Wednesday, 11 June 2014



Christopher Columbus


Christopher Columbus (1451- 1506) was a Genoese navigator and explorer. In the late fifteenth century, Columbus believed that it would be possible to reach the lucrative markets of eastern Asia by heading west, instead of the traditional route which went east around Africa. He convinced Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain to support him, and he set off in August of 1492. The rest is history: Columbus discovered the Americas, which had been unknown until then. All in all, Columbus made four different journeys to the New World.

Christopher Columbus, commonly rendered in Spanish as Cristóbal Colón (1451 - May 20, 1506) was a Genoese-born navigator, explorer, and colonizer whose epochal voyage west across the Atlantic Ocean, in 1492, in search of a direct sea route to the Indies, established permanent European contact with the unknown lands and peoples of North and South America. Columbus' voyage, combining audacious confidence, supreme seamanship, and an explicit faith that he was called by God for the task of bringing the Christian religion to remote peoples of the world—his name meant "Christ-bearer"—inaugurated the most profound advances in humankind's awareness of the planet, and formative interchanges among disparate cultures that would lead to the emergence of the modern world.

Columbus was born to a middle-class family of weavers in Genoa (now part of Italy) which was a city well-known for explorers. He rarely spoke of his parents: it is believed that he was ashamed to have come from such a mundane background. He left a sister and a brother behind in Italy: his other brothers Bartholomew and Diego would accompany him on most of his travels. As a young man he travelled extensively, visiting Africa and the Mediterranean and learning how to sail and navigate.
Columbus was not the first European to reach the continent. Many historians today acknowledge that Vikings had travelled to North America from Greenland in the 11th century and set up a short-lived colony at L'Anse aux Meadows. There is speculation that an obscure Icelandic mariner travelled to the Americas before Columbus and provided him with sources for his claims. There are also many theories of expeditions to the Americas by a variety of peoples throughout time; see Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact, one of the most consistent is the first exploration (before 1472) of two, led by João Vaz Corte-Real to Terra Verde (today's Newfoundland). Giovanni Caboto (better known as John Cabot) was first to reach the American mainland (which Columbus did not reach until his third voyage). However, there is one thing that sets off Columbus' first voyage from all of these: less than two decades later, the existence of America was known to the general public throughout Europe. This is likely due to the invention of the printing press.

Columbus landed in the Bahamas and later explored much of the Caribbean, including the isles of Juana (Cuba) and Espanola (Hispaniola), as well as the coasts of Centraland South America. He never reached the present-day United States where "Columbus Day" (12 October, the anniversary of Columbus' landing in the Bahamas) is celebrated as a holiday.
On Aug. 3, 1492, Columbus sailed from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, commanded by Columbus himself, the Pinta under Martin Pinzon, and the Niña under Vicente Yáñez Pinzon. After halting at the Canary Islands, he sailed due west from Sept. 6 until Oct. 7, when he changed his course to the southwest. On Oct. 10 a small mutiny was quelled, and on Oct.

12 he landed on a small island (Watling Island; see San Salvador) in the Bahamas. He took possession for Spain and, with impressed natives aboard, discovered other islands in the neighborhood. On Oct. 27 he sighted Cuba and on Dec. 5 reached Hispaniola.
On Christmas Eve the Santa María was wrecked on the north coast of Hispaniola, and Columbus, leaving men there to found a colony, hurried back to Spain on the Niña. His reception was all he could wish; according to his contract with the Spanish sovereigns he was made "admiral of the ocean sea" and governor-general of all new lands he had discovered or should discover.
On Aug. 3, 1492, Columbus sailed from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, commanded by Columbus himself, the Pinta under Martin Pinzon, and the Niña under Vicente Yáñez Pinzon. After halting at the Canary Islands, he sailed due west from Sept. 6 until Oct. 7, when he changed his course to the southwest. On Oct. 10 a small mutiny was quelled, and on Oct.

12 he landed on a small island (Watling Island; see San Salvador) in the Bahamas. He took possession for Spain and, with impressed natives aboard, discovered other islands in the neighborhood. On Oct. 27 he sighted Cuba and on Dec. 5 reached Hispaniola.
On Christmas Eve the Santa María was wrecked on the north coast of Hispaniola, and Columbus, leaving men there to found a colony, hurried back to Spain on the Niña. His reception was all he could wish; according to his contract with the Spanish sovereigns he was made "admiral of the ocean sea" and governor-general of all new lands he had discovered or should discover.








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