On August 3, 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus started his voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. With a crew of 90 men and three ships—the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria—he left from Palos de la Frontera, Spain. Columbus reasoned that since the world is round, he could sail west to reach “the east” (the lucrative lands of India and China). That reasoning was actually sound, but the Earth is much larger than Columbus thought—large enough for him to run into two enormous continents (the “New World” of the Americas) mostly unknown to Europeans.
Columbus made it to what is now the Bahamas in 61 days. He initially thought his plan was successful and the ships had reached India. In fact, he called the indigenous people “Indians,” an inaccurate name that unfortunately stuck.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry continent Noun
one of the seven main land masses on Earth.
Encyclopedic Entry: continent Earth Noun
our planet, the third from the Sun. The Earth is the only place in the known universe that supports life.
Encyclopedic Entry: Earth enormous Adjective
person who studies unknown areas.
native to or characteristic of a specific place.
profitable or money-making.
long journey or trip.