 1493-June 11, 1496, sailed with 17 ships and 1,200 to 1,500 men to find gold and capture Indians as slaves in the Indies. Columbus established a base in Hispaniola and sailed around Hispaniola and along the length of southern Cuba. He spotted and named the island of Dominica on November 3, 1493. The presence of some 1,300 salaried men with perhaps 200 private investors and a small troop of cavalry are testimony to the anticipations for the expedition. On a third expedition May 30, 1498-October 1500, Columbus sailed farther south, to Trinidad (named for the