The 17th Century impetus was to find a short route to the “Indies” -for spices and other products and, very importantly, to find a route by which payments for the privilege of ocean passage might be avoided.
Chris’ application for the financing of the voyage was, perhaps wisely, turned down by his own rulers and so he applied to the religious zealots, the lunatics, Ferdinand and Isabella, who were almost too preoccupied with burning innocent people alive as “heretics” in Spain. The celebrated royal couple financed the voyage for their own purpose of converting heathen savages to their brand of Catholicism. (Presumably, one which would not be approved by the new Pope, Francis, by any means).
Three ships, loaded with many missionary priests (and some sailors) set out for the continent of America but ended up in Haiti (my wife berates me for getting off the LIE at the wrong exit!!).
He did, however, succeed in killing many indigenous people, bringing death, atrocity and new diseases to the “New World”. And its innocent inhabitants.
I enthusiastically celebrate the ethnos, but not that villain, Columbus.