Christopher Columbus

An Italian colonizer and explorer Christopher Columbus has completed four different voyages across the Atlantic Ocean and opened the New World to conquest that in the future led to permanent European colonization of the Americas. Colombus's expeditions that were sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs led to the first European contact with Central and South America. Even though the explorer's early life is not very clear, scholars usually agree on the fact that he was born in the Republic of Genoa, and his primary language was a dialect of Ligurian. Christopher first went to sea at a young age and traveled, as far north as the British Isles and as far south as today's Ghana.


Early life

Christopher Columbus's background Christopher Columbus was born before October 31, 1451, in the territory that at the time represented the Republic of Genoa and now is part of modern Italy. Besides being a wool weaver, his father, Domenico Colombo, also owned a cheese stand where Christopher worked as a helper. Being the oldest, Christopher, had one sister and three brothers. In one of his writings, Columbus is mentioning him going to sea at the age of 10. In 1470 his whole family moved to Savona. When still a teenager, he got his job on a merchant ship. Christopher remained at sea until 1476 when pirates attacked the ship he was while it sailed north along the Portuguese coast. Christopher Columbus's childhood Even though the boat sank, young Columbus managed to float to shore on a scrap of wood and somehow made his way to Lisbon, where he later studied astronomy, cartography, mathematics, and navigation. In Portugal, he found his brother Bartolomeo and together, they continued trading for the Centurione family. Columbus spent seven years of his life in Portugal, where he married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo. Some records report that Filipa died around 1485, while Christopher was away in Castile. The same year he left Portugal for Castile, where he met Beatriz Enriquez de Arana. Beatriz gave birth to Christopher's natural son Fernando Colombus in 1488. Columbus entrusted his legitimate son Diego to take care of Beatriz, but Diego was negligent in his duties. Christopher Columbus's education Ambitious Christo

Financial Support for the voyage

Christopher Columbus's plan Europeans had enjoyed a safe land passage, the Silk Road that led to the Indies and China, which represented rich sources of valuable goods such as silk and spices. But after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks, the land route that led to Asia became more dangerous than ever before. Due to these circumstances in the 1480s, the Columbus brothers developed and proposed a plan to reach the Indies by sailing west across the "Ocean Sea." Even though Christopher was not right in calculations of degrees of longitude that separated the Far East from Europe, his knowledge about the trade winds proved to be the key to the successful navigation of the Atlantic Ocean. Christopher Columbus's expedition proposals In 1485 explorer presented his plan to King John II of Portugal. Colombus proposed for the king to equip three sturdy ships and give him one year to sail out into the Atlantic in search of a western route that would have led to the Orient, and return. He also asked to be given one-tenth of all revenue and to be made "Great Admiral of the Ocean" of all lands he discovered. The king then submitted the proposal to his experts, who rejected the idea. In their opinion, Christopher's estimation of a travel distance of 2400 miles was far too low. The next meeting with the proposal also did not have any success. After two years of negotiations, continuous lobbyings, and audiences at the Spanish court, Columbus finally received approval in 1492. At first, Queen I

First Voyage

Christopher Columbus's first voyage On the evening of August 3, 1492, the explorer departed from Spain with three ships. The largest ones name was Santa Maria that belonged to Juan de la Cosa and was captained by Christopher. At first, ships sailed to the Canary Islands, which at that time were owned by Castille. There he restocked provisions and then departed for a five-week voyage across the ocean. The first person to spot the land was Rodrigo de Triana, who then immediately informed the rest with a shout. The captain of the Pinta verified the sight and alerted Columbus, who claimed that he already saw the land a few hours earlier. Christopher named the island San Salvador (Holy Savior). The people he encountered were friendly and peaceful. Columbus called the inhabitants Indios and took some of them as prisoners after noting their gold ear ornaments. He then insisted they guide him to the source of the gold. In his notes, Columbus mentioned that a lot of inhabitants had scars that were made by people who came from nearby islands to capture them. He assumed that the foreigners attempted to take Indies as slaves when those ought to make good servants because of repeating everything they heard. He also thought that then since these people did not have any religion, it would be easy to make them Christians. Primitive weapons and lack of military tactics made "Indies" an easy target to capture and govern. Columbus at Cuba Later Colombus explored the northeast coast of Cuba, where he managed to land on October 28. He spe

