Prof. Louis Gerard Izzi
March 26, 2007
Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator, was born in 1451 in Genoa. Because of the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslins in 1453, the land route to Asia was no longer an easy route. Portuguese sailors travel south around Africa to get to Asia; however, Columbus became convinced that Asia could be reached by sailing west from Europe.(Answers.com) Unfortunately, Columbus had difficulty obtaining support for his plan because Europeans believed that the earth was flat. So, Columbus went to Spain where he found support. Columbus was financed by Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille who signed the Santa Fé document in which they promised to grant him noble status and the titles of admiral, viceroy, and governor-general for any lands he might discover. (Dyson, 216) Columbus had two missions: open trade routes for exploitation and Christianization. His transatlantic voyages opened the way for European exploration, exploitation, and colonization of the Americas.
On August 3, 1492, Columbus sailed from Palos, Spain, with three ships, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María. Columbus first sailed to the Canary Islands. After a five-week voyage, on October 12 at 2 a.m., Columbus and his crew landed on San Salvador (now the Bahamas). (Wikipedia) There, Columbus encountered with peaceful and friendly indigenous people, the Lucayan, Taíno or Arawak. On October 27, Columbus explored the northeast coast of Cuba, and on December 5, he reached the northern coast of Hispaniola. (Answers.com) Columbus came back to Spain where he was named “Admiral of the Ocean Seas” (Who2?)
On his second voyage, on September 24, 1493, Columbus sailed from Cádiz with 17 ships and 1,500 colonists aboard. His landfall was made in the Lesser Antilles, and Columbus continued to the Greater Antilles. (Answers.com) On November 22, Columbus returned to Hispaniola where gold had first been found; however, he was astonished to see that the first colony was destroyed by indigenous natives. Columbus tried to enforce strict discipline, and he returned to Spain to complain of his administration.
In 1498, on his third expedition, Columbus was forced to transport convicts as colonists because of the bad reports on conditions in Hispaniola. Columbus still explored the Gulf of Paria which separates Trinidad from Venezuela, and the mainland of South America, including the Orinoco River. In 1500, Isabella and Ferdinand sent an independent governor who reported them the wretched conditions in the colony, and he sent Columbus back to Spain in chains. (Answers.com)
On May 11, 1502, Columbus made a fourth voyage hoping to reestablish his reputation by searching the Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean. The hostility to Columbus' rule in Hispaniola led Ferdinand and Isabella to forbid his return there. Instead he explored the coasts of Martinique, Jamaica, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Finally, on November, 1506, Columbus arrived home in Spain. (Answers.com)
Columbus made every effort to have all his grants and titles restored. Even without them, he was a wealthy man, but he felt betrayed by his royal patrons. On May 20, 1506, Columbus died rich but dissatisfied in Valladolid, Spain. (Dyson, 217) In 1542, Columbus' bones were taken to the Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Hispaniola. (©321 books)
Answers.com. “Christopher Columbus” Copyright © 2007 Answers Corporation. http://www.answers.com/christopher%20Columbus
Biographies. “Short Biography on Christopher Columbus” ©321 books http://www.321books.co.uk/biography/columbus.htm
Dyson, John 1943-. Columbus for Gold, God, and Glory. Madison Press Book © 1991 40 Madison Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 228 pages
Who2? “Christopher Columbus” © 2007 Who2, LLC
Wikipedia. “Christopher Columbus” Wikipedia® last modified 23:48, 24 March 2007 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus