During the era of Christopher Columbus in the 15th Century, Europeans were very interested in the markets of India and the East. Countries like Portugal, England, and Spain were interested in finding routes to the East that would avoid the exorbitant fees being charged by Muslim middlemen. The Portuguese established a route by sailing south along the coast of Africa. Christopher Columbus believed that he could sail to the West and reach India in that direction. Naturally, this was not possible without slamming into the Americas. Columbus initially landed on an island in the Bahamas. He also would travel to a number of other islands and also Hispaniola. Columbus managed to create interest in the European colonization of this vast wealth of land. As a result of Columbus's voyages, Spain was able to claim a large empire in the New World and benefited economically from the looting of gold and silver from the land.