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Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) was an Italian explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa. He already took to the seas aged 14. In 1492, he and 87 men set sail west with three ships (Santa Maria, Niña and Pinta) to discover the quickest way to India. Instead, he rediscovered America, where vikings had landed and settled some 600 years earlier. Altogether, Columbus made four voyages to America. His discovery of the American continent lead to the colonisation of South America and the birth of multi-cultural America.