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Columbus' New Ideas of Navigation

Christopher and his brother Bartolomeo had other ideas of navigation. This map was drawn in their workshop in Lisbon in 1480, where they had developed a plan to sail to the 'Indies', then associated as all of south and east Asia, by travelling directly west across the "Ocean Sea," now known as the Atlantic Ocean.

Columbus' Tomb

More Voyages ........
and the early Death of Columbus

Columbus made three more voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. Beside the Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola, he discovered the islands of Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe and Jamaica on his second trip, Trinidad, the Gulf of Paria and the coast of South America, where he found the mouth of the Orinoco River, on his third trip, and Martinique, Panama and Central America on the fourth and last trip. On September 12, 1504, Columbus made his final voyage across the Atlantic and arrived in Spain on November 7, 1504.

By this time, Columbus was very ill due to malnutrition and exposure. He spent several months of recuperation at the monastery of Las Cuevas in Seville, but never regained full recovery. On May 20, 1506, Columbus died at the age of only 55 years in Valladolid, Spain.

Ironically, his voyage did not end with his death, as he was buried originally in Valladolid. Later, his remains were moved to Seville first and thereafter to Santo Domingo, Havana Cuba and back to the Cathedral of Seville in Spain.


Text on this page was diverted in part from information disclosed by Wikipedia, the free ency-clopedia, and Encarta by Above text is not complete nor does it express any opinions or suggestions to the life of and the achievements by Christopher Columbus.
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The early Life of Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, nowadays a city and important seaport in northeastern Italy in the region of Liguria. His exact date of birth is unknown, historians believe between August and October. His father, Domenico Colombo, was a wool weaver. He and his wife, Susanna Fontanarossa, had four sons, Giacomo, Bartolomeo, Giovanni Pellegrino and Christopher and a daughter, Bianchinetta. History has no accurate information about his early education but in 1473 at the age of 22 years, he begun his apprenticeship as a business agent with the Spinola and DiNegro families in Genoa.

A year later, Columbus was hired as a sailor and made his first voyage to a small island in the Aegean Sea. The irony in Columbus' life is - this was the closest he would ever get to the continent of Asia. In 1476, he sailed to northern Europe and docked in several cities in England and Ireland and possibly in Iceland. His first voyage into the Atlantic Ocean ended in tragedy as the convoy was attacked by privateers on the southwestern tip of Portugal and as the ship he was sailing on was burned, he was forced to swim for the Portuguese coast. After recovering, he travelled to Lisbon to join his brother Bartolomaeo. In the 14th century, Lisbon, the westernmost country of the mainland of Europe, had become a haven for sea-faring people, merchants and entrepreneurs as well as explorers and adventurers.

In 1479, Columbus married Felipa Perestrello e Moniz, the daughter of a noble family, and soon after their son Diego was born. Later the family moved to the island of Madeira, an archipelago in the northern Atlantic. In late 1481 or early 1482, Columbus sailed to the western coast of Africa to a country which is known today as Ghana. Like all good navigators, he was keen to learn about the phenomenon of ocean currents and wind and he observed the fast-moving currents known as the Canaries Currents.

Map of Europe

Europe in the 15th Century

The 15th century was a century of change for Europe. Growing national imperialism, economical competition and the conflict between Christians and Muslims set the tone between the developing nations; and The Fall of the City of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottaman Empire. This event closed the important trade route between Asia and Europe and shut down the lucrative spice trade.

Columbus won the attention of Queen Isabella of Spain on his theory that a western route from Iberia to the Indies would be much shorter and faster than the overland route through the Muslim controlled countries. Portugal was the first European nation to seek a sea route to Asia. They had already conquered northern Africa and begun to explore the west coast of the continent, hoping to detect a route to the riches of Asia.

King Ferdinand

King Ferdinand II

Columbus gets Support from the Spanish Monarchs

In 1485 Columbus moved to Seville. The Spanish monarchs, Isabella I and Ferdinand II, were interested in his ideas but had little time to consider because of the ongoing war conquering the province of Grenada in the southern part of Spain. By the end of 1491, Columbus made his final appeal to the Spanish monarchs but was rejected once again because of his excessive demands for rewards. However, King Ferdinand's treasurer, Luis de Santángel, convinced the King and Queen to reverse their decision and in April 1492, Columbus travelled to Palos de la Frontera to make history.

The people of Palos were forced by the monarchs to provide and equip two small and light sailing ships called caravels, the Pinta and the Santa Clara, known as the Niña. The third ship, Columbus' flagship the Santa Maria, nicknamed the Gallega, was a small and round ship with a large hold. On the evening of August 3, 1492, a crew of experienced seamen and a few government officials departed from the port of Palos de la Frontera to sail to the Canary Islands first.

Queen Isabella

Queen Isabella I

Santa Maria

The Santa Maria

The First Voyage to the 'Indies'

On September 6, 1492, after repairs and restocking, Columbus and his crew started for the First Voyage to the 'Indies', what turned out to be a five week endeavour across the ocean. On October 12, 1492, at 2 o'clock in the morning, a sailor aboard the Pinta named Rodrigo de Triana first sighted land after 36 days of sailing. The location of the first landfall is still in dispute, but most of the 'experts' agree to the Watling Island on the east tip of the Bahamas. Columbus and a handful of his crew set foot on land and raised the Royal Standard claiming the island for Spain.

Columbus discovers The Bahamas and the Caribbean

He named the island San Salvador and described the land as large and flat, with green trees and a great deal of water. Soon the curious islanders, Lucayans, Tainos and Arawaks, came out of their hiding places to greet the visitors. Three days later, the explorer sailed on and discovered Rum Cay and Long Island. By the end of October, Columbus reached the coast of Cuba and crossing the Windward Passage to the east, La Isla Española or Hispaniola. In late December, the Santa Maria struck a reef off the coast and grounded. Out of the lumber of the ship, the Tainos built a fort and stored all the supplies recovered from the ship. This is known as the first European settlement in the Americas since Norwegian-born Leif Ericson and his Vikings had landed on the east coast of Canada half a millennium ago. In January 1493, the two remaining vessels were on course to head back home to Spain. However, the ships ended up in a terrible storm near the European coast and became separated, forcing Columbus to land in Lisbon. He was arrested by agents of King John II on accusations of violating Portuguese sovereignty in the Atlantic, but freed by March to return to Spain. On March 15, 1493, the Niña reentered the harbor of Palos de la Frontera 32 weeks after leaving on the quest to find the 'Indies'. Columbus was granted title of "Admiral of the Ocean Seas" and rewarded generous as he had delivered - what everybody in the Spanish court thought - what he had promised.


Vikings were the first to set foot in America

Columbus was not the first European to set foot on America.
Almost 500 years earlier, the Vikings are believed to be the first explorers to briefly settle on the north American coast, what is now known as Newfound-land and the coast of Labrador.


Columbus meets the Lucayan Indians

The Islanders were open and friendly to trade with the sailors and showed no fear of the Spanish swords.
The Spaniards called the islanders "The Indians", believing that they had arrived in the Indies. Columbus wrote in his journal "... many of them have scars on their bodies, I believe people from the mainland come here to take them as slaves, they defend themselves the best they can".

Columbus Monument

The Columbus Monument on Long Island

At the north end of Long Island, high atop a steep and scary cliff protecting a gorgeous bay, sits an impressive monument honoring the landfall of Christopher Columbus.

Columbus Bay

See were Columbus landed and set foot on Long Island.

Impressions of Long Island

See more pictures and a slideshow about this beautiful bay in section "The Atlantic Beaches".

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