Christopher Columbus set out on his first journey to find a passage by ocean to Asia. After a long sea voyage, he and his crew landed on an island in what is now the Bahamas. Columbus did not know that two entire continents lay between Europe and Asia. Instead, he thought that he had landed in India. He started calling the inhabitants of the Caribbean islands "Indians," which is a term sometimes used even today to refer to Native Americans.
Columbus claimed every seemingly uninhabited place where he and his crew landed for Spain. He saw Cuba and thought it to be China. When he and his crew went ashore on Hispaniola, he assumed they were in Japan. Columbus returned to Spain and later made other journeys. On one of his subsequent journeys, Columbus landed on what is now the island of Puerto Rico.