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Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

Explorer, navigator, and colonizer

Christopher Columbus

It is difficult to say what kind of thirst attracts people to distant countries. Curiosity and profit grow from the same root. In his time, miracles were told about unknown lands. Countless treasures and bizarre creatures excited the imagination. Christopher Columbus goes into the unknown because curiosity is stronger than fear. As soon as he realized that the natives did not pose a threat, he proclaimed the "terra" he had discovered to be the possession of the Spanish crown. Until the end of his days, he believed that he sailed to India, and with his light hand, the aborigines of America began to be called Indians.

Genoese childhood.

Christopher Columbus came from a modest Genoese family and was born in 1451. The exact date, as well as the place of his birth are unknown, which gives food for controversy to six cities in Spain and Italy. He was educated at the University of Pavia, married and continued his father's business, becoming a sailor. Participation in trade expeditions brings him some kind of income, but not satisfaction. A young man dreams of unknown countries and dangerous journeys.

They say that the muse of wanderings begins to beckon from inner dissatisfaction and spiritual discord. Such people are bored or cramped to live among their fellow tribesmen. These dreamers want to find paradise on earth, where milk rivers flow and jelly banks shine. Enlightened minds already guess that the Earth is round, but this has yet to be proved by geographical discoveries. India is known only by hearsay, but enlightened monarchs are ready to fight for its untold riches.

Crazy dream.

Isabella I of Castile

We do not know what was the reason, but in 1474 Columbus moved to Portugal, where he lived for 9 years. He prepares his "great escape" overseas thoroughly. His inspiration was the astronomer and geographer Paolo Toscanelli, who suggested that you can get to fabulous India by sailing to the west. Columbus visits England, Ireland and Iceland, where he collects information about the travels of the Vikings, participates in an expedition to Guinea. His plan to circumnavigate the Earth and reach blessed India from the other side was so bold that it seemed ridiculous. The wise rulers of Genoa, England and Portugal did not dare to give him money, people and ships. And only the Catholic majesties of Spain, a country that was still at war with the Moors on its southern outskirts, are ready to discuss the proposal of a madman from Genoa. In 1482, after the liberation of Granada, Queen Isabella agrees to finance Columbus' overseas project. He is appointed viceroy of undiscovered lands and admiral of the boundless sea deserts.

Unfortunately, apart from a high-profile title and sponsorship promises, he receives almost nothing from Isabella. Private individuals Martin Alonso Pinson, Juan de la Cosa and Juan Niño supply him with money and ships. Three ships: the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Ninya set sail for the unknown on August 3, 1492.

The first expedition of Christopher Columbus.

In three months, the expedition crossed the Atlantic Ocean without incident, simultaneously discovering the Sargasso Sea filled with algae. On October 12, 1482, the "vanguard" of the new continent was discovered by the sailor Rodrigo de Triana. The island that the first Europeans set foot on is now called Guanahani and is part of the Bahamas. The locals did not know the shame of nudity, iron and fear of aliens. They were neither Japanese, whom Columbus expected to find, nor Negroes, nor Indians. Ritual patterns on the body, pieces of gold and tobacco leaves were the first discoveries of the Spaniards.

Columbus gradually moves along the Bahamas to the south, discovering more developed tribes. The inhabitants of these lands use a hammock, grow potatoes, maize, tobacco and cotton. Still believing he has sailed to Southeast Asia, Columbus discovers Cuba. The natives live in reed huts and say that there is gold on the mainland. On December 6, 1482, Columbus discovered Haiti and called this island Hispaniola.

The captain and owner of the Pinta takes his ship on an independent search, and the Santa Maria breaks on the reefs. Hastily building a fortress in Haiti from the wreckage of the ship, Columbus leaves a garrison of sailors in it, and he embarks on a return voyage on the Ninya, taking with him several natives. The Pinta is waiting for them off the northern coast of Haiti. On March 9, 1493, the ships enter the harbor of Lisbon, where they are greeted with honors by the Portuguese king.

Gold Rush.

Columbus' discovery of new lands caused a stir among the maritime powers. Portugal felt cheated, because it was she who was granted the right by the popes to own lands in the west. The new acquisitions of Castile, as Spain was then called, violated the status quo. Pope Alexander Borgia reconciled the two states, indicating the meridian separating the future possessions of Spain and Portugal.

Nothing inspires people more than gold and novelty. The second expedition of Columbus took place six months after the first. About two thousand soldiers, priests, officials and nobles on seventeen ships went to explore new lands and exterminate local residents. In Haiti, the city and port of San Domingo are being laid. The Lesser Antilles and Virgin Islands, the islands of Puerto Rico, Jamaica are opening. Traces of a fire and corpses were found on the site of the fortress founded on the first voyage. Diseases, vices and revenge of the natives exterminated the sailors left here.

