Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

Overview
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements in the island of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, initiated the process of Spanish colonization
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

, which foreshadowed the general European colonization
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 of the "New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

".

In the context of emerging western imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 and economic competition
Competition (economics)
Competition in economics is a term that encompasses the notion of individuals and firms striving for a greater share of a market to sell or buy goods and services...

 between European kingdoms seeking wealth through the establishment of trade route
Trade route
A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. Allowing goods to reach distant markets, a single trade route contains long distance arteries which may further be connected to several smaller networks of commercial...

s and colonies, Columbus' far-fetched proposal to reach the East Indies
East Indies
East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as Indian subcontinent or South Asia, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines...

 by sailing westward received the support of the Spanish crown, which saw in it a promise, however remote, of gaining the upper hand over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade
Spice trade
Civilizations of Asia were involved in spice trade from the ancient times, and the Greco-Roman world soon followed by trading along the Incense route and the Roman-India routes...

 with Asia.
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Timeline

1451   Christopher Columbis is born in Genoa

1479   Columbus marries Felipa Perestrella e Moniz

1492   Spain and Christopher Columbus sign the Capitulations of Santa Fe for his voyage to Asia to acquire spices.

1492   Spain gives Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.

1492   Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain.

1492   Christopher Columbus sails from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, his final port of call before crossing the Atlantic for the first time.

1492   Christopher Columbus's expedition makes landfall in the Caribbean, specifically in The Bahamas. The explorer believes he has reached South Asia

1492   Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola, now Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

1493   Christopher Columbus leaves the New World, ending his first journey.

1493   Explorer Christopher Columbus arrives back in Lisbon, Portugal, aboard his ship Niña from his voyage to what is now The Bahamas and other islands in the Caribbean.

 
Quotations

"Thanks be to God," says the Admiral; "the air is soft as in April in Seville, and it is a pleasure to be in it, so fragrant it is."

8 October 1492

Saw pardelas and a green rush near the vessel. The crew of the Pinta saw a cane and a log; they also picked up a stick which appeared to have been carved with an iron tool, a piece of cane, a plant which grows on land, and a board. The crew of the Nina saw other signs of land, and a stalk loaded with rose berries. These signs encouraged them, and they all grew cheerful.

11 October 1492

The Admiral says that he never beheld so fair a thing: trees all along the river, beautiful and green, and different from ours, with flowers and fruits each according to their kind, many birds and little birds which sing very sweetly.

28 October 1492

The two Christians met on the way many people who were going to their towns, women and men, with a firebrand in the hand, herbs to drink the smoke thereof, as they are accustomed.

On smoking, 6 November 1492

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

27 November 1492
Encyclopedia
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 in the Western Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements in the island of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, initiated the process of Spanish colonization
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

, which foreshadowed the general European colonization
European colonization of the Americas
The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492. The first Europeans to reach the Americas were the Vikings during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement in present day Newfoundland...

 of the "New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

".

In the context of emerging western imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 and economic competition
Competition (economics)
Competition in economics is a term that encompasses the notion of individuals and firms striving for a greater share of a market to sell or buy goods and services...

 between European kingdoms seeking wealth through the establishment of trade route
Trade route
A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. Allowing goods to reach distant markets, a single trade route contains long distance arteries which may further be connected to several smaller networks of commercial...

s and colonies, Columbus' far-fetched proposal to reach the East Indies
East Indies
East Indies is a term used by Europeans from the 16th century onwards to identify what is now known as Indian subcontinent or South Asia, Southeastern Asia, and the islands of Oceania, including the Malay Archipelago and the Philippines...

 by sailing westward received the support of the Spanish crown, which saw in it a promise, however remote, of gaining the upper hand over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade
Spice trade
Civilizations of Asia were involved in spice trade from the ancient times, and the Greco-Roman world soon followed by trading along the Incense route and the Roman-India routes...

 with Asia. During his first voyage in 1492, instead of reaching Japan as he had intended, Columbus landed in the Bahamas archipelago
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

, at a locale he named San Salvador. Over the course of three more voyages, Columbus visited the Greater
Greater Antilles
The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

 and Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

, as well as the Caribbean
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 coast of Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 and Central America, claiming them for the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

.

Though Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas (having been preceded by the Norse
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

 expedition led by Leif Ericson
Leif Ericson
Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer who is regarded as the first European to land in North America , nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus...

), Columbus' voyages led to the first lasting European contact with America, inaugurating a period of European exploration and colonization of foreign lands that lasted for several centuries. They had, therefore, an enormous impact in the historical development of the modern Western world. Columbus himself saw his accomplishments primarily in the light of the spreading of the Christian religion
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

.

Never admitting that he had reached a continent previously unknown to Europeans, rather than the East Indies he had set out for, Columbus called the inhabitants of the lands he visited indios (Spanish for "India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

ns"). Columbus' strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and dismissal as governor of the settlements in Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 in 1500, and later to protracted litigation over the benefits which Columbus and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown.

Early life


The name Christopher Columbus is the Anglicisation of the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 Christophorus Columbus. His name in Italian is Cristoforo Colombo and in Spanish it is Cristóbal Colón. Columbus was born between 25 August and 31 October 1451 in Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, part of modern Italy. His father was Domenico Colombo
Domenico Colombo
Domenico Colombo was the father of the Christopher Columbus and Bartholomew Columbus. He was also a weaver....

, a middle-class wool weaver who worked both in Genoa and Savona
Savona
Savona is a seaport and comune in the northern Italian region of Liguria, capital of the Province of Savona, in the Riviera di Ponente on the Mediterranean Sea....

 and who also owned a cheese stand at which young Christopher worked as a helper. Christopher's mother was Susanna Fontanarossa
Susanna Fontanarossa
Susanna Fontanarossa was the mother of Cristoforo Colombo, a Genoese wool weaver commonly believed to have been Christopher Columbus's mother she worked as a stay at home mother to her sons and always dreamed of a daughter.Almost nothing is known about her...

. Bartolomeo, Giovanni Pellegrino and Giacomo were his brothers. Bartolomeo worked in a cartography
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

 workshop in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 for at least part of his adulthood.

Columbus never wrote in his native language, which is presumed to have been a Genoese variety of Ligurian
Genoese dialect
Genoese is a dialect of the Ligurian language, the one spoken in Genoa .Ligurian is listed by Ethnologue as a language in its own right, of the Romance branch, and not to be confused with the ancient Ligurian language...

 (his very name would translate in XVI century Genoese language as Christoffa Corombo pron. kriˈʃtɔffa kuˈɹuŋbu). In one of his writings, Columbus claims to have gone to the sea at the age of 10. In 1470 the Columbus family moved to Savona, where Domenico took over a tavern. In the same year, Columbus was on a Genoese ship hired in the service of René I of Anjou to support his attempt to conquer the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

. Some modern historians have argued that Columbus was not from Genoa, but instead, from Catalonia, Portugal, or Spain. These competing hypotheses have generally been discounted by mainstream scholars.


In 1473 Columbus began his apprenticeship as business agent for the important Centurione, Di Negro and Spinola families
Spinola Family
The Spinola were a leading political family in Genoa in the 13th and 14th centuries.Guido Spinola was one of the first important members of the family. He served as Consul of Genoa in 1102. The Spinola were generally Ghibellines and in league with the Doria Family.The next Spinola to come to...

 of Genoa. Later he allegedly made a trip to Chios
Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

, a Genoese colony in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. In May 1476, he took part in an armed convoy sent by Genoa to carry a valuable cargo to northern Europe. He docked in Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, England; Galway
Galway
Galway or City of Galway is a city in County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is the sixth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. It is also the third largest city within the Republic and the only city in the Province of Connacht. Located on the west coast of Ireland, it sits on the...

, Ireland and was possibly in Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 in 1477. In 1479 Columbus reached his brother Bartolomeo in Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, while continuing trading for the Centurione family. He married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo
Filipa Moniz Perestrelo
Filipa Moniz Perestrelo was a Portuguese noblewoman who became the wife of Christopher Columbus in 1479. She was the daughter of Isabel Moniz and Bartolomeu Perestrelo. Prior to marrying Christopher Columbus, Filipa was a Comendadora of the Monastery of All Saints in Lisbon of the Military Order...

, daughter of the Porto Santo governor and Portuguese nobleman of Genoese origin Bartolomeu Perestrello. In 1479 or 1480, his son Diego Columbus was born. Between 1482 and 1485 Columbus traded along the coasts of West Africa, reaching the Portuguese trading post of Elmina
Elmina
Elmina, is a town in the Central Region, situated on a south-facing bay on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Ghana, about 12 km west of Cape Coast...

 at the Guinea coast. Some records report that Filipa died in 1485. It is also speculated that Columbus may have simply left his first wife. In either case Columbus found a mistress in Spain in 1487, a 20-year-old orphan named Beatriz Enríquez de Arana
Beatriz Enríquez de Arana
Beatriz Enríquez de Arana or Doña Beatriz Enriquez de Arana was the mistress of Christopher Columbus.-Biography:The history of the relationship of Beatriz and Columbus starts with the reason why Christopher Columbus was in Córdoba in 1487 at the Spanish monarchs' Alcazar. In 1479 Columbus had...