Second Voyage

In 1493 Christopher Colombus left Cadiz with a fleet of seventeen ships and the supplies aimed to establish and base permanent colonies in the New World. The passengers included farmers, soldiers, and priests. This also reflected the new policy of creating not only "colonies of exploitation" but also "colonies of settlement" from which to launch missions dedicated to turning the natives to Christianity. Like in the first voyage, the fleet stopped at the Canary Islands, from which it departed on October 13 with a more southern course than during the previous expedition. Later Columbus sighted a rugged island that he decided to name Dominica. The same day explorer landed at Marie-Galante, which he called Santa Maria De Guadalupe de Extremadura. He continued exploring the island for about six days. The precise course of Columbus's journey through the Lesser Antilles is debated. Still, there is a possibility that he turned north, sighting and naming different islands, including Redonda, Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua, Saint Kitts, Sint Eustatius, Saint Martin, Saba, and Saint Croix. During the voyage, Columbus also sighted the chain of the Virgin Islands and named them Islas de Santa. Return to Hispaniola Columbus decided to return to Hispaniola and visit the fort of La Navidad that he built during his first voyage. However, Columbus found out that the native Taino people destroyed the fort. Corpses of 11 of 39 Spaniards laid among the ruins. Christopher then decided to sail more than 62 miles eastwards along the northern co

Third Voyage

According to Bartolome de Las Casas, the third voyage aimed to verify the existence of a continent by King John II's suggestions was situated to the southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. In 1498 Columbus left Spain with six ships for his third trip to the New World. Three of them headed directly to Hispaniola while the other three Colombus took the course to the south of the Caribbean islands to discover what might lie there. Columbus led his fleet to his wife's native land. Portuguese island. Then he sailed to Madeira and spent some time there. When Columbus resupplied with water and food, Columbus explored the Gulf of Paria that separated Tiridad from today's Venezuela. Subsequently, the explorer touched the mainland of South America at the Paria Peninsula. After exploring the new continent, Columbus even speculated that the new continent could have been the location of the biblical Garden of Eden. Rebellion at Hispaniola In poor health, Christopher then returned to Hispaniola and found out that a lot of Spanish settlers of the new colony were in rebellion against his rule. They claimed that Columbus had misled them regarding the supposedly bountiful riches of the New World. Many returning sailors and settlers lobbied against Columbus at the Spanish court, accusing him and his brothers of gross mismanagement. Explorer even had some of his crew hanged for disobeying his orders. Since Columbus mainly had economic interests in the enslavement of the Hispaniola inhabitants, he was not too eager to baptize them

Fourth Voyage

Columbus initiated a fourth trip in search of the Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean. He was accompanied by his son Fernando and brother Bartolomeo and left Cadiz in 1502. Columbus sailed to Arzila on the Moroccan coast to save Portuguese soldiers whom he knew were under siege by the Moors. On June 15, the ship landed on the island of Martinique. A hurricane was brewing, so Colombus was hoping to find shelter on Hispaniola. After arriving at Santo Domingo, Christopher was denied port, and the new governor did not care to listen to his storm predictions. Consequently, Columbus's ships sheltered at the mouth of the Rio Jaina and survived with some minor damages when 29 of the 30 ships in the governor's fleet were lost to a storm. Explorer then spent about two months exploring the coasts of Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua before arriving in Panama. In Panama, Colombus learned about gold and a strait to another ocean. However, local leader Quibian warned the foreigner not to go past a certain point down the river. After some time, Columbus managed to establish a garrison at the mouth of the Belen River, where Quibian attacked it. Columbus in Jamaica On his way back to Hispaniola, Columbus sighted the Cayman Islands and named them after Las Tortugas since the presence of numerous turtles there. After additional damage from the storm and is unable to continue the trip, Christopher decided to stay in Jamaica, where he remained stranded for about one year. Due to being in desperate need, Colombus was trying to induce

