Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer that had an interest in searching for a faster trade route from Europe to India. He proposed a voyage across the Atlantic, believing that it would be faster to travel west than it would be to travel east and around the coast of Africa. After acquiring funding for an expedition from the king and queen of Spain in 1492, he and his crew set sail on three ships.
In October of that year, Columbus and his men saw land. Columbus had stumbled across what would later become known as the Bahamas. He returned to Spain with evidence of his findings, and in the process triggered a new era of colonialism.
There is a commonly stated misconception that Columbus discovered America. While it is true that he led the first European crew of his era to find it, the viking Leif Erikson and his men were the first recorded Europeans to have landed in North America centuries earlier. And even then, the Americas were already home to numerous indigenous tribes.