Columbus believed that he had reached part of the Indies, and called the copper-colored people found there Indians. A half year later, in September, 1493, Columbus set out on a second voyage. Because his first attempt was successful, it was now easier to obtain ships and sailors. On the second voyage he had a fleet of seventeen ships and a crew of fifteen hundred men. He took horses, cattle, hogs, and chickens, and established a Spanish colony on the island of Hispaniola. This was the first successful European settlement in the New World, as the garrison left there before had perished. Columbus made two other voyages to America, and in 1498 discovered the mainland of South America.
The fourth and last voyage was made in 1502. He returned in 1504, still believing that the islands he had found were parts of Asia and the East Indies, but greatly disappointed in his failure to find the wealth of the East. His disappointment was especially great since the Portuguese, under the leadership of Vasco da Gama, had found another route to the Eastern wealth and reaped huge profits from its discovery. Columbus died in poverty and obscurity, even though he had really discovered a New World of untold wealth. Columbus did not find a shorter route to the Indies§ but he did discover new lands which he claimed for Spain.
He was followed by Spanish explorers and settlers, and through them Spain built up a vast empire in the New World, an empire that was many times greater than the mother country itself. Through it Spanish institutions were brought to the West Indies, to the southeastern and southwestern parts of the United States, to Mexico, Central America, and a large part of South America, where the Spanish language and other elements of Spanish civilization and culture still prevail.
The Demarcation Line. While Columbus was making discoveries for Spain, the Portuguese were actively engaged in search of new routes and new lands. Both of these nations laid claims to newly discovered lands, and in order to avoid conflict between the rival nations Pope Alexander VI issued an order, in 1493, by which he divided the unknown world between Portugal and Spain. An imaginary north-and-south line was drawn one hundred leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. To Spain he gave all the land, not held by Christian people, west of this line, while Portugal received the land to the east of this line. King John of Portugal, however, was dissatisfied with this arrangement, for he felt that his country was not getting its fair share of the newly discovered lands; therefore, after a discussion between the two countries, a new agreement was reached. This agreement finally led to a treaty, concluded at Tordesillas, between Spain and Portugal, signed in 1494, by which the north-and-south demarcation line was drawn, instead, three hundred seventy leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands.