Christopher Columbus

 

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1451 – May 20, 1506

Explorer, Mariner

Italian

“When there are such lands there should be profitable things without number.”

“Riches don’t make a man rich, they only make him busier.”

Columbus believed the earth was round, as did most of the people at that time. There was more uncertainty with distances (like the circumference of the earth) than the thought that the earth was flat.

While there are many legends regarding the life of Christopher Columbus, one fact remains clear: he simply would not give up on his dreams. Columbus’ story is one of perseverance. Little is known about his early life. He received little formal education, but he had a great natural intelligence. Working as a sailor in Portugal, Columbus was not the only mariner of his time who believed one could reach land by sailing west. He wanted to find a shorter trading route but was first turned down in his quest by John II of Portugal. He was then rebuffed several times over a period of eight years by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain before they finally relented and agreed to fund his expedition. Columbus set sail on his famous voyage on August 3, 1492, with three vessels: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, the latter commandeered by Columbus himself. The exploration group landed in the Bahamas on October 12, sighted Cuba and eventually reached Hispaniola on that maiden voyage. Upon his return to Spain, Columbus was granted the title “Admiral of the Ocean Sea.” Columbus made four voyages to the New World and paved the way for Western colonization and the spread of Christianity. His story is not all rosy, however, for he encountered many problems, including questions of his command. His final voyage was in 1502 and ended when he marooned his ship in Jamaica. He returned to Spain, where he stopped in relative neglect in 1506. Regardless of their views of his efforts, historians agree that Columbus’ voyages were a turning point in history.