After his marriage to a Portuguese woman, and fathering several children, Columbus became convinced he could reach Asia by sailing westward from Europe across the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, after nearly two decades in the service of the Khan, the Polos were permitted by the Khan to return home, if they would agree to accompany a Yuan princess who had been promised in marriage to a Persian king (probably to create stronger trade ties between Persia and the Yuan Dynasty). He later was the first European to discover Lake Champlain, Lake Huron, and Lake Ontario, all components of the Great Lakes.


He was especially interested in exploring the west coast of Africa, which became the key area for providing African slaves to Portugal -- now the key European slave market. The steady use of silver and gold by Spain greatly increased the amount available in Europe, drove the value of silver and gold down, and resulted in Spain becoming one of the least financially healthy nations in Europe.





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