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Christopher Columbus (Italian: Cristoforo Colombo; Spanish: Cristóbal Colón; before 31 October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in what is today northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements on the island of Hispaniola, initiated the process of Spanish colonization, which foreshadowed the general European colonization of what became known as the "New World".
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