The logbook tells in detail about yellow fever, collisions with the Caribbean and the deaf discontent of the team. The stifling heat hinders the development of new lands and spoils food supplies. Staying in Haiti, Columbus is trying to establish gold mining. Some of the Spaniards seize the newly arrived ships with food and flee. Others are scattered around the island, robbing and raping local residents. The natives die of unknown diseases and flee to the mountains.

Meanwhile, the royal couple is unhappy with Columbus. Placers of treasures were not found, and it was decided to send an excess of passionaries to the new possessions, who did not find themselves in peaceful life after the end of the Reconquista. The supply of India and new expeditions is entrusted to the enterprising merchant Amerigo Vespucci.

The third expedition of Christopher Columbus.

Vasco da Gama

Now he has to catch up with smart entrepreneurs sailing to plunder no man's land. The third expedition of Columbus consists of 6 small ships and three hundred crew members, many of whom are recruited from Spanish prisons. Arriving in Hispaniola (Haiti), which was left in the care of his brother Bartolomeo, Columbus observes the complete savagery of his relatives, who demand land plots and slaves. The seriously ill viceroy is forced to allow slavery and plantations.

In 1498, Portuguese Vasco de Gama paved the way to the true India, returning with a cargo of spices. The royal couple believes that Columbus deceived them. The new governor of Hispaniola, Francisco de Bobadilla, is given unlimited powers and an order to arrest the unfortunate discoverer of America. Shackled, he arrives in Spain.

The Last voyage of Christopher Columbus.

Spanish financiers managed to convince the king of the innocence of Christopher Columbus. He goes on his fourth expedition, where he takes his brother Bartolomeo and son Hernando. In this voyage, he discovers the island of Martinique, reaches Central America and describes the customs of the Indians, whose descendants live in the territories of the modern states of Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. From the inhabitants of the Veragua country, he learns that the Atlantic Ocean is separated from the South Sea (as the Pacific Ocean was called) by an insurmountable barrier.

Luck left the great navigator. The governor of Hispaniola does not allow Columbus to take shelter from the storm in the Bay of San Domingo, the city he founded. He will never reach the Pacific coast, which would crown him with new glory. An attempt to establish a new colony on the continent fails due to the militancy of the local population. From the Indians living along the Darien Bay, he learns that white people have already been here. He sails to Jamaica and runs aground. The new head of Hispaniola is in no hurry to come to the aid of a compatriot. Columbus manages to scare the native kings by predicting a lunar eclipse. Aborigines provide sailors with provisions.

Only a year later it is possible to rescue the Spaniards stuck near Jamaica. In September 1504, having overcome the turbulent ocean, the brothers Christopher and Bartolomeo Columbus returned to Spain. Poor and sick, the Admiral of the boundless seas dies in Seville on May 20, 1506. His last words are known: "Into your hands, Lord, I commit my spirit."

Timeline

January 1, 1451
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa.

Patents

Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

Christopher Columbus

Web

Christopher Columbus

History.com Editors

Web

November 9, 2009

Christopher Columbus

Biography

Web

April 28, 2015

Christopher Columbus - Encyclopedia of the New World

Web

Christopher Columbus | Biography, Nationality, Voyages, Ships, Route, & Facts

Web

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

Christopher Columbus - Explorer | Mini Bio | BIO

November 7, 2012

Christopher Columbus - The Discovery Of America And What Happened After

June 3, 2020

Christopher Columbus | Educational Videos for Kids

October 11, 2016

Christopher Columbus for Kids

October 9, 2019

Christopher Columbus: What Really Happened

November 6, 2013

News

Title
Author
Date
Publisher
Description
Jessika Toothman
May 25, 2021
HowStuffWorks
The only thing that's lurking in the shadows during a lunar eclipse is the moon. When Earth's shadow blocks sunlight from directly illuminating a full moon, you're witnessing a lunar eclipse.
Reuters in Madrid
May 19, 2021
the Guardian
Was the explorer from Italy, Spain, Portugal or elsewhere? Researchers hope to find out once and for all
Reuters in Madrid
May 19, 2021
the Guardian
Was the explorer from Italy, Spain, Portugal or elsewhere? Researchers hope to find out once and for all
Reuters
May 19, 2021
news.yahoo.com
Spanish researchers set out on Wednesday to settle the dispute over the true origins of Christopher Columbus after various theories in the past decades...
Jennifer Ouellette
December 29, 2020
Ars Technica
Two studies, published 11 months apart, yield conflicting results.
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