Political map of North America & the Caribbean 12 October 1492 (Arrival of Columbus): In 1492 the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella (Catholic Monarchs of Spain), succumbing to Europe’s growing thirst for exploration (Age of Discovery), agreed to support the Genoese (Republic of Genoa) navigator Christopher Columbus in his bid to reach Asia by sailing westwards across the Atlantic (Voyages of Christopher Columbus). Columbus’ calculations proved to be wrong and in October he unexpectedly arrived in the Americas—continents almost wholly unknown to Europe at the time. Although his discovery was far from the first (Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact), Columbus’ voyage would ultimately transform the world (Columbian exchange) by opening up the Americas for conquest and exploitation (European colonization of the Americas).