.

Ambitious, Columbus eventually learned Latin, as well as Portuguese and Castilian, and read widely about astronomy, geography, and history, including the works of Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly
Pierre d'Ailly
Pierre d'Ailly was a French theologian, astrologer, and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church....

's Imago Mundi, the travels of Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 and Sir John Mandeville
John Mandeville
"Jehan de Mandeville", translated as "Sir John Mandeville", is the name claimed by the compiler of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, a book account of his supposed travels, written in Anglo-Norman French, and first circulated between 1357 and 1371.By aid of translations into many other languages...

, Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

's Natural History, and Pope Pius II
Pope Pius II
Pope Pius II, born Enea Silvio Piccolomini was Pope from August 19, 1458 until his death in 1464. Pius II was born at Corsignano in the Sienese territory of a noble but decayed family...

's Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum. According to historian Edmund Morgan
Edmund Morgan
Edmund Sears Morgan , an eminent authority on early American history, is Emeritus Professor of History at Yale University, where he taught from 1955 to 1986.-Life:...

,
Throughout his life, Columbus also showed a keen interest in the Bible and in biblical prophecies
Bible prophecy
Bible prophecy or biblical prophecy is the prediction of future events based on the action, function, or faculty of a prophet. Such passages are widely distributed throughout the Bible, but those most often cited are from Ezekiel, Daniel, Matthew 24, Matthew 25, and Revelation.Believers in biblical...

, and would often quote biblical texts in his letters and logs. For example, part of the argument that he submitted to the Spanish Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 when he sought their support for his proposed expedition to reach the Indies by sailing west was based on his reading of the Second Book of Esdras
2 Esdras
2 Esdras or Latin Esdras is the name of an apocalyptic book in many English versions of the Bible . Its authorship is ascribed to Ezra. It is reckoned among the Apocrypha by many Protestant churches. Although Second Esdras exists in its complete form only in Latin, it was originally written in...

 (see 2 Esdras 6:42, which Columbus took to mean that the Earth is made of six parts of land to one of water). Towards the end of life, Columbus produced a Book of Prophecies
Book of Prophecies
The Book of Prophecies is a compilation of apocalyptical religious revelations written by Christopher Columbus towards the end of his life, probably with the assistance of his friend the Carthusian monk Gaspar Gorricio...

 in which his career as an explorer is interpreted in the light of Christian eschatology
Christian eschatology
Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology. Eschatology, from two Greek words meaning last and study , is the study of the end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world...

 and of apocalypticism
Apocalypticism
Apocalypticism is the religious belief that there will be an apocalypse, a term which originally referred to a revelation of God's will, but now usually refers to belief that the world will come to an end time very soon, even within one's own lifetime...

.

Quest for Asia



Background


Under the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

's hegemony over Asia (the so-called Pax Mongolica
Pax Mongolica
The Pax Mongolica is a Latin phrase meaning "Mongol Peace" coined by Western scholars to describe the stabilizing effects of the conquests of the Mongol Empire on the social, cultural, and economic life of the inhabitants of the vast Eurasian territory that the Mongols conquered in the 13th and...

, or Mongol peace), Europeans had long enjoyed a safe land passage, the so-called "Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

", to China and India, which were sources of valuable goods such as silk, spices, and opiates
Opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

. With the fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 to the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1453, the land route to Asia became much more difficult and dangerous. Portuguese navigators, under the leadership of King John II
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

, sought to reach Asia by sailing around Africa. Major progress in this quest was achieved in 1488, when Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

 reached the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

, in what is now South Africa. Meanwhile, in the 1480s the Columbus brothers had developed a different plan to reach the Indies (then construed roughly as all of south and east Asia) by sailing west across the "Ocean Sea", i.e., the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

.

Geographical considerations


Washington Irving
Washington Irving
Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He was best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works...

's 1828 biography of Columbus popularized the idea that Columbus had difficulty obtaining support for his plan because many Catholic theologians insisted
Myth of the Flat Earth
The myth of the Flat Earth is the modern misconception that the prevailing cosmological view during the Middle Ages saw the Earth as flat, instead of spherical....

 that the Earth was flat
Flat Earth
The Flat Earth model is a belief that the Earth's shape is a plane or disk. Most ancient cultures have had conceptions of a flat Earth, including Greece until the classical period, the Bronze Age and Iron Age civilizations of the Near East until the Hellenistic period, India until the Gupta period ...

. In fact, most educated Westerners had understood that the Earth was spherical
Spherical Earth
The concept of a spherical Earth dates back to ancient Greek philosophy from around the 6th century BC, but remained a matter of philosophical speculation until the 3rd century BC when Hellenistic astronomy established the spherical shape of the earth as a physical given...

 at least since the time of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, who lived in the 4th century BC and whose works were widely studied and revered in Medieval Europe
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. The sphericity of the Earth is also accounted for in the work of Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, on which ancient astronomy
Geocentric model
In astronomy, the geocentric model , is the superseded theory that the Earth is the center of the universe, and that all other objects orbit around it. This geocentric model served as the predominant cosmological system in many ancient civilizations such as ancient Greece...

 was largely based. Christian writers whose works clearly reflect the conviction that the Earth is spherical include Saint Bede
Bede
Bede , also referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede , was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, England, and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow , both in the Kingdom of Northumbria...

 the Venerable in his Reckoning of Time, written around AD 723. In Columbus' time, the techniques of celestial navigation
Celestial navigation
Celestial navigation, also known as astronavigation, is a position fixing technique that has evolved over several thousand years to help sailors cross oceans without having to rely on estimated calculations, or dead reckoning, to know their position...

, which use the position of the Sun and the Stars in the sky, together with the understanding that the Earth is a sphere, were widely used by mariners.

Where Columbus did differ from the view accepted by scholars in his day was in his estimate of the westward distance from Europe to Asia. Columbus' ideas in this regard were based on three factors: his low estimate of the size of the Earth, his high estimate of the size of the Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

n landmass, and his belief that Japan and other inhabited islands lay far to the east of the coast of China. In all three of these issues Columbus was both wrong and at odds with the scholarly consensus of his day.

As far back as the 3rd century BC, Eratosthenes
Eratosthenes
Eratosthenes of Cyrene was a Greek mathematician, poet, athlete, geographer, astronomer, and music theorist.He was the first person to use the word "geography" and invented the discipline of geography as we understand it...

 had correctly computed the circumference of the Earth by using simple geometry and studying the shadows cast by objects at two different locations: Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 and Syene (modern-day Aswan
Aswan
Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

). Eratosthenes's results were confirmed by a comparison of stellar observations at Alexandria and Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

, carried out by Posidonius
Posidonius
Posidonius "of Apameia" or "of Rhodes" , was a Greek Stoic philosopher, politician, astronomer, geographer, historian and teacher native to Apamea, Syria. He was acclaimed as the greatest polymath of his age...

 in the 1st century BC. These measurements were widely known among scholars, but confusion about the old-fashioned units of distance in which they were expressed had led, in Columbus's day, to some debate about the exact size of the Earth.
From d'Ailly's Imago Mundi Columbus learned of Alfraganus's estimate that a degree of latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

 (or a degree of longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

 along the Equator) spanned 56⅔ miles, but did not realize that this was expressed in the Arabic mile (about 1,830 m) rather than the shorter Roman mile with which he was familiar (1,480 m). He therefore estimated the circumference of the Earth to be about 30,200 km, whereas the correct value is 40,000 km (25,000 mi).

Furthermore, most scholars accepted Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

's estimate that Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 spanned 180° longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

, rather than the actual 130° (to the Chinese mainland) or 150° (to Japan at the latitude of Spain). Columbus, for his part, believed the even higher estimate of Marinus of Tyre
Marinus of Tyre
Marinus of Tyre, was a Greek geographer, cartographer and mathematician, who founded mathematical geography.-Biography and historical context:...

, which put the longitudinal span of the Eurasian landmass at 225°, leaving only 135° of water. He also believed that Japan (which he called "Cipangu", following Marco Polo) was much larger, further to the east from China ("Cathay"), and closer to the Equator than it is, and that there were inhabited islands even further to the east than Japan, including the mythical Antillia
Antillia
Antillia is a legendary island that was reputed, during the 15th century age of exploration, to lie in the Atlantic Ocean, far to the west of Portugal and Spain...

