Christopher Columbus prototype toby jug produced by Kevin Francis Ceramics of Stoke-on-Trent, England, in 1992. Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an explorer who set out to discover a western sea route from Europe to eastern Asia, but instead made landfall in the Bahamas. After five centuries, Columbus remains a mysterious and controversial figure who has been variously described as one of the greatest mariners in history, a visionary genius, a mystic, a national hero, and a ruthless and greedy imperialist. After trying unsuccessfully in Portugal to enlist support for his enterprise to find a westward route to Asia, Columbus gained the support of the Spanish monarchs, Isabel and Ferdinand. The widely published report of his voyage of 1492 made Columbus famous throughout Europe and secured for him the title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Columbus led three more expeditions to the Caribbean, exploring regions of Cuba, North America, Puerto Rico, and Honduras, all the while believing he had discovered the Orient. The Santa Maria's prow and sail form the handle of the jug.