The Caribbean, together with a handful of colonies in North America, comprised the center of England's first overseas empire. The region was also known as the "West Indies" because when explorer Christopher Columbus first landed there in 1492, he thought he had sailed to the "Indies," as Asia was called at the time. He found the people friendly and civilized and they made gifts of gold jewelry to the crew of the ship.
When England's King James I succeeded to the English throne in 1603, he too wanted to expand his country's boundaries by seeking new lands to colonize. In order to do this successfully, he needed a name for these new territories that would make people around the world want to trade with them. So he ordered that the name "Caribbean" be given to the whole region then known as the New World.
This news didn't sit well with some of the settlers in the newly discovered lands who felt that the name "caribbean" wasn't appropriate enough. They argued that it sounded like someone speaking Spanish and not English. So in protest, some settlers from Virginia renamed themselves "Britons" after Britain, while others were named after their favorite royal family member (Charles, Charles II, etc.). But despite these name changes, no one ever officially adopted the term "British West Indies" as their own.
The Caribbean islands are also known as the West Indies at times. On his trip to locate another path to Asia, Christopher Columbus believed he had arrived in the Indies (Asia). To correct Columbus' error, the Caribbean was renamed the West Indies.
The term "West Indies" came from Christopher Columbus who named all of the countries he discovered after European monarchs and princes. Since England was first on the list, it got the name "The West Indies."
These are the names that he gave to the countries he visited: Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic), Florida, and Mexico.
In 1513, Columbus attempted to correct his mistake by sending an expedition to determine if America was actually part of Asia. The team included a naturalist, a mathematician, a physician, an engineer, and three soldiers. When the expedition returned eight months later, it included evidence that America was not connected to Asia, but rather it was its own continent. From this discovery, the world learned that it was possible to reach India by going to America!
Because of this important revelation, one of the members of the expedition, Dr. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, is considered the first European to visit California. He reached the state in 1542. There is a monument dedicated to him in San Diego.
Instead, he'd made it to the Caribbean.
Before Columbus' discovery, the Caribbean was known to many cultures across North America and Europe. It is now understood that these civilizations did not directly contact each other, but rather through the intermediation of Europeans who traveled between them. These travelers became known as pirates until the late 17th century, when European governments began to send ships to combat them.
In order to distinguish themselves from their European counterparts, Caribbean pirates began calling themselves "men without mercy" or "free men." This term was later adopted by American revolutionaries as they fought against England to gain their own independence.
Today, people use the word "pirate" to describe someone who commits crimes using information obtained through hacking. The original definition - used by Americans during their fight for independence from Britain - does not include this meaning.
So, in conclusion, the term "pirate" originates with Americans who fought against Britain to be able to create their own country. Before then, pirates were simply people who committed crimes using information obtained through hacking.
His journeys were the first European contacts with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, and were supported by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. Columbus was searching for a westward sea path to the East Indies when he arrived in what is today known as the West Indies. He believed that there would be islands across this ocean that could help his sailors find food when they got lost en route from Europe to India.
He found many plants and animals new to him, but also many things that seemed familiar to him. This showed him that the Americas were not isolated from each other - people had been traveling between them for some time.
Columbus returned home in 1493, but he was never allowed to leave the country alone again. The Spanish government kept him under surveillance until his death in 1506. However, despite this, he still managed to make two more voyages to the Americas, in 1502 and 1501. On both occasions, he went directly from Spain to the West Indies without stopping anywhere else. This shows how important the Caribbean was to Spain at the time. Although Columbus didn't reach Asia by sailing west, he started a series of events that led to the emergence of the nation-states in Europe. He introduced trade practices that are still used today by ships flying foreign flags in international waters.
Before Columbus' arrival, the Americas were known to be empty.