It was completely dark. The only things visible now were the two small beacon fires on the Pinta and the Nina. Christopher was glad the two fires calmed his frightened crew. They calmed him, too. Their glow reminded him that the Santa Maria was not alone on the vast, uncharted Ocean Sea. The three ships would sail together into the unknown.
Buoyant and determined, and having at last won the support of the king and queen of Spain, Christopher Columbus sailed west from Europe with three ships, confident he would reach the Indies by this new route and find the gold-laden civilization of the Great Khan.
After four risky expeditions in which he explored the Caribbean and landed on South America, Columbus died without acclaim, never knowing he had reached what would soon be known as the New World. While Columbus himself never realized the magnitude of his discoveries, his voyages across the Ocean Sea would soon be recognized as a major turning point in world history.
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