11 Interesting Christopher Columbus Facts You May Not Know | Kidadl

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11 Interesting Christopher Columbus Facts You May Not Know

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Born between August 25 and October 31, 1451, Christopher Columbus was an Italian navigator and explorer who was famous for completing four journeys across the Atlantic Ocean.

His voyages across the Atlantic Ocean opened the way for larger European exploration and American colonization. All of the expeditions of Christopher Columbus were sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain and he was the first to make contact with the countries of Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.

Christopher Columbus, as a name, is the Anglicisation of the Latin name Christophorus Columbus. Many scholars in the world believe that the Republic of Genoa was the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Columbus was known to speak the language of Ligurian which was his first language. Christopher Columbus traveled widely and went on voyages at a young age. At a young age, he traveled as far south as present-day Ghana and as far north as the British Isles. Columbus married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, a Portuguese noblewoman. They both were based for many years in Lisbon. He had one son each with two women, one being his wife and the other a Castilian mistress. Christopher Columbus did not attend any school and was self-educated. He was well educated in astronomy, geography, and history. To benefit from the lucrative spice trade, Christopher planned to seek a passage due west to East Indies. Catholic Monarchs Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II later agreed to Christopher's plea and sponsored his trip west. He left Castile in 1492 in the month of August and reached the Americas on October 12. Three ships were used in this expedition (the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Niña). When they made landfall in the Americas, they ended the period of human habitation in the region now known as the pre-Columbian era. Columbus made landfall on an island in the Bahamas. This island was locally known as Guanahani. He then visited the present islands of Hispaniola and Cuba and established a colony there, which is now known as Haiti. In 1493, he returned to Castile and brought with him some captive natives. The voyage Christopher Columbus took became quite popular all over Europe after that.

Christopher Columbus made three more voyages to the Americas after that where he explored the Lesser Antilles in 1493, the northern coast of South America and Trinidad in 1498, and the eastern coast of Central America in 1502. His voyages were so popular that many of his original names of the islands are still in use. The indigenous people he met were given the name Indios by him, which later became Indians. Reported documentation states that Columbus realized that on his westward voyage he has found the far east. He never said that the Americas was a different landmass. Columbus was even appointed as a colonial governor, but after reports of brutality from him, he was removed from the post. Additionally, the colonial administrators in America and the Crown of Castille were not happy with him and this led to his arrest and he was removed from Hispaniola in 1500. There was protracted litigation over the benefits that Columbus and his heirs said were owed by the crown to them. The modern Western World all started because Columbus showed the way for voyages and explorations. Many explorers then found different places all over Europe that forged the new Earth. 'Columbian Exchange' is the term used for transfers between the Old World and the New World after his first voyage.

In the centuries after Columbus died, he was widely praised for his expeditions but this has recently changed. Scholars have now found how Columbus committed harm during his rule. There were cases of mistreatment and European diseases and enslavement of Hispaniola's indigenous Taínos.

There are places like British Columbia, the District of Columbia, and Colombia that take the name of Christopher Columbus and this tells us how popular he actually was and still is.

Columbus is widely recognized for his discovery of America. He actually landed on the New World when he was trying to find a westward sea path to the Orient in 1492. It was unintentional, but it changed the course of the modern world and Columbus became the main architect of the New World.

If you enjoyed this article, why not also read about Albert Einstein facts and facts about Cuba, here on Kidadl.

Christopher Columbus Biography 

Christopher Columbus was born between the months of August and October in 1451 in Genoa. He was unintentionally the creator of the New World that paved the way for the findings of other European countries.

Although the father of Columbus was a small-time merchant and a weaver, Columbus' dreams were big and he went to sea at a young age. He had three brothers in the family - Bartolomeo, Giacomo (called Diego), and Giovanni Pellegrino. On his first voyage, he traveled extensively and eventually made Portugal his base. From his base, Christopher tried to get royal help for his westward voyage to the Orient. He stayed around the Spanish court for years to get some attention but failed to do so. The Spanish crown, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand did give him the support to go on his voyage. This was done when he was in Spain. On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail with his ships, namely the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Niña, which started across the Atlantic. After 10 weeks of travel, land was first seen. The land where Columbus and his men set foot on is now called the Bahamas. They set sail to reach the Indies but instead set foot in the Bahamas. Thinking that they have actually found Indies, Columbus named the native people of the region Indians. Although the first contact of Columbus with the natives was friendly, the populations of indigenous people across New World were hurt when Europeans came knocking. Columbus landed in other places in the Caribbean including Hispaniola and Cuba, and then returned to Spain happy with his endeavors. Within a few months, Columbus was made the viceroy of the Indies and the admiral of the seven seas and then went on a larger second voyage. He wanted to find the Asian lands but still could not find them, although more territory was covered in the second voyage.

Columbus was known to have made a route to sail west across the Atlantic to reach Asia and deemed it a quicker way to reach the destination. Columbus believed the Earth to be a sphere, however, many nautical experts disagreed with this. Columbus may never have reached Asia, but his ideas of sailing west to find a route to Asia and his will to go on voyages to find the unearthed lands still is commendable.

