What land did Christopher Columbus claim for Spain?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Presumably, all of the newly-found lands first discovered by Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) were claimed for Spain (or, more accurately, the Crown of Castile, of which Ferdinand and Isabella were king and queen). Columbus, however, was under the mistaken impression that his first journey in 1492, which resulted in his landing on the island of San Salvador, only took him as far as western Asia. Columbus never believed he had discovered a new continent; he believed he had landed somewhere near India, thus the term West Indies.

In any case, Columbus first landed on Guanahani, which Columbus renamed San Salvador; it was an island in what is now The Bahamas, but there is still uncertainty about which present-day island Columbus actually landed. He also discovered the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola on his first voyage before returning home. Columbus' second voyage conisted of 17 ships that included groups of prospective new colonists. Columbus became the first European to sight and name many of the islands of the Caribbean, including the following:

  • Montserrat
  • Antigua
  • Redonda 
  • Nevis
  • Saint Kitts
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Saba
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Croix.
  • The Virgin Islands, including Virgin Gorda, Tortola, and Peter Island.

Columbus also landed on Puerto Rico.