Did Columbus Discover America?

Last Updated on February 15, 2024.

Often, Christopher Columbus is credited for the discovery of America, but the fact of the matter is that before he made his discoveries, there were already people living on the North American continent.

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When Christopher Columbus arrived in North America, he actually saw people already there. These people were what we now know as Native Americans.

This lesson is provided by Onsego GED Prep.

1. What was Christopher Columbus looking for when he set sail across the ocean?

Question 1 of 2

2. Columbus sighted land in the Americas in:

Question 2 of 2


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This lesson is a part of our GED Social Studies Guide

Video Transcription

Christopher Columbus set foot on American soil in 1492. And as he arrived ashore in North America, Columbus actually saw that people already lived there.

These people were what we now call Native Americans. So, even when Columbus claimed he discovered America, this was only the first time that Europeans were experiencing it.

How it all started

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Christopher Columbus believed that he could get to Asia if he sailed west across the wide Atlantic Ocean. So Columbus requested King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to finance his trip. They were hoping Columbus could find riches.

And Columbus came ashore on an island in what today are the Bahamas.

Columbus actually thought that he landed close to what is now India.

Columbian Exchange

The Spanish royalty and rulers asked Columbus to set up a settlement and start looking for gold. The Spanish ships were carrying horses, pigs, cows, wheat, sugar cane, and barley.

These plants and animals were new to the area of the Americas.

But the Spanish also carried some new illnesses and diseases, so the people began to die because of horrible epidemics.

But Columbus was taking back to Spain also new foods, such as potatoes, beans, corn, cacao, and peanuts.

Today, we refer to that movement of plants and animals between Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas as the so-called ‘Columbian Exchange.’ Actually, in Europe, now potatoes were becoming a common and vital element in the food chain.

It wasn’t long before more European rulers sent their exploration crews to the new lands of the Americas to find riches and claim lands.
In the US, Columbus Day is a holiday for commemorating Christopher Columbus’ 1492 landing in the Americas.