, which he thought might lie not much further to the west than the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

. In this he was influenced by the ideas of Florentine physician Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli
Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli
Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli was an Italian mathematician, astronomer, and cosmographer.-Life:Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli was born in Florence, the son of the physician Dominic Toscanelli. Educated in mathematics at the University of Padua, he left in 1424 with the title of a doctor of...

, who corresponded with Columbus before his death in 1482 and who also defended the feasibility of a westward route to Asia.

Columbus therefore estimated the distance from the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 to Japan to be about 3,000 Italian miles (3,700 km, or 2,300 statute miles), while the correct figure is 19,600 km (12,200 mi), or about 12,000 km along a great circle
Great circle
A great circle, also known as a Riemannian circle, of a sphere is the intersection of the sphere and a plane which passes through the center point of the sphere, as opposed to a general circle of a sphere where the plane is not required to pass through the center...

. No ship in the 15th century could carry enough food and fresh water for such a long voyage and the dangers involved in navigating through the uncharted ocean would have been formidable. Most European navigators reasonably concluded that a westward voyage from Europe to Asia was unfeasible. The Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

, however, having completed an expensive war
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 in the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, were desperate for a competitive edge over other European countries in the quest for trade with the Indies. Columbus promised such an advantage.

Nautical considerations


Though Columbus was wrong about the number of degrees of longitude that separated Europe from the Far East and about the distance that each degree represented, he did possess valuable knowledge about the trade winds, which would prove to be the key to his successful navigation of the Atlantic Ocean. During his first voyage in 1492, the brisk trade winds from the east, commonly called "easterlies
Easterlies
The easterlies commonly refer to the low latitude trade winds near the equator . These winds carry tropical waves and cyclones from east to west in lower latitudes...

", propelled Columbus' fleet for five weeks, from the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 to The Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

. To return to Spain against this prevailing wind would have required several months of an arduous sailing technique, called beating, during which food and drinkable water would probably have been exhausted.

Instead, Columbus returned home by following the curving trade winds northeastward to the middle latitudes of the North Atlantic, where he was able to catch the "westerlies
Westerlies
The Westerlies, anti-trades, or Prevailing Westerlies, are the prevailing winds in the middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees latitude, blowing from the high pressure area in the horse latitudes towards the poles. These prevailing winds blow from the west to the east, and steer extratropical...

" that blow eastward to the coast of Western Europe. There, in turn, the winds curve southward towards the Iberian Peninsula.

It is unclear whether Columbus learned about the winds from his own sailing experience or if he had heard about them from others. The corresponding technique for efficient travel in the Atlantic appears to have been discovered first by the Portuguese, who referred to it as the Volta do mar
Volta Do Mar
"Volta do mar", "volta do mar largo" or "volta do largo", is a navigational technique perfected by Portuguese navigators during the Age of Discovery in the late fifteenth century, using the dependable phenomenon of the great permanent wind wheel, the North Atlantic Gyre...

 ("turn of the sea"). Columbus' knowledge of the Atlantic wind patterns was, however, imperfect at the time of his first voyage. By sailing directly due west from the Canary Islands during hurricane season, skirting the so-called horse latitudes
Horse latitudes
Horse Latitudes or Subtropical High are subtropical latitudes between 30 and 35 degrees both north and south. This region, under a ridge of high pressure called the subtropical high, is an area which receives little precipitation and has variable winds mixed with calm.The consistently warm, dry...

 of the mid-Atlantic, Columbus risked either being becalmed or running into a tropical cyclone
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

, both of which he luckily avoided.

Quest for support


In 1485, Columbus presented his plans to John II
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

, King of Portugal. He proposed that the king equip three sturdy ships and grant Columbus one year's time to sail out into the Atlantic, search for a western route to the Orient
Orient
The Orient means "the East." It is a traditional designation for anything that belongs to the Eastern world or the Far East, in relation to Europe. In English it is a metonym that means various parts of Asia.- Derivation :...

, and return.


Columbus also requested he be made "Great Admiral of the Ocean", appointed governor of any and all lands he discovered, and given one-tenth of all revenue from those lands.

The king submitted Columbus' proposal to his experts, who rejected it. It was their considered opinion that Columbus' estimation of a travel distance of 2400 miles (3,862.4 km) was, in fact, far too low.

In 1488 Columbus appealed to the court of Portugal once again, and once again John II invited him to an audience. That meeting also proved unsuccessful, in part because not long afterwards Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

 returned to Portugal with news of his successful rounding of the southern tip of Africa (near the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

). With an eastern sea route to Asia apparently at hand, King John was no longer interested in Columbus's far-fetched project.

Columbus traveled from Portugal to both Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 and Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

, but he received encouragement from neither. Columbus had also dispatched his brother Bartholomew to the court of Henry VII of England
Henry VII of England
Henry VII was King of England and Lord of Ireland from his seizing the crown on 22 August 1485 until his death on 21 April 1509, as the first monarch of the House of Tudor....

, to inquire whether the English crown might sponsor his expedition, but also without success.

Columbus had sought an audience from the monarchs Ferdinand II
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 of Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

 and Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

, who had united many kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula by marrying, and were ruling together. On 1 May 1486, permission having been granted, Columbus presented his plans to Queen Isabella, who, in turn, referred it to a committee. After the passing of much time, the savants of Spain, like their counterparts in Portugal
Kingdom of Portugal
The Kingdom of Portugal was Portugal's general designation under the monarchy. The kingdom was located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, Europe and existed from 1139 to 1910...

, replied that Columbus had grossly underestimated the distance to Asia. They pronounced the idea impractical and advised their Royal Highnesses to pass on the proposed venture.

However, to keep Columbus from taking his ideas elsewhere, and perhaps to keep their options open, the Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 gave him an annual allowance of 12,000 maravedis and in 1489 furnished him with a letter ordering all cities and towns under their domain to provide him food and lodging at no cost.

Agreement with the Spanish crown


After continually lobbying at the Spanish court
Cortes Generales
The Cortes Generales is the legislature of Spain. It is a bicameral parliament, composed of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate . The Cortes has power to enact any law and to amend the constitution...

 and two years of negotiations, he finally had success in 1492. Ferdinand and Isabella had just conquered Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

, the last Muslim stronghold
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 on the Iberian Peninsula, and they received Columbus in Córdoba
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

, in the Alcázar
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos , also known as the Alcázar of Córdoba, is a medieval Alcázar located in Córdoba, Spain next to the Guadalquivir River and near the Grand Mosque. The Alcázar takes its name from the Arabic word القصر...

 castle. Isabella turned Columbus down on the advice of her confessor
Confessor
-Confessor of the Faith:Its oldest use is to indicate a saint who has suffered persecution and torture for the faith, but not to the point of death. The term is still used in this way in the East. In Latin Christianity it has come to signify any saint, as well as those who have been declared...

, and he was leaving town by mule in despair, when Ferdinand intervened. Isabella then sent a royal guard to fetch him and Ferdinand later claimed credit for being "the principal cause why those islands were discovered".

About half of the financing was to come from private Italian investors, whom Columbus had already lined up. Financially broke after the Granada campaign, the monarchs left it to the royal treasurer to shift funds among various royal accounts on behalf of the enterprise. Columbus was to be made "Admiral of the Seas" and would receive a portion of all profits. The terms were unusually generous, but as his son Diego later wrote, the monarchs did not really expect him to return.

In the "Capitulations of Santa Fe
Capitulations of Santa Fe
The Capitulations of Santa Fe between Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs were signed in Santa Fe, Granada on April 17, 1492. They granted Columbus the titles of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, the Viceroy, the Governor-General and honorific Don, and also the tenth part of all riches to be...

", King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella promised Columbus that if he succeeded he would be given the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and appointed Viceroy and Governor of all the new lands he could claim for Spain. He had the right to nominate three persons, from whom the sovereigns would choose one, for any office in the new lands. He would be entitled to 10% of all the revenues from the new lands in perpetuity. Additionally, he would also have the option of buying one-eighth interest in any commercial venture with the new lands and receive one-eighth of the profits.
Columbus was later arrested in 1500 and dismissed from his posts. He and his sons, Diego and Fernando, then conduced a lengthy series of court cases against the Castilian crown
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

, known as the pleitos colombinos
Pleitos colombinos
The Pleitos colombinos were a long series of lawsuits that the heirs of Christopher Columbus brought against the Crown of Castile and León in defense of the privileges obtained by Columbus for his discoveries in the New World...

, alleging that the Crown had illegally reneged on its contractual obligations to Columbus and his heirs. The Columbus family had some success in their first litigation, as a judgment of 1511 confirmed Diego's position as Viceroy, but reduced his powers. Diego resumed litigation in 1512, which lasted until 1536, and further disputes continued until 1790.

