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Columbus Essay, Research Paper

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy on August 25th 1451, and he died in Valladolid Spain on May 20th 1506. His life is filled with mystery and controversy. Even though there has been controversy about his birth date and this birthplace, the historians have narrowed it down to this date and place. His childhood is another mystery. It is said that Columbus was the oldest of five children to poor wool weavers . His son has stated that Columbus had attended the University of Pavia; Columbus was a good observer and very well read.

In 1476 Columbus traveled to Lisbon, Portugal were there he an established Genoese population, including Bartholomew, he was a noted to be a mapmaker. After a couple of years Columbus sailed with the Portuguese through the Mediterranean and the Atlantic as far south as La Mina (Present day Elmaina, Ghana) and as far north as England. Columbus also made a voyage to Iceland in 1477.

In 1479 Columbus married Dona Felipe and established land in Porto Santo were his son Diego was born in 1480. When his wife died somewhere in between 1481 to 1485, Columbus returned to Lisbon. As early as 1484 Columbus got a plan to sail west from the Canary Islands to the Indies (now East Indies) and the island kingdom of Cipangu (modern day Japan). When King John II declined Columbus s Enterprises to the Indies he decided to go to the Spanish monarch. Columbus traveled to Cordoba; in 1488 he and his mistress had another son. Columbus presented his plan to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella two different times but both times a counsel of experts rejected his project. Columbus s ideas were made fun of by many in the court. However he received support from other powerful people, for example Luis de Santagel , chancellor of the royal household of Aragon and prior Juan Prez (the Queen s confessor). As a result of this Queen Isabella approved to Columbus s project. Columbus s first was to find a short voyage to the Indies by sailing west, and the second goal was to convert any foreign inhabitance to Christianity.

There were three ships the first was the Santa Maria, which can hold up to forty sailors, The second ship is the Pinta, which held up to twenty-six sailors, and the Nina, which held twenty-four sailors. On October 12 1482 a seaman on the Pinta claimed he spotted land , his name was Rodrigo de Tirana. On that morning Columbus s crew went ashore one of the islands, in the Bahamas, claimed the land for Spain, and called it San Salvador. After trading glass beads with the Indians for parrots and tobacco, Columbus took six or seven Indians home with him. On January 16th Columbus sailed back to Spain.

On September 25, 1493 he set sail again back to the islands. But this time Columbus s fleet was much larger he had a total of seventeen ships and a total of 1,500 men. The island now known as Dominica was sighted on November 3rd. Columbus and his men spent six days on the large island. Then 12 ships returned, loaded with gold and needing more supplies, to Spain. While waiting for supplies Columbus explored Cibo and built a fortress called Isabella. Columbus spent six weeks exploring other small islands; on june13 they reached the southernmost point of Cuba and turned back. The supply ships met back up with them at Isabella. After restoring order there, they decided to return to Spain to deal with charges being brought against them.

The King and Queen let Columbus make another voyage to prove that he had found the Indies. He left with 150 men in March 1502. He tried to follow the route of his second voyage. He spotted land and called it Martinique. Then he postponed looking for china after he found gold in 1503 he founded a settlement in San Martina, which he had to abandon because of Indian raids. The raids cost him one ship and the life of 10 members of his crew. After losing another ship during bad weather he landed in Jamaica because the remaining two ships were to damage to be sailed. By the time they were rescued there were only 100 survivors. Columbus tired and suffering from illness returned to Spain in November 1504. He spent the rest of his life pursuing legal claims against the Spanish Crown for promises not given to him. He than later died in Valladolid on May 20th 1506.


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