Hernán Cortés and the Montezuma Treasure

Christopher Columbus

Long famed as the discoverer of the New World, it is generally accepted that he was born in Genoa in modern-day Italy sometime between October 1450 and 1451, and first went to sea at the age of ten. During his teenage years he conducted his apprenticeship for many prominent Genoese families that captivated his interest in both seafaring and trade. Inspired by the possibility of opening up trade relations with the East Indies via an alternative route, Columbus petitioned the rulers of Portugal, Genoa, Venice and Spain for backing to conduct a return voyage to Asia by sailing across the Atlantic. After seven years of ongoing frustrations, Columbus finally got the backing of the Spanish Crown in January 1492, who backed his voyage to the Indies. Though history now accepts that he was not the first European to discover the Americas, he can indeed be credited as having been the man who opened up lasting contact with them. During his four voyages to the New World, Columbus discovered San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as parts of Venezuela and Central America.