Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)

Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 Calvi (Corsica), northwest of the island, 200km from Ajaccio. He was the oldest of five children. As a child, he helped his father as a weaver. He always liked the sea. Genoa was an important seaport. There is no doubt that as a child he caught rides on ships. He had little schooling but was a genius with the sea. His plan was not to prove that the world was flat, but it was to find a shortcut to the Spice Islands. He wanted to establish a city there for trade, seaports, and much more. When he grew into a man he was interested in sailing to Asia by going west. First he went to the king of Italy and presented his idea before him. Italy wasn\'t looking for a way to Asia; they were still receiving riches from their old trade routes. His three ships were the Santa Maria, the Nina, and the Pinta.

Important Facts About Christopher Columbus

* In 1492, he left Spain for his first voyage. He landed in San Salvador at Cap- Haitien and returned home to Palos, Spain, in 1493.

*In 1493, he left Spain for his second voyage. He landed on Marie-Galante, then went again in Cap-Haitien, St. Ann\'s Bay, and returned to Cadiz, Spain, in 1496.

*In 1498, he left Spain for his third voyage. He landed in Santo Domingo, and returned home again to Cadiz, Spain in 1500.

*In 1502, he left Spain for his fourth and final voyage. He landed on the Bay Islands off of Central America, Portobelo, and then returned home to Sanlucar, Spain, for the final time.

*He later died in 1506.

Man and Myth

After five centuries, Columbus remains a mysterious and controversial figure who has been variously described as one of the greatest mariners in history, a visionary genius, a mystic, a national hero, a failed administrator, a naive entrepreneur, and a ruthless and greedy imperialist.

Columbus\'s enterprise to find a westward route to Asia grew out of the practical experience of a long and varied maritime career, as well as out of his considerable reading in geographical and theological literature. He settled for a time in Portugal, where he tried unsuccessfully to enlist support for his project, before moving to Spain. After many difficulties, through a combination of good luck and persuasiveness, he gained the support of the Catholic monarchs, Isabel and Fernando.

The widely published report of his voyage of 1492 made Columbus famous throughout Europe and secured for him the title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and further royal patronage. Columbus, who never abandoned the belief that he had reached Asia, led three more expeditions to the Caribbean. But intrigue and his own administrative failings brought disappointment and political obscurity to his final years.