Christopher Columbus, Italian Cristoforo Colombo, Spanish Cristóbal Colón, (born between August 26 and October 31, 1451, Genoa [Italy]—died May 20, 1506, Valladolid, Spain), master navigator and admiral whose four transatlantic voyages (1492–93, 1493–96, 1498–1500, and 1502–04) opened the way for European exploration, exploitation, and colonization of the Americans. He has long been called the “discoverer” of the New World, although Vikings such as Leif Eriksson had visited North America five centuries earlier. Columbus made his transatlantic voyages under the sponsorship of Ferdinand II and Isabella I, the Catholic Monarchs of Aragon, Castile, and Leon in Spain. He was at first full of hope and ambition, an ambition partly gratified by his title “Admiral of the Ocean Sea,” awarded to him in April 1492, and by the grants enrolled in the Book of Privileges (a record of his titles and claims). However, he died a disappointed man.