Columbus sailed for his third and fourth voyages to the newfound territories but was defeated and humiliated along the way. Columbus was not good as an administrator, although he was a great navigator. Columbus was even accused of mismanagement. Even after his death, there was still a legal war between his heirs and the Spanish monarchy regarding the amount of money received.

Christopher Columbus died on May 20, 1506. He was very wealthy at that point in time but disappointed that his voyages could not get him more success. However, he created a bridge between the Old and New World, famously known as the Columbian Exchange.

Christopher Columbus Voyages

There were four known voyages of Christopher Columbus.

The first voyage was successful. It was not intentional to discover America, but miraculously, it did happen. Three ships were taken with the names of Santa Maria, Pinta, and  Niña on the evening of August 3, 1492, from the port of Palos in southern Spain. The ship La Nina was probably a nickname for a ship named Santa Clara as it was customary for Spanish people to name their ships after saints and then call them by nicknames. He first sailed to the Canary Islands and then went on a five-week voyage across the ocean. Columbus on October 11 changed the course of the ships to due west and believed that the land will soon be found. Although many claim that Columbus was not the first person on the voyage to spot the land, Columbus wrote that he saw the land first. Columbus called this newfound land San Salvador while the natives called it Guanahani. This land is the current day Bahamas. He called the people of the land Los Indios, thinking that he had actually found Indies which he sought after. He even took some local prisoners. Columbus's ships also explored the northeast coast of Cuba on October 28 and the northern coast of Hispaniola where he reached on December 5. He even found present-day Haiti. Columbus returned to Spain and he wrote a letter of his voyage that informed people throughout Europe of his voyage.

His second voyage was on September 24, 1493, when he took 17 ships from Spain with supplies to form colonies in the Americas. This time, it was bigger as Columbus sailed with 1200 men including farmers, priests, and soldiers. This voyage was more southerly than the first one. On November 3rd, the crew found themselves in the Windward Islands. They landed at Marie-Galante which is now a part of Guadeloupe. All these islands were named by Columbus himself along with Montserrat, Antigua, the Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, and many others. Columbus explored Hispaniola, La Navidad, Cuba, and Jamaica. Colombus and his settlers enslaved the indigenous people, including kids.

The third voyage was not as successful. Columbus left with six ships from Spain. Three of these ships took off for Hispaniola to provide supplies, while the other three were taken by Christopher to search for continental Asia. This started on May 30, 1498. On July 31, the party sighted Trinidad. On August 5, the team landed on the mainland of South America and then sailed to the islands of Margarita and Chacachacare. They also sighted Grenada and Tobago. Columbus returned to Hispaniola after that.

Now the fourth voyage was as unsuccessful as the third one as his aim of sailing to Asia remained unfulfilled. A royal commissioner went to Hispania and arrested Columbus in the month of August in 1500. He brought Columbus back to Spain in chains. Even after all the brutality, King Ferdinand stripped him of his governorship but gave Columbus his freedom. He even subsidized a fourth voyage which didn't bring any good result. On his last trip across the Atlantic, Columbus reached Panama and was just a few miles short of the Pacific Ocean. Few of his ships got damaged in the storm and had to be left there.

As he traveled to the coasts of northern South America and eastern Central America during the last two voyages, Columbus primarily traveled to the Caribbean which includes the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, and Santo Domingo.

How did Christopher Columbus die?

There were many diseases that plagued Columbus that started when he was 41.

On his first return voyage, Columbus suffered an attack. The source of the attack was not known but was thought to be gout. There were influenza and fevers, eye bleeds, and many more attacks of gout. Temporary blindness was also found. The attacks of gout increased in severity and duration and later added to his death after 14 years. He died in Valladolid in Spain on May 20, 1506, at the age of 54.

With the will of Columbus's son Diego, Columbus' remains were transferred to Santo Domingo, in Hispaniola. This place is now known as the Dominican Republic.

In a protest not so long ago in Baltimore, only the remains of the pedestal base of the Columbus statue were left. The rest of the statue was thrown into the harbor during a protest.

Columbus was a passionate man, but his practice of colonizing and enslaving people should be criticized.

What did Christopher Columbus discover?

On his voyages, he is known to have discovered the New World of the Americas.

He and his crew discovered the Americas and even discovered a quick sailing route to the region from Europe. He also led the first European expeditions to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Spain was able to colonize regions because of Columbus.

Columbus Day is now celebrated in the United States as a holiday to mark Columbus's arrival in the New World on October 12.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Christopher Columbus facts then why not take a look at Barak Obama facts, or facts about Rosa Parks.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

Ritwik has a bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. His degree developed his passion for writing, which he has continued to explore in his previous role as a content writer for PenVelope and his current role as a content writer at Kidadl. In addition to this, he has also completed CPL training and is a licensed commercial pilot!

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