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

Columbus's voyages are today considered some of the most significant events in world history because of initiating modern globalism and resulting in substantial demographic, economic, social, commercial, and political changes. These explorations led to establishing permanent contact between the two hemispheres. Due to exposure to the disease of the Old World, indigenous populations of the New World collapsed and were mostly replaced by Africans and Europeans who also brought new methods of business, farming, governance, and religion. Even though Columbus is considered to be the discoverer of America in European and US popular culture, his legacy is much more nuanced. America was discovered and populated by its indigenous population when Columbus was not even the first European to reach its shores.

However, it was thanks to his efforts that America was brought to the Europeans attention. Historians tend to argue on whether Columbus remained convinced to the very end that his journeys indeed had been along the east coast of Asia. A specific document in the Book of Privileges indicates that the explorer knew that he discovered a new continent. However, on the other hand, in his other writings, Columbus continued his claims regarding reaching Asia.

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