This interesting site describes the early evidence for a round Earth and also Eratosthenes remarkable measurement of Earth's circumference. You'll see that Columbus was not the first to imagine sailing west to India, and that he planned to get there based on an underestimation of the distance he had to travel.
%0 Electronic Source %A Stern, David %D December 12, 2004 %T The Round Earth and Christopher Columbus %V 2014 %N 30 August 2014 %8 December 12, 2004 %9 text/html %U http://www.phy6.org/stargaze/Scolumb.htm
Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.