Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, in 1451. He had three brothers and one sister, and his parents didn't have a lot of money, so he wasn't schooled too much. That didn't bother Columbus because he wanted to become a sailor.
Christopher Columbus sailed around the Mediterranean and as far as England and Ireland, before getting shipwrecked on the coast of Portugal at the age of 25. After being shipwrecked, he lived with one of his brothers, eventually marrying and taking his son, Diego, with him in his travels (after his wife died).
During his European travels, he heard sailors talking about land west of the Azores, so he decided to look on a map. Luckily, Columbus knew Latin, the language used on most maps at the time.
On the maps, Japan was only 3000 miles (4,828.03 km) away from Portugal, and Marco Polo said that China was 1500 miles (2,414.02 km) away from Japan, so Columbus thought that the journey to China via Japan would be easy. Columbus wanted to find a sea route to China so that he could get spices without having to go on land through the Ottoman Empire.
Unfortunately, Japan was NOT 3000 miles (4,828.03 km) away because Ptolemy's map showed that the Earth was smaller around than in real life, and he overestimated Europe and Asia's sizes.
The next step in Columbus' insane plan was to get funding because he didn't have any ships or money to buy them. First, Columbus tried appealing to the king of Portugal, who turned down his requests
because he wasn't stupid.
Next, Columbus appealed to the king of France, then the King of England, and then finally to the king and queen of Spain. MULTIPLE TIMES. If I was the king of Spain, I would be very annoyed.
Having been turned down multiple times, Columbus went to a convent, where he was taken care of. He became friends with one of the monks there, who was an influential person. He was the only monk to whom Queen Isabella confessed. Furthermore, he decided to help Columbus out. Later, Spain won a war with the Moors, and the king granted Columbus his request (probably so that the aspiring explorer would stop bugging him).
The rulers of Spain gave Columbus three ships: the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Columbus was the captain of the Santa Maria, and the Pinzon brothers were the captains of the other two ships.
So, the fleet set sail, and after many days without sight of land, many people aboard the ships threatened mutiny if they didn't go back. Columbus asked for ten more days to see if they can find land, and before the ten days were over, they spied land!
This land was not Japan, but Columbus didn't know that… There, the Santa Maria sunk, but Columbus got off the ship. Some of his men stayed there, forming a colony, and Columbus brought back gold and natives to the Spanish to prove that he had found something. Columbus' mission failed, but he did discover a new continent, although he didn't know that at the time.