Voyages


Between 1492 and 1503, Columbus completed four round-trip voyages between Spain and the Americas, all of them under the sponsorship of the Crown of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

. These voyages marked the beginning of the European
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....

 exploration
Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans engaged in intensive exploration of the world, establishing direct contacts with...

 and colonization
History of colonialism
The historical phenomenon of colonisation is one that stretches around the globe and across time, including such disparate peoples as the Hittites, the Incas and the British. European colonialism, or imperialism, began in the 15th century with the "Age of Discovery", led by Portuguese and Spanish...

 of the American continents
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, and are thus of enormous significance in Western history. Columbus himself always insisted, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that the lands that he visited during those voyages were part of the Asian continent, as previously described by Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 and other European travelers. Columbus' refusal to accept that the lands he had visited and claimed for Spain were not part of Asia might explain, in part, why the American continent was named after the Florentine
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 explorer Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from the feminized Latin version of his first name.-Expeditions:...

 and not after Columbus.

First voyage



On the evening of 3 August 1492, Columbus departed from Palos de la Frontera
Palos de la Frontera
Palos de la Frontera is a town and municipality located in the southwestern Spanish province of Huelva, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is situated some from the provincial capital, Huelva...

 with three ships; one larger carrack
Carrack
A carrack or nau was a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in 15th century Western Europe for use in the Atlantic Ocean. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stem. It was first used by the Portuguese , and later by the Spanish, to explore and...

, Santa María
Santa María (ship)
La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción , was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage. Her master and owner was Juan de la Cosa.-History:...

, nicknamed Gallega (the Galician), and two smaller caravel
Caravel
A caravel is a small, highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave her speed and the capacity for sailing to windward...

s, Pinta (the Painted) and Santa Clara, nicknamed Niña
Niña
La Niña was one of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage towards the Indies in 1492. The real name of the Niña was Santa Clara. The name Niña was probably a pun on the name of her owner, Juan Niño of Moguer...

 after her owner Juan Niño of Moguer. They were property of Juan de la Cosa
Juan de la Cosa
Juan de la Cosa was a Spanish cartographer, conquistador and explorer. He made the earliest extant European world map to incorporate the territories of the Americas that were discovered in the 15th century, sailed first 3 voyages with Christopher Columbus, and was the owner/captain of the Santa...

 and the Pinzón brothers (Martín Alonso and Vicente Yáñez
Vicente Yáñez Pinzón
Vicente Yáñez Pinzón was a Spanish navigator, explorer, and conquistador, the youngest of the Pinzón brothers...

), but the monarchs forced the Palos
Palos de la Frontera
Palos de la Frontera is a town and municipality located in the southwestern Spanish province of Huelva, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is situated some from the provincial capital, Huelva...

 inhabitants to contribute to the expedition. Columbus first sailed to the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

, which were owned by Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

, where he restocked the provisions and made repairs. After stopping over in Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, with a population of 838,397 which constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago...

, he finally departed from San Sebastián de La Gomera
San Sebastián de La Gomera
San Sebastián de la Gomera is a town and also an administrative district on La Gomera in the Canary Islands. Its population is 2,176 , its density is 47.6/km² and the area is 114.78 km²....

 on 6 September, for what turned out to be a five-week voyage across the ocean.

A lookout on the Pinta, Rodrigo de Triana
Rodrigo de Triana
Rodrigo de Triana was a sailor and the first European since the Vikings known to have seen America. Born as Juan Rodrigo Bermejo, Triana was the son of Morisco hidalgo and potter Vicente Bermejo and Sereni Betancour....

 (also known as Juan Rodriguez Bermeo), spotted land about 2 am on the morning of 12 October, and immediately alerted the rest of the crew with a shout. Thereupon, the captain of the Pinta, Juan Alonso Pinzón, verified the discovery and alerted Columbus by firing a lombard. Columbus later maintained that he himself had already seen a light on the land a few hours earlier, thereby claiming for himself the lifetime pension promised by Ferdinand and Isabella to the first person to sight land.
Columbus called the island (in what is now The Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

) San Salvador; the natives called it Guanahani
Guanahani
Guanahani was the name the natives gave to the island that Christopher Columbus called San Salvador when he arrived at the Americas. Columbus reached the island on 12 October 1492, the first island he sighted and visited in the Americas...

. Exactly which island in the Bahamas this corresponds to is an unresolved topic; prime candidates are Samana Cay
Samana Cay
Samana Cay is the largest now uninhabited island in the Bahamas, believed by some researchers to have been the location of Columbus's first landfall in the Americas, on October 12, 1492....

, Plana Cays
Plana Cays
The Plana Cays are a group of two small islands in the southern Bahama Islands located east of Acklins Island and west of Mayaguana Island. The islands are today uninhabited....

, or San Salvador Island
San Salvador Island
San Salvador Island, also known as Watlings Island, is an island and district of the Bahamas. Until 1986, when the National Geographic Society suggested Samana Cay, it was widely believed that during his first expedition to the New World, San Salvador Island was the first land sighted and visited...

 (so named in 1925 in the belief that it was Columbus's San Salvador). The indigenous people
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 he encountered, the Lucayan
Lucayan
The Lucayan were the original inhabitants of the Bahamas before the arrival of Europeans. They were a branch of the Taínos who inhabited most of the Caribbean islands at the time. The Lucayans were the first inhabitants of the Americas encountered by Christopher Columbus...

, Taíno
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 or Arawak, were peaceful and friendly. From the 12 October 1492 entry in his journal he wrote of them, "Many of the men I have seen have scars on their bodies, and when I made signs to them to find out how this happened, they indicated that people from other nearby islands come to San Salvador to capture them; they defend themselves the best they can. I believe that people from the mainland come here to take them as slaves. They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them. I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. If it pleases our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highnesses when I depart, in order that they may learn our language." He remarked that their lack of modern weaponry and even metal-forged swords or pikes was a tactical vulnerability, writing, "I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased."

Columbus also explored the northeast coast of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 (landed on 28 October) and the northern coast of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, by 5 December. Here, the Santa Maria
Santa María (ship)
La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción , was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage. Her master and owner was Juan de la Cosa.-History:...

 ran aground on Christmas Day 1492 and had to be abandoned. He was received by the native cacique
Cacique
Cacique is a title derived from the Taíno word for the pre-Columbian chiefs or leaders of tribes in the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles...

 Guacanagari
Guacanagari
Guacanagaríx was one of the five caciques of Hispaniola at the time of its discovery in 1492 by the Spanish. He was the chief of the cacicazgo of Marien, which occupied northwest of the island. Guacanagaríx received Christopher Columbus after the Santa María was wrecked during his first voyage to...

, who gave him permission to leave some of his men behind. Columbus left 39 men and founded the settlement of La Navidad
La Navidad
La Navidad was a settlement that Christopher Columbus and his men established in present day Haiti in 1492 from the remains of the Spanish ship, the Santa María...

 at the site of present-day Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti. On 13 January 1493 Columbus made his last stop in the New World. He landed on the Samaná Peninsula
Samaná Peninsula
The Samaná Península is a peninsula in Dominican Republic situated in the province of Samaná. The Samaná Peninsula is connected to the rest of the state by the isthmus of Samaná. The Peninsula contains many beaches, especially in the city of Santa Bárbara de Samaná. It contains 3 rivers. The main...

 where he met the hostile Ciguayos who presented him with his only violent resistance during his first voyage to the Americas. Because of this, and the Ciguayos' use of arrows, he called the inlet where he met them the Bay of Arrows (or Gulf of Arrows)
Bay of Arrows
Golfo de Las Flechas or Bay of Arrows refers to a bay on the northeastern side of the island of Hispaniola in the present day Dominican Republic where there was a small skirmish between Christopher Columbus’ crew and the Cigüayos that lived there during Columbus' first voyage. It lies around 69...

. Today the place is called the Bay of Rincon, in Samaná, the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

. Columbus kidnapped about 10 to 25 natives and took them back with him (only seven or eight of the native Indians arrived in Spain alive, but they made quite an impression on Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

).

Columbus headed for Spain, but another storm forced him into Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

. He anchored next to the King's harbor patrol ship on 4 March 1493 in Portugal. After spending more than one week in Portugal, he set sail for Spain. He crossed the bar of Saltes and entered the harbor of Palos
Palos de la Frontera
Palos de la Frontera is a town and municipality located in the southwestern Spanish province of Huelva, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is situated some from the provincial capital, Huelva...

 on 15 March 1493. Word of his finding new lands rapidly spread throughout Europe
Columbus's Letter on the First Voyage
Columbus' Letter on the First Voyage to the New World was written by Christopher Columbus on February 15, 1493, on board the caravel Niña at sea with a postscript written on March 14 when he arrived back into port at Lisbon, Portugal...

