What happened on October 12, 1492? On August 3, 1492 Christopher Columbus and his crew left Spain on three ships, the Santa Maria, Niña, and Pinta. They were going to see if they could find the country of India by sailing west from Europe. The trip was long and dangerous. Finally, at 2:00 a.m. on the morning of October 12, 1492, the lookout on the Niña sighted land. Columbus thought that he had discovered a group of islands off the coast of India. He called the people he found on these islands Indians. It was true that Columbus and his men had found islands off the coast of a great land, but the land was the continents of the Americas, not of India. Soon many more ships from Spain, Portugal, and other European nations began sailing to the Americas. The Age of Discovery by the nations of Europe had begun. What was the effect of Columbus’ voyages on the Mexica and the Inca? Within 40 years of Columbus’ 1492 voyage, the Spanish soldiers had conquered both the Mexica and the Inca nations. The Mexica Empire came to an end when Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes captured Tenochtitlan on August 13, 1521. The Inca Empire came to an end on November 15, 1533 when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured the Inca capital city of Cuzco. The Spanish conquest of the Indian nations of Meso- and South America was now complete. The lives of the Native American people throughout all the Americans would now change forever. Whether their conquest was “good or bad” has been debated for over 500 years. But the first Europeans, who would enter a land that would become known as Arizona, came from these Spanish soldiers who fought with Cortes and Pizarro. It is our story, the story of Arizona. This map shows the routes of the four voyages that Christopher Columbus made to the New World. 46  Chapter 4 • Arizona in the World