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Who was Columbus? Columbus was an explorer. In 1492, he sailed from Europe to America. He and his sailors crossed the Atlantic Ocean, not knowing where they would land. It was a voyage into the unknown. After Columbus, other Europeans began to explore and settle in America. When did he live? Christopher Columbus was born in 1451. It was a time of new ideas and discoveries in Europe. We call this time the Renaissance - a word that means 'rebirth'. People were making maps of new lands. They were building ships to explore places they had never visited before. What did Columbus do? Columbus did not 'discover' America. There were many people already living there. Vikings from Europe had landed in America 500 years before. But Columbus did not know that. His voyage started regular contact between America and Europe.