In 1492, Christopher Columbus led an expedition sponsored by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to find the passage to the west to the riches of India. Instead, he discovered the islands of present-day Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Columbus' voyage inspired others to venture west to the Americas in search of wealth and exploration. Other expeditions, undertaken by such explorers as Amerigo Vespucci, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Hernando de Soto, and George Vancouver, changed life in both hemispheres. ""Discovery of the Americas, 1492-1800, Revised Edition"" tells the stories of explorers whose travels made major contributions to world history. Coverage of this title includes: Vasco Nunez de Balboa's sighting of the Pacific Ocean in 1513; Hernan Cortes's conquest of present-day Mexico and how his letters to Charles V taught; European people about Aztec civilization; Francisco Pizarro's claim of the area that is now Peru for Spain in the early 16th century; and, the establishment of missions in present-day California by Father Junipero Serra during the late 18th century.