.

Second voyage


Columbus left Cadiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

 on 24 September 1493 to find new territories, with 17 ships carrying supplies, and about 1,200 men to colonize the region. The colonists included priests, farmers, and soldiers. This was part of a new policy – not just "colonies of exploitation", but "colonies of settlement" and conversion of the natives to Christianity. The Washington Post reported that "The studies hint that, among other things, crew members may have included free black Africans who arrived in the New World about a decade before the slave trade began." On 13 October the ships left the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 as they had on the first voyage, following a more southerly course.

On 3 November 1493, Columbus sighted a rugged island that he named Dominica
Dominica
Dominica , officially the Commonwealth of Dominica, is an island nation in the Lesser Antilles region of the Caribbean Sea, south-southeast of Guadeloupe and northwest of Martinique. Its size is and the highest point in the country is Morne Diablotins, which has an elevation of . The Commonwealth...

 (Latin for Sunday); later that day, he landed at Marie-Galante
Marie-Galante
Marie-Galante is an island of the Caribbean Sea located at the south of Guadeloupe and at north of Dominica. Marie-Galante is a dependence of Guadeloupe which is a french overseas department....

, which he named Santa Maria la Galante. After sailing past Les Saintes (Los Santos, The Saints), he arrived at Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

 Santa María de Guadalupe
Santa María de Guadalupe
The Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic monastic establishment in Guadalupe, Cáceres, a province of the Extremadura autonomous community of Spain It was one of the most important monasteries in the country for more than four centuries...

 de Extremadura, after the image of the Virgin Mary venerated at the Spanish monastery of Villuercas, in Guadalupe (Spain), which he explored between 4 and 10 November 1493.

Michele da Cuneo, Columbus’s childhood friend from Savona, sailed with Columbus during the second voyage and wrote: "In my opinion, since Genoa was Genoa, there was never born a man so well equipped and expert in the art of navigation as the said lord Admiral." Columbus named the small island of "Saona ... to honor Michele da Cuneo, his friend from Savona." The father of Bartolomé de las Casas
Bartolomé de Las Casas
Bartolomé de las Casas O.P. was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians"...

 also accompanied Colombus on this voyage.
The exact course of his voyage through the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

 is debated, but it seems likely that he turned north, sighting and naming several islands, including:
  • Montserrat
    Montserrat
    Montserrat is a British overseas territory located in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain of islands called the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies. This island measures approximately long and wide, giving of coastline...

     (for Santa Maria de Montserrate, after the Blessed Virgin of the Monastery of Montserrat, which is located on the Mountain of Montserrat, in Catalonia, Spain),
  • Antigua
    Antigua
    Antigua , also known as Waladli, is an island in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Seville Cathedral, Santa Maria de la...

     (after a church in Seville
    Seville
    Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

    , Spain, called Santa Maria la Antigua, meaning "Old St. Mary's"),
  • Redonda
    Redonda
    Redonda is a very small, uninhabited Caribbean island which is part of Antigua and Barbuda, in the Leeward Islands, West Indies.This small island lies southwest of Antigua, in the waters between the islands of Nevis and Montserrat...

     (for Santa Maria la Redonda, Spanish for "round", owing to the island's shape),
  • Nevis
    Nevis
    Nevis is an island in the Caribbean Sea, located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, about 350 km east-southeast of Puerto Rico and 80 km west of Antigua. The 93 km² island is part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies...

     (derived from the Spanish, Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, meaning "Our Lady of the Snows", because Columbus thought the clouds over Nevis Peak made the island resemble a snow-capped mountain),
  • Saint Kitts
    Saint Kitts
    Saint Kitts Saint Kitts Saint Kitts (also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island (Saint-Christophe in French) is an island in the West Indies. The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean...

     (for St. Christopher, patron of sailors and travelers),
  • Sint Eustatius (for the early Roman martyr, St. Eustachius
    Saint Eustace
    Saint Eustace, also known as Eustachius or Eustathius, was a legendary Christian martyr who lived in the 2nd century AD. A martyr of that name is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, which, however, judges that the legend recounted about him is "completely fabulous." For that reason...

    ),
  • Saba (also for St. Christopher?),
  • Saint Martin
    Saint Martin
    Saint Martin is an island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately east of Puerto Rico. The 87 km2 island is divided roughly 60/40 between France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands ; however, the Dutch side has the larger population. It is one of the smallest sea islands divided between...

     (San Martin), and
  • Saint Croix (from the Spanish Santa Cruz, meaning "Holy Cross
    Christian cross
    The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known religious symbol of Christianity...

    "). He also sighted the island chain of the Virgin Islands
    Virgin Islands
    The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

     (and named them Islas de Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgenes, Saint Ursula
    Saint Ursula
    Saint Ursula is a British Christian saint. Her feast day in the extraordinary form calendar of the Catholic Church is October 21...

     and the 11,000 Virgins, a cumbersome name that was usually shortened, both on maps of the time and in common parlance, to Islas Virgenes), and he also named the islands of Virgin Gorda
    Virgin Gorda
    Virgin Gorda is the third-largest and second most populous of the British Virgin Islands . Located at approximately 18 degrees, 48 minutes North, and 64 degrees, 30 minutes West, it covers an area of about...

     (the fat virgin), Tortola
    Tortola
    Tortola is the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, a group of islands that form part of the archipelago of the Virgin Islands. Local tradition recounts that Christopher Columbus named it Tortola, meaning "land of the Turtle Dove". Columbus named the island Santa Ana...

    , and Peter Island
    Peter Island
    The 720 hectare Peter Island, is a private island located in the British Virgin Islands , about 5.2 miles south-west from Road Harbour , Tortola...

     (San Pedro).


He continued to the Greater Antilles
Greater Antilles
The Greater Antilles are one of three island groups in the Caribbean. Comprising Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico, the Greater Antilles constitute almost 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies.-Greater Antilles in context :The islands of the Caribbean Sea, collectively known as...

, and landed at Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 (originally San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist, a name that was later supplanted by Puerto Rico (English: Rich Port) while the capital retained the name, San Juan) on 19 November 1493. One of the first skirmishes between native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 and Europeans since the time of the Vikings took place when Columbus's men rescued two boys who had just been castrated by their captors.

On 22 November Columbus returned to Hispaniola, where he intended to visit Fuerte de la Navidad
La Navidad
La Navidad was a settlement that Christopher Columbus and his men established in present day Haiti in 1492 from the remains of the Spanish ship, the Santa María...

 (Christmas Fort), built during his first voyage, and located on the northern coast of Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

. Columbus found Fuerte de la Navidad in ruins, destroyed by the native Taino
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 people.

Among the ruins were the corpses of 11 of the first 39 Spanish to have attempted New World colonization. Columbus then required from the Taino
Taíno people
The Taínos were pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. It is thought that the seafaring Taínos are relatives of the Arawak people of South America...

 that each adult over 14 years of age was expected to deliver a hawks bell full of gold every three months, or when this was lacking, twenty five pounds of spun cotton. If this tribute was not observed, the Taínos had their hands cut off and were left to bleed to death. Columbus then moved more than 100 kilometers eastwards, establishing a new settlement, which he called La Isabela, likewise on the northern coast of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, in the present-day Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

. However, La Isabela proved to be a poorly chosen location, and the settlement was short-lived.

He left Hispaniola on 24 April 1494, arrived at Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 (naming it Juana) on 30 April. He explored the southern coast of Cuba, which he believed to be a peninsula rather than an island, and several nearby islands, including the Isle of Pines (Isla de las Pinas, later known as La Evangelista, The Evangelist). He reached Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 on 5 May. He retraced his route to Hispaniola, arriving on 20 August, before he finally returned to Spain.

Third voyage



On 30 May 1498, Columbus left with six ships from Sanlúcar, Spain
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a city in the northwest of Cádiz province, part of the autonomous community of Andalucía in southern Spain. Sanlúcar is located on the left bank at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River opposite the Doñana National Park, 52 km from the provincial capital Cádiz and...

, for his third trip to the New World.

Columbus led the fleet to the Portuguese island of Porto Santo, his wife's native land. He then sailed to Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

 and spent some time there with the Portuguese captain João Gonçalves da Camara before sailing to the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 and Cape Verde
Cape Verde
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa...

. Columbus landed on the south coast of the island of Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 on 31 July. From 4 August through 12 August he explored the Gulf of Paria
Gulf of Paria
The Gulf of Paria is a shallow inland sea between the island of Trinidad and the east coast of Venezuela. This sheltered body of water is considered to be one of the best natural harbours on the Atlantic coast of the Americas...

 which separates Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

 from Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

. He explored the mainland of South America, including the Orinoco River
Orinoco
The Orinoco is one of the longest rivers in South America at . Its drainage basin, sometimes called the Orinoquia, covers , with 76.3% of it in Venezuela and the remainder in Colombia...

