Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. He was born in Italy. His father and both grandfathers were cloth makers. Columbus was a seaman and made many sea voyages.
Most people in Columbus's days thought that the earth was flat and they did not believe that beyond the Atlantic Ocean lay India. In 1492 the King and the Queen of Spain gave him money to go to India. He decided to sail west as he was sure that our planet was round. There were 3 caravels: the Santa Maria, the Nina and the Pinta. After sailing 4000 miles he reached some land. The crew saw something like a white cliff and cried out: "Tierra! Tierra!". Columbus thought 'that it must be India but it was not. It was a new land - a new continent. It was America. Columbus named the land they had reached San Salvador ("Holy Saviour"). People began to speak about the land as "The New World".
European people came to the New World for many reasons. Some hoped to find gold and silver. Priests and missionaries came to bring the Christian religion to the Indians. Among those who came for freedom was a small group of English people called Pilgrims. They wanted to start a new life and to have no religious problems they had in England. In 1620 on the ship "Mayflower" they landed in the north-east of America. They set up a colony and called that part of the country "New England".