Christopher Columbus and the Age of Italian Maritime Explorations begins.

Born in Genoa, Italy as Cristoforo Columbo (1451-1506) Christopher Columbus' discovery of America in 1492 is considered the greatest exploration in recorded history. Between 1492 and 1504 the intrepid Columbus sailed for the Spanish flag and forever changed the course of history. The discoveries accelerated the transition in economic, social and political aspects from medieval to modern times. Columbus' feat that is honored in the names of hundreds of towns, counties, rivers and other locations throughout the United States, also ushered in an extraordinary age of exploration in which Italians were prominent.

Other Italian explorers whose discoveries made a major impact on the development of the United States include Giovanni Caboto, (1455-1499), who was accompanied by his son Sebastiano. Giovanni Caboto, whose name was anglicized to John Cabot, sailed for the English government and, explored the coastal regions of North America in Newfoundland. This became the basis for England's claim to North America. Amerigo Vespucci, (1454-1512) who explored Brazil and the northeastern coast of South America, confirmed Columbus' discovery and published a map to that effect, was rewarded by having "America" named after him. Giovanni daVerrazano's explorations in behalf of France led him to charter the coastline from South Carolina to Nova Scotia. He was the first to probe the New York area and has a famous bridge named after him. Most emphatically these explorations along with others helped to clarify the shadowy picture of the New World that soon led Europeans and others to emigrate and develop the new lands.

500th anniversary celebration for Christopher Columbus

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