Later Life

Columbus was known to claim the conversion of non-believers as one reason for his explorations. However, in his later years, he grew increasingly religious. Probably with the assistance of his friend, the Carthusian monk Gaspar Gorricio and his son Diego, Columbus managed to produce two books during his later years: a Book of Prophecies and a Book of Privileges. In his later years, Christopher was demanded from the Spanish crown governor to give10% of all the profits made through the new lands, as stipulated in the Capitulations of Santa Fe. Due to being relieved from his governor duties, the crown did not feel bound by that contract and ultimately rejected his demands. After Columbus's death, his heirs sued the king for a part of the profits from trade with America, as well as other rewards. These actions led to a protracted series of legal disputes that became known as Columbian Lawsuits. Illness and Death After getting in a violent storm on his first return voyage explorer suffered an attack of what was believed then to be gout. In later years Columbus was plagued with what was considered to be influenza and other fevers, temporary blindness, bleeding from the eyes, and prolonged attacks of gout. The attacks increased in severity and duration, which sometimes caused Columbus to stay bedridden for months and culminated in his death. Based on the explorer's lifestyle and symptoms, today's doctors suspect that he had reactive arthritis. At the age of about 54, Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain. After Death

More about Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

A brief history of Christopher Columbus

An Italian colonizer and explorer Christopher Columbus has completed four different voyages across the Atlantic Ocean and opened the New World to conquest that in the future led to permanent European colonization of the Americas. Colombus's expeditions that were sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs led to the first European contact with Central and South America. Even though the explorer's early life is not very clear, scholars usually agree on the fact that he was born in the Republic of Genoa, and his primary language was a dialect of Ligurian. Christopher first went to sea at a young age and traveled, as far north as the British Isles and as far south as today's Ghana.

Middle ages

Christopher married Portuguese woman Filipa Moniz Perestrelo and lived in Lisbon for a few years, but later took a Castilian mistress; he had one son with each woman. Mostly self-educated, Columbus was widely read in such studies as astronomy, geography, and history. Christopher hoped to profit from lucrative spice trade and therefore developed a plan to seek a western passage to the East Indies. After lengthy negotiations, King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I finally agreed to sponsor his journey to the west, in the name of the Crown of Castile.

In 1492 the explorer left Castile with only three ships and, after a stopover in the Canary Islands, managed to make landfall in the Americas. He then landed on an island in the Bahamas; its inhabitants knew that as Guanahani. Subsequently, he also visited the islands that today are known as Hispaniola and Cuba. He established a colony in today's Haiti that represents the first European settlement in America since the Norse colonies. Columbus returned to Castile in 1493 and brought several captive natives with him. Very soon, word of his expedition spread throughout the whole of Europe.

Christopher Columbus's voyages

Columbus continued to seek a passage to the East Indies, and he became aware that the Americas were a separate landmass is uncertain. However, the explorer never renounced his belief of him reaching the Far East and even named indigenous peoples as Indios. Later, Christopher's tense relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America finished with his arrest and complete removal from Hispaniola in 1500. Columbus's expeditions inaugurated a period of conquests, exploration, and colonization that lasted for centuries and, in the future, helped to create the modern Western world. The transfers between Old and New Worlds that followed Columbus's first voyage are referred to as the Columbian exchange. The period before his visit is known as the Pre-Columbian era.


Even today, the explorer's legacy is being debated between scholars. Previously Columbus was admired during the centuries, but public perception has changed after giving more attention to some negative aspects of his life.