Short Biography of Christopher Columbus
Short biography of Christopher Columbus, in a sentence: born between August 26 & October 31 1451 in Genoa (Italy), discovered America, died May 20, 1506 in Valladolid, Spain.
Short biography of Christopher Columbus, in a paragraph: Christopher Columbus was the first modern European to discover America. His discovery of the "New World" in 1492 gained him the title “Admiral of the Ocean Sea.” However, Leif Eriksson had discovered North America five centuries earlier. But only after Columbus did significant exploration and colonization take place. He led four expeditions between 1492 and 1504 under the sponsorship on Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Spain. However, even with his great fame, he died a disappointed man.
Short biography of Christopher Columbus, in a page
Early Life of Christopher Columbus
Hardly anything is known about the early years of Christopher Columbus. His testament of 1498 suggests he was born in Genoa to a Christian household, but other sources suggest he might have been Jewish and born in Spain or Portugal The father of Christopher Columbus was Domenico Colombo, a Genoese wool worker and merchant. His mother was Susanna Fontanarossa.
Christopher Columbus, seaman
The career of Christopher Columbus began in the Portuguese merchant marine. He also based himself as a chart maker in Lisbon, with his brother Bartholomew. But Columbus was often at sea. Between 1477 and 1485 Columbus sailed as a merchant to many far flung places, including Iceland, Ireland, Madeira, Guinea and the Gold coast
Christopher Columbus, family man
In 1479 Felipa Perestrello e Moniz, an impoverished Portuguese noble woman, married Christopher Columbus. Family life agreed with him, and he had a son, Diego, in 1480. But Felipa died in 1485. Then, Columbus took a mistress, Beatriz Enríquez de Harana of Córdoba, who bore his second son, Ferdinand.
Christopher Columbus, explorer
The voyages of Christopher Columbus off the coasts of Portugal and West Africa greatly improved his skills as a navigator and gave him crucial knowledge of the Atlantic wind systems along the way. In 1486 Columbus moved to Spain, and gained the patronage of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain fell on January 2, 1492. Spanish Christians were encouraged by this to seek total conquest of the Islamic world by sailing westward over what was presumed to be open sea. Christopher Columbus was chosen to lead this expedition.
The first voyage of Christopher Columbus
Admiral Christopher Columbus' ships for the first voyage were the Nina , Pinta , and Santa María. They left port on August 3, 1492. The admiral's navigational knowledge led him to sailed southward past the Canary Islands, rather than immeadiately due west. This alloed him to avoid the westerlies and to pick up the northeast trade winds
By October the crew was losing patience. But on October 12 the crew of the Pinta sighted an island in the Caribbean. The first part of Caribbean on which they set foot is disputed. San Salvador, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Samana Cay, Rum Cay, the Plana Cays, and Watling Island all have their claims.
Columbus landed in Cuba on October 28, thinking it was Japan or China. The fleet was then blown to Haiti (as it was called by the Taino natives), but on December 6 Columbus renamed Hispaniola. He thought it was an Island in the Middle East, but he found enough gold and prosperity to save him from later embarrassment at his geographical mistakes.
With the help of a Taino cacique, or Indian chief, named Guacanagarí, he set up a stockade on the northern coast of the island, named it La Navidad, and posted39 men to guard it until his return.
The Santa María had run aground, and Columbus left 39 men stockaded on Hispaniola when he left for Spain on January 16, 1493. In February a storm engulfed the remaining two ships, but Columbus eventually limped to port in Lisbon.
Christopher Columbus, criminal
Columbus took material and human cargo back to Spain. He did this by looting and kidnapping on Hispaniola. But the Spanish court were quite happy to receive the gold, spices, exotic beasts and slaves. In fact, such riches inspired them to send Columbus on further expeditions to this New World.
The second and third voyages
Christopher Columbus led 17 ships out from Cádiz on September 25, 1493. Colonization and Christian evangelization were now part of the plan. Friars, civil servants, private investors and a troop of cavalry were all involved in the second expedition. The fleet landed at Hispaniola on November 23 after an unerring voyage backed by the superb navigational skills of Columbus.
The stockade built during the first voyage had been destroyed, and the men killed, by Taino resistance fighters. But now a city, La Isabela was founded. Ships started to take large quantities of goods and slaves back to Spain. Other ships sailed for Cuban and Jamaica to find more riches. Columbus, in the following year, conquered Hispaniola and spread devastation among the Taino. The Christian friars did nothing to stop this, although one said Columbus was a "little harsh".
Columbus sailed for Spain on March 10, reaching Cádiz on June 11. He persuaded Ferdinand and Isabella therefore to fund a third expedition, and six ships left Spain on May 30, 1498. On this trip, three ships were filled with explorers and other three were filled with provisions for the settlers on Hispaniola. Columbus was expected to use the explorers to pursue great prizes and new lands for Spain.
After stopping off at Trinidad, Columbus planted the Spanish flag on the Paria Peninsula in Venezuela. Then, finding the Orinoco river delta he realised he had discovered another continent. But he was disappointed not to discover a route to India, and on returning to Hispaniola found more trouble. Many settlers, and Taino chiefs, had rebelled against the rule of his brother. The Columbus family had enslaved Taino natives and shipped them to Spain, or forced them to dig for gold.
The Spanish chief justice, Francisco de Bobadilla, came to the colony with a royal commission. He clapped Columbus and his two brothers in irons and sent them back to Spain in October 1500. Columbus, in a fit of pique, refused to let the captain remove his irons during the journey. His sufferings were compounded by eye strain, sleeplessness and rheumatoid arthritis. But he composed a letter to his sovereigns suggesting that he was close to finding hordes of Gold.
The sovereigns ordered Columbus' release, and recognized his genius as a navigator and explorer. But they also recognised his limitations as a politician, and remove his influence over Hispaniola. In October 1501 made ready his fourth and final expedition.
The fourth and final expedition of Christopher Columbus
While preparing four ships for his final expedition, Columbus found time to compile his Book of Privileges and Book of Prophecies. The former defended the titles and financial claims of the Columbus family, the latter included several biblical passages suggested his mission was divinely guided. Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his fourth voyage on May 9, 1502.
His four ships contrasted sharply with the 30 granted to the new governor of Hispaniola, Nicolas de Ovando. The hostility to Columbus' rule in Hispaniola led Ferdinand and Isabella to forbid his to return there. Instead he aimed south and by October had explored the coasts of Martinique, Jamaica, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. But he overstretched himself and in June 1503 Columbus and his crews were castaways on the coast of Jamaica. He was also unlucky in missing the discovery of the Pacific, just across the isthmus of Panama. He also just making contact with the Maya of Yucatan.
A group of his men traversed the 450 miles of open sea to Hispaniola. But Ovando did not send rescuers until June 1504. Meanwhile, Columbus had scared the Jamaican natives into providing food for his starving men. He had pretended he was a magician by predicting an eclipse of the Moon. On November 7 he sailed for Spain and found Queen Isabella, his main supporter, on her death bed.
Columbus spent his final two years in illness, poverty, and oblivion. He died on May 20, 1506. In 1542 Columbus's bones were taken, on the orders of his son, from the family mausoleum to their resting place beneath the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Hispaniola.