. He also sailed to the islands of Chacachacare
Chacachacare
Chacachacare is an abandoned island in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago located at 10° 41' north latitude and 61° 45' west longitude. The island is 3.642 km² in area. It is one of the "Bocas Islands", which lie in the Bocas del Dragón between Trinidad and Venezuela...

 and Margarita Island and sighted and named Tobago
Tobago
Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. The island lies outside the hurricane belt...

 (Bella Forma) and Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

 (Concepcion).

Columbus returned to Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 on 19 August to find that many of the Spanish settlers of the new colony were discontented, having been misled by Columbus about the supposedly bountiful riches of the new world. An entry in his journal from September 1498 reads, "From here one might send, in the name of the Holy Trinity, as many slaves as could be sold..." Since Columbus supported the enslavement of the Hispaniola natives for economic reasons, he ultimately refused to baptize them.
He had some of his crew hanged for disobeying him. A number of returning settlers and sailors lobbied against Columbus at the Spanish court
Cortes Generales
The Cortes Generales is the legislature of Spain. It is a bicameral parliament, composed of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate . The Cortes has power to enact any law and to amend the constitution...

, accusing him and his brothers of gross mismanagement. On his return he was arrested for a period (see Governorship and arrest section below).

Fourth voyage



Before leaving for his fourth voyage, Columbus wrote a letter to the Governors of the Bank of St. George, Genoa, dated at Seville, 2 April 1502. He wrote "Although my body is here my heart is always near you."

Columbus made a fourth voyage nominally in search of the Strait of Malacca
Strait of Malacca
The Strait of Malacca is a narrow, stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is named after the Malacca Sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1414 to 1511.-Extent:...

 to the Indian Ocean. Accompanied by his brother Bartolomeo
Bartolomeo Columbus
Bartholomew Columbus was an explorer and the younger brother of Christopher Columbus.In the 1470s Bartholomew was a mapmaker in Lisbon, the principal center of cartography of the time, and conceived with his brother the "Enterprise of the Indies", a scheme to reach the Orient and its lucrative...

 and his 13-year-old son Fernando
Fernando Colón
Ferdinand Columbus was the second son of Christopher Columbus. His mother was Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, whom his father never married, but who was Columbus' constant companion in later life.-Biography:Fernando was born in Córdoba, Spain, and spent his early years there with his mother...

, he left Cadiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

, (modern Spain), on 11 May 1502, with the ships Capitana, Gallega, Vizcaína and Santiago de Palos. He sailed to Arzila on the Moroccan coast to rescue Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 soldiers whom he had heard were under siege by the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

. On 15 June they landed at Carbet on the island of Martinique
Martinique
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of . Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia, and to the southeast Barbados...

 (Martinica). A hurricane was brewing, so he continued on, hoping to find shelter on Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

. He arrived at Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

 on 29 June but was denied port, and the new governor refused to listen to his storm prediction. Instead, while Columbus's ships sheltered at the mouth of the Rio Jaina, the first Spanish treasure fleet sailed into the hurricane. Columbus's ships survived with only minor damage, while 29 of the 30 ships in the governor's fleet were lost to the 1 July storm
1492-1524 Atlantic hurricane seasons
This is a list of all known Atlantic hurricanes before 1600. While data for every storm that occurred is unavailable, some parts of the coastline were populated enough to give data of hurricane occurrences.Pre-1600 1600s/10s 1620s/30s...

. In addition to the ships, 500 lives (including that of the governor, Francisco de Bobadilla
Francisco de Bobadilla
Francisco de Bobadilla was a Spanish colonial administrator. Member of the Order of Calatrava, in 1499, de Bobadilla was appointed to succeed Christopher Columbus as the second governor of the Indies, Spain's new territories in America, by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella...

) and an immense cargo of gold were surrendered to the sea.

After a brief stop at Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, Columbus sailed to Central America, arriving at Guanaja (Isla de Pinos)
Guanaja
Guanaja is one of the Bay Islands of Honduras, and is in the Caribbean. It is about 70 km off the north coast of Honduras, and 12 km from the island of Roatan. One of the cays off Guanaja, also called Guanaja or Bonnaca or Low Cay , is near the main island, and contains most of the...

 in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 on 30 July. Here Bartolomeo found native merchants and a large canoe, which was described as "long as a galley" and was filled with cargo. On 14 August he landed on the continental mainland at Puerto Castilla, near Trujillo, Honduras. He spent two months exploring the coasts of Honduras, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, and Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

, before arriving in Almirante Bay, Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 on 16 October.


On 5 December 1502, Columbus and his crew found themselves in a storm unlike any they had ever experienced. In his journal Columbus writes,
For nine days I was as one lost, without hope of life. Eyes never beheld the sea so angry, so high, so covered with foam. The wind not only prevented our progress, but offered no opportunity to run behind any headland for shelter; hence we were forced to keep out in this bloody ocean, seething like a pot on a hot fire. Never did the sky look more terrible; for one whole day and night it blazed like a furnace, and the lightning broke with such violence that each time I wondered if it had carried off my spars and sails; the flashes came with such fury and frightfulness that we all thought that the ship would be blasted. All this time the water never ceased to fall from the sky; I do not say it rained, for it was like another deluge. The men were so worn out that they longed for death to end their dreadful suffering.


In Panama, Columbus learned from the natives of gold and a strait to another ocean. After much exploration, in January 1503 he established a garrison
Garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

 at the mouth of the Rio Belen. On 6 April one of the ships became stranded in the river. At the same time, the garrison was attacked, and the other ships were damaged (Shipworms also damaged the ships in tropical waters.). Columbus left for Hispaniola on 16 April heading north. On 10 May he sighted the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica...

, naming them "Las Tortugas" after the numerous sea turtle
Sea turtle
Sea turtles are marine reptiles that inhabit all of the world's oceans except the Arctic.-Distribution:...

s there. His ships next sustained more damage in a storm off the coast of Cuba. Unable to travel farther, on 25 June 1503 they were beached in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica
Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica
Saint Ann is the largest parish in Jamaica. It is situated on the north coast of the island, in the county of Middlesex, roughly halfway between the eastern and western ends of the island. It is often called 'the Garden Parish of Jamaica' on account of its natural beauty...

.

For a year Columbus and his men remained stranded on Jamaica. A Spaniard, Diego Mendez, and some natives paddled a canoe
Canoe
A canoe or Canadian canoe is a small narrow boat, typically human-powered, though it may also be powered by sails or small electric or gas motors. Canoes are usually pointed at both bow and stern and are normally open on top, but can be decked over A canoe (North American English) or Canadian...

 to get help from Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

. That island's governor, Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres, detested Columbus and obstructed all efforts to rescue him and his men. In the meantime Columbus, in a desperate effort to induce the natives to continue provisioning him and his hungry men, successfully won the favor of the natives by correctly predicting a lunar eclipse for 29 February 1504, using the Ephemeris
Ephemeris
An ephemeris is a table of values that gives the positions of astronomical objects in the sky at a given time or times. Different kinds of ephemerides are used for astronomy and astrology...

 of the German astronomer Regiomontanus
Regiomontanus
Johannes Müller von Königsberg , today best known by his Latin toponym Regiomontanus, was a German mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, translator and instrument maker....

. Help finally arrived, no thanks to the governor, on 29 June 1504, and Columbus and his men arrived in Sanlúcar, Spain
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a city in the northwest of Cádiz province, part of the autonomous community of Andalucía in southern Spain. Sanlúcar is located on the left bank at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River opposite the Doñana National Park, 52 km from the provincial capital Cádiz and...

, on 7 November.

Governorship and arrest


Under the terms of the Capitulations of Santa Fe
Capitulations of Santa Fe
The Capitulations of Santa Fe between Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs were signed in Santa Fe, Granada on April 17, 1492. They granted Columbus the titles of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, the Viceroy, the Governor-General and honorific Don, and also the tenth part of all riches to be...

, after his first voyage Columbus was appointed Viceroy and Governor of the Indies, which in practice entailed primarily the administration of the colonies in the island of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, whose capital was established in Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

. By the end of his third voyage, Columbus was physically and mentally exhausted: his body was wracked by arthritis
Arthritis
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints....

 and his eyes by ophthalmia
Ophthalmia
Ophthalmia is inflammation of the eye. It is a medical sign which may be indicative of various conditions, including sympathetic ophthalmia , gonococcal ophthalmia, trachoma or "Egyptian" ophthalmia, ophthalmia neonatorum ,...

. In October 1499, he sent two ships to Spain, asking the Court of Spain to appoint a royal commissioner to help him govern. By then, accusations of tyranny and incompetence on the part of Columbus had also reached the Court.

