Did Columbus believe that he had reached Asia up until his death?  

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In the 1400s, new navigation technology, such as the caravel, magnetic compass, and astrolabe were developed. This, combined with growing power and wealth amongst European rulers, helped spur the Age of Exploration. One of the main goals of European explorers was the find a fast, water route to Asia. While Portuguese explorers searched for a route that went south of Africa and then north toward India and Southeast Asia, Christopher Columbus had a different idea. Columbus believed that the Atlantic Ocean was not as big as people imagined. He also, not knowing the Americas existed, believed that heading out to the Atlantic would result in the discovery of a faster and shorter route to Asia. Spain sponsored Columbus's voyage, which famously landed in the Bahamas. Columbus, however, believed that his theory was correct. Columbus returned to Spain holding the belief that he had landed in the East Indies. Columbus would hold this belief until his death. Amerigo Vespucci, a fellow explorer who met with Columbus and also conducted voyages of exploration, made a different claim. Vespucci claimed that Columbus's voyages did not actually reach the East Indies, but instead landed in a new, undiscovered land. The new land would eventually be given the name "America" in honor of Vespucci.

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Throughout his lifetime, and despite some disagreement from his contemporaries, Christopher Columbus never abandoned the belief that his voyages had reached Asia. He believed that East Asia, the region then called "the Indies," was much closer to Western Europe than it was, and that this region was more easily reached by traveling westward than eastward. Prior to his travels, Columbus read extensively about the Indies, particularly Marco Polo's account of the indigenous people, which were sometimes untrue or exaggerated. When he reached the Canary Islands in 1492 and discovered that the people there were naked and wore gold jewelry in their noses, just as Marco Polo described Asian people, he concluded that he must have reached the Indies, and there is no record of him giving up on this conviction at any point before his death.

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