What did Columbus do?

He sailed across the ocean blue. In fourteen hundred and ninety-two.

Sailing for the king and queen of Spain, Italian-born Columbus was looking for a passage to China without going around the tip of Africa or across the Middle East on land. Using erroneous figures for the Earth's circumference, he thought that he could reach Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic. As far as he knew, the giant ocean west of Europe and Africa was the same giant ocean that was east of China and Southeast Asia.

He ended up landing in the Americas, which he did not realize was a new world until much later. The islands of the Caribbean were eventually named the West Indies, a reference to the East Indies islands of Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Guinea.