The Court appointed Francisco de Bobadilla
Francisco de Bobadilla
Francisco de Bobadilla was a Spanish colonial administrator. Member of the Order of Calatrava, in 1499, de Bobadilla was appointed to succeed Christopher Columbus as the second governor of the Indies, Spain's new territories in America, by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella...

, a member of the Order of Calatrava
Order of Calatrava
The Order of Calatrava was the first military order founded in Castile, but the second to receive papal approval. The papal bull confirming the Order of Calatrava as a Militia was given by Pope Alexander III on September 26, 1164.-Origins and Foundation:...

, but not as the aide that Columbus had requested. Instead, Bobadilla was given complete control as governor from 1500 until his death in 1502. Arriving in Santo Domingo while Columbus was away, Bobadilla was immediately peppered with complaints about all three Columbus brothers: Christopher, Bartolomé, and Diego. Consuelo Varela, a Spanish historian, states: "Even those who loved him [Columbus] had to admit the atrocities that had taken place."


As a result of these testimonies and without being allowed a word in his own defense, Columbus, upon his return, had manacles placed on his arms and chains on his feet and was cast into prison to await return to Spain. He was 48 years old.

On 1 October 1500, Columbus and his two brothers, likewise in chains, were sent back to Spain. Once in Cadiz, a grieving Columbus wrote to a friend at court:
According to an uncatalogued document supposedly discovered very late in history purporting to be a record of Columbus's trial which contained the alleged testimony of 23 witnesses, Columbus regularly used barbaric acts of torture to govern Hispaniola.

Columbus and his brothers lingered in jail for six weeks before busy King Ferdinand ordered their release. Not long after, the king and queen summoned the Columbus brothers to the Alhambra
Alhambra
The Alhambra , the complete form of which was Calat Alhambra , is a palace and fortress complex located in the Granada, Andalusia, Spain...

 palace in Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

. There the royal couple heard the brothers' pleas; restored their freedom and wealth; and, after much persuasion, agreed to fund Columbus's fourth voyage. But the door was firmly shut on Columbus's role as governor. Henceforth Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres was to be the new governor of the West Indies.

Later life




While Columbus had always given the conversion of non-believers as one reason for his explorations, he grew increasingly religious in his later years. Probably with the assistance of his son Diego and his friend the Carthusian
Carthusian
The Carthusian Order, also called the Order of St. Bruno, is a Roman Catholic religious order of enclosed monastics. The order was founded by Saint Bruno of Cologne in 1084 and includes both monks and nuns...

 monk Gaspar Gorricio, Columbus produced two books during his later years: a Book of Privileges
Book of Privileges
The Book of Privileges is a book written by explorer Christopher Columbus and completed in 1502, shortly before Columbus's fourth and final voyage to the Americas....

 (1502), detailing and documenting the rewards from the Spanish Crown to which he believed he and his heirs were entitled, and a Book of Prophecies
Book of Prophecies
The Book of Prophecies is a compilation of apocalyptical religious revelations written by Christopher Columbus towards the end of his life, probably with the assistance of his friend the Carthusian monk Gaspar Gorricio...

 (1505), in which passages from the Bible were used to place his achievements as an explorer in the context of Christian eschatology
Christian eschatology
Christian eschatology is a major branch of study within Christian theology. Eschatology, from two Greek words meaning last and study , is the study of the end of things, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, or the end of the world...

.

In his later years, Columbus demanded that the Spanish Crown give him 10% of all profits made in the new lands, as stipulated in the Capitulations of Santa Fe
Capitulations of Santa Fe
The Capitulations of Santa Fe between Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs were signed in Santa Fe, Granada on April 17, 1492. They granted Columbus the titles of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, the Viceroy, the Governor-General and honorific Don, and also the tenth part of all riches to be...

. Because he had been relieved of his duties as governor, the crown did not feel bound by that contract and his demands were rejected. After his death, his heirs sued the Crown for a part of the profits from trade with America, as well as other rewards. This led to a protracted series of legal disputes known as the pleitos colombinos
Pleitos colombinos
The Pleitos colombinos were a long series of lawsuits that the heirs of Christopher Columbus brought against the Crown of Castile and León in defense of the privileges obtained by Columbus for his discoveries in the New World...

 ("Columbian lawsuits").

Death



On 20 May 1506, at age 54, Columbus died in Valladolid
Valladolid
Valladolid is a historic city and municipality in north-central Spain, situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three wine-making regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales...

, Spain. According to a study, published in February 2007, by Antonio Rodriguez Cuartero, Department of Internal Medicine of the University of Granada
University of Granada
The University of Granada is a public university located in Granada, Spain that enrolls approximately 80,000 students. The university also has campuses in Ceuta and Melilla. Every year, over 2,000 European students enroll in the UGR through the Erasmus Programme, making it the most popular...

, he died of a heart attack caused by reactive arthritis
Reactive arthritis
Reactive arthritis , is classified as an autoimmune condition that develops in response to an infection in another part of the body. Coming into contact with bacteria and developing an infection can trigger the disease. Reiter's syndrome has symptoms similar to various other conditions collectively...

. According to his personal diaries and notes by contemporaries, the symptoms of this illness (burning pain during urination, pain and swelling of the knees, and conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva...

) were clearly evident in his last three years.

Columbus' remains were first interred at Valladolid, then at the monastery of La Cartuja
La Cartuja
Isla de la Cartuja is an island in the Guadalquivir River at Seville, Spain.The island's name derives from the cloistered monastery located on the site, the Monasterio de Santa María de las Cuevas...

 in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 (southern Spain) by the will of his son Diego
Diego Colón
Diego Columbus was the 2nd Admiral of the Indies, 2nd Viceroy of the Indies and 3rd Governor of the Indies. He was the firstborn son of Christopher Columbus and wife Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, and was born in 1479/1480 in Porto Santo, Portugal or 1474 in Lisbon, Portugal. He died February...

, who had been governor of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

. In 1542 the remains were transferred to Colonial Santo Domingo
Ciudad Colonial (Santo Domingo)
Ciudad Colonial is the first settlement made by Christopher Columbus and the Spanish explorers in the New World. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Colloquially known as "Zona Colonial" , Ciudad Colonial is part of the original Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and the origin...

, in the present-day Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

. In 1795, when France took over the entire island of Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

, Columbus' remains were moved to Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

, Cuba. After Cuba became independent following the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

 in 1898, the remains were moved back to Spain, to the Cathedral of Seville, where they were placed on an elaborate catafalque
Catafalque
A catafalque is a raised bier, soapbox, or similar platform, often movable, that is used to support the casket, coffin, or body of the deceased during a funeral or memorial service. Following a Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, a catafalque may be used to stand in place of the body at the Absolution of...

.

However, a lead box bearing an inscription identifying "Don Christopher Columbus" and containing bone fragments and a bullet was discovered at Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

 in 1877.

To lay to rest claims that the wrong relics had been moved to Havana and that Columbus' remains had been left buried in the cathedral at Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo, known officially as Santo Domingo de Guzmán, is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic. Its metropolitan population was 2,084,852 in 2003, and estimated at 3,294,385 in 2010. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, at the mouth of the Ozama River...

, DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 samples of the corpse resting in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 were taken in June 2003 (History Today August 2003) as well as other DNA samples from the remains of his sons Diego and Fernando Colón. Initial observations suggested that the bones did not appear to belong to somebody with the physique or age at death associated with Columbus. DNA extraction proved difficult; only short fragments of mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 could be isolated. The mtDNA fragments matched corresponding DNA from Columbus' brother, giving support that both individuals had shared the same mother. Such evidence, together with anthropologic
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 and historic analyses led the researchers to conclude that the remains found in Seville belonged to Christopher Columbus. The authorities in Santo Domingo have never allowed the remains there to be exhumed, so it is unknown if any of those remains could be from Columbus' body as well. The location of the Dominican remains is in "The Colombus Lighthouse
The Colombus Lighthouse
Columbus Lighthouse is a monument located in Santo Domingo Este, Dominican Republic, in tribute to Christopher Columbus.Construction began in 1986 using plans drawn by Scottish architect J.L. Gleave in 1931, in time for the 500th anniversary of the Discovery of America, the monument was...

" (Faro a Colón), in Santo Domingo.

