When Columbus landed on a Caribbean island, what was he looking for?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Christopher Columbus landed on an island in the Caribbean in the year 1492, he was actually looking for Asia.  He had no idea that there could be another landmass between Europe and Asia.  Until the day he died, he never accepted the idea that he had not reached islands off the coast of Asia.

Europeans of Columbus’s time were eager to trade with Asia.  They particularly wanted spices from the area that is now Indonesia and things like silks from China.  Anyone who could find a faster route to Asia (faster than going around the southern end of Africa) would get rich by trading with Asia via the faster route.  Columbus believed that he could find a faster route.  He believed that he could sail west and reach Asia because he believed that Asia was just on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.  He had underestimated the size of the Earth.

What this means is that Columbus was looking for Asia when he landed on an island in the Caribbean in 1492.

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