This Week in History

Listen to and learn about events that happened this week in history—including politics, war, crime, inventions, entertainment and fashion. Archive of events that have shaped history. For learners and teachers of English, with audio recording, vocabulary and quick quizzes.

12 October 1492

Columbus Reaches The "New World"

Christopher Columbus leads the first Europeans to sail across the Atlantic.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus led 3 ships across the Atlantic in search of a short route to Asia. They first found land on an island in The Bahamas in Central America. Columbus referred to the native people living there as "Indians", believing he had actually reached "The Indies" in Asia. He continued to believe this until the end of his life.

sail (verb): go by boat
route (noun): the direction and path taken
island (noun): a piece of land surrounded by water
refer to (someone/something) as (verb): call (as in "give a name to")
The Indies (noun): South and Southeast Asia (such as India, Malaysia and the Philippines)

Columbus reaches the New World
On 3rd August 1492 Christopher Columbus left Spain with three ships. On 12th October 1492 the crew sighted land. It was an island in what is now called The Bahamas.

Quick Quiz:

Columbus was trying to find a new route to

  1. North America
  2. Central America
  3. Asia

The people living in the first place Colombus reached were

  1. Native Americans
  2. Indians
  3. Asians

If someone asks you what route you took to get somewhere, you should tell them

  1. some of the places you passed on the way
  2. whether you went by plane, car, ship, etc.
  3. the time it took you to get there

Guide for Teachers - How to use This Week in History in your classes

Contributor: Matt Errey