Historians have traditionally argued that Columbus remained convinced to the very end that his journeys had been along the east coast of Asia, but scholar Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale is an independent scholar and author who has written prolifically about political decentralism, environmentalism, luddism and technology...

 argues that a document in the Book of Privileges indicates Columbus knew he found a new continent. Furthermore, his journals from the third voyage call the "land of Paria" a "hitherto unknown" continent. On the other hand, his other writings continued to claim that he had reached Asia, such as a 1502 letter to Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI , born Roderic Llançol i Borja was Pope from 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. He is one of the most controversial of the Renaissance popes, and his Italianized surname—Borgia—became a byword for the debased standards of the Papacy of that era, most notoriously the Banquet...

 where he asserted that Cuba was the east coast of Asia. He also rationalized that the new continent of South America was the "Earthly Paradise" that was located "at the end of the Orient". Thus, it remains unclear what his true beliefs were.

Commemoration


The World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893, commemorated the 400th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Over 27 million people attended the exposition during its six-month duration.

The U.S. Postal Service participated in the celebration issuing the first US commemorative postage stamps
Commemorative stamp
A commemorative stamp is a postage stamp, often issued on a significant date such as an anniversary, to honor or commemorate a place, event or person. The subject of the commemorative stamp is usually spelled out in print, unlike definitive stamps which normally depict the subject along with the...

, a series of 16 postage issues called the Columbian Issue
Columbian Issue
The Columbian Issue, often simply called the Columbians, is a set of 16 postage stamps issued by the United States to mark the 1893 World Columbian Exposition held in Chicago...

 depicting Columbus, Queen Isabella and others in the various stages of his several voyages. The issues range in value from the 1-cent to the 5-dollar denominations. Under Benjamin Harrison and his Postmaster General John Wanamaker
John Wanamaker
John Wanamaker was a United States merchant, religious leader, civic and political figure, considered by some to be the father of modern advertising and a "pioneer in marketing." Wanamaker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.-Biography:He was born on July 11, 1838.He opened his first store in...

 the Columbian commemorative stamps were made available and were first issued at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893. Wanamaker originally introduced the idea of issuing the nation's first commemorative stamp to Harrison, the Congress and the U.S. Post Office. To demonstrate his confidence in the new Columbian commemorative issues Wanamaker purchased $10,000 worth of stamps with his own money. The Columbian Exposition lasted several months and, and over $40 million dollars in commemorative postage stamp had been sold. The 400th anniversary Columbian issues were very popular in the United States; more than a billion of the two-cent editions were printed.

In 1982, a second Columbian issue was released that was identical to the first to commemorate the 500th anniversary. These issues were made from the original dies of which the first engraved issues of 1893 were produced. In 1992 along with the United States, Spain also issued an almost identical series of Columbian issues, (using 'Spain' instead of 'United States of America') celebrating the 500th anniversary of the voyages.

Legacy



Although among non-Native Americans Christopher Columbus is traditionally considered the discoverer of America, Columbus was preceded by the various cultures and civilizations of the indigenous peoples of the Americas
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, as well as the Western world's Vikings at L'Anse aux Meadows
L'Anse aux Meadows
L'Anse aux Meadows is an archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovered in 1960, it is the only known site of a Norse or Viking village in Canada, and in North America outside of Greenland...

. He is regarded more accurately as the person who brought the Americas into the forefront of Western attention. "Columbus's claim to fame isn't that he got there first," explains historian Martin Dugard, "it's that he stayed." The popular idea that he was first person to envision a rounded earth is false. The rounded shape of the earth
Spherical Earth
The concept of a spherical Earth dates back to ancient Greek philosophy from around the 6th century BC, but remained a matter of philosophical speculation until the 3rd century BC when Hellenistic astronomy established the spherical shape of the earth as a physical given...

 has already been known since antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

.


Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from the feminized Latin version of his first name.-Expeditions:...

's travel journals, published 1502-4, convinced Martin Waldseemüller
Martin Waldseemüller
Martin Waldseemüller was a German cartographer...

 that the discovered place was not India, as Columbus always believed, but a new continent
Continent
A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are : Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.Plate tectonics is...

, and in 1507, a year after Columbus's death, Waldseemüller published a world map calling the new continent America from Vespucci's Latinized name "Americus". According to Paul Lunde, "The preoccupation of European courts with the rise of the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in the East partly explains their relative lack of interest in Columbus's discoveries in the West."
Historically, the British had downplayed Columbus and emphasized the role of the Venetian John Cabot
John Cabot
John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America is commonly held to have been the first European encounter with the continent of North America since the Norse Vikings in the eleventh century...

 as a pioneer explorer, but for the emerging United States, Cabot made for a poor national hero. Veneration of Columbus in America dates back to colonial times. The name Columbia for "America" first appeared in a 1738 weekly publication of the debates of the British Parliament. The use of Columbus as a founding figure of New World nations and the use of the word 'Columbia', or simply the name 'Columbus', spread rapidly after the American Revolution. In 1812, the name 'Columbus' was given to the newly founded capital of Ohio. During the last two decades of the 18th century the name "Columbia" was given to the federal capital District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, South Carolina's new capital city Columbia
Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia is the state capital and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The population was 129,272 according to the 2010 census. Columbia is the county seat of Richland County, but a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. The city is the center of a metropolitan...

, the Columbia River
Columbia River
The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, flows northwest and then south into the U.S. state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state...

, and numerous other places. Columbia is also the name of NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's first Space shuttle
Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. All seven crew...

 and was the first to launch into orbit. Outside the United States the name was used in 1819 for the Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia is a name used today for the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. This short-lived republic included the territories of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru and northwest Brazil. The...

, a precursor of the modern Republic of Colombia. The main plaza in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Mayagüez is the eighth-largest municipality of Puerto Rico. Originally founded as "Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria" it is also known as "La Sultana del Oeste" , "Ciudad de las Aguas Puras" , or "Ciudad del Mangó"...

 is called Plaza Colón
Plaza Colón
Plaza Colón is the main plaza in the city of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. This plaza and its fountain commemorate the explorer Christopher Columbus, whose name in Spanish was Cristóbal Colón...

 in honor of the Admiral.

A candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church in 1866, celebration of Columbus's legacy perhaps reached a zenith in 1892 when the 400th anniversary of his first arrival in the Americas occurred. Monuments to Columbus like the Columbian Exposition
World's Columbian Exposition
The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. Chicago bested New York City; Washington, D.C.; and St...

 in Chicago were erected throughout the United States and Latin America extolling him. Numerous cities, towns, counties, and streets have been named after him, including the capital cities
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 of two U.S. states: Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 and South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

.

In 1909, descendants of Columbus undertook to dismantle the Columbus family chapel in Spain and move it to Boalsburg near State College, Pennsylvania, where it may now be visited by the public. At the museum associated with the chapel, there are a number of Columbus relics worthy of note, including the armchair which the "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" used at his chart table.

More recent views of Columbus, particularly those of Native Americans, have tended to be much more critical. This is because the native Taino of Hispaniola, where Columbus began a rudimentary tribute system for gold and cotton, disappeared so rapidly after contact with the Spanish, due to overwork and especially, after 1519, when the first pandemic
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

 struck Hispaniola, due to European diseases. Some estimates indicate case fatality rates of 80–90% in Native American populations during smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 epidemics. The native Taino people of the island were systematically enslaved via the encomienda
Encomienda
The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

 system. The pre-Columbian population is estimated to have been perhaps 250,000–300,000. According to the historian Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes by 1548, 56 years after Columbus landed, less than five hundred Taino were left on the island. In another hundred years, perhaps only a handful remained. However, some analyses of the question of Columbus's legacy for Native Americans do not clearly distinguish between the actions of Columbus himself, who died well before the first pandemic to hit Hispaniola or the height of the encomienda system, and those of later European governors and colonists on Hispaniola.

There is increasing modern scientific evidence that the first voyage also brought syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

 back from the New World. Many of the crew members who served on this voyage later joined the army of King Charles VIII
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

 in his invasion of Italy in 1495 resulting in the spreading of the disease across Europe and as many as 5 million deaths.

The anniversary of Columbus's 1492 landing in the Americas is usually observed as Columbus Day
Columbus Day
Many countries in the New World and elsewhere celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas, which occurred on October 12, 1492, as an official holiday...

 on 12 October in Spain and throughout the Americas, except Canada. In the United States it is observed annually on the second Monday in October.

The term "pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

" is usually used to refer to the peoples and cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus and his European successors.

Physical appearance



Although an abundance of artwork involving Christopher Columbus exists, no authentic
Authentication
Authentication is the act of confirming the truth of an attribute of a datum or entity...

 contemporary portrait
Portrait
thumb|250px|right|Portrait of [[Thomas Jefferson]] by [[Rembrandt Peale]], 1805. [[New-York Historical Society]].A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness,...

 has been found. James W. Loewen
James Loewen
James W. Loewen is a sociologist, historian, and author whose best-known work is Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong .-Early life and career:...

, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me
Lies My Teacher Told Me
Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong is a 1995 book by sociologist James Loewen. It critically examines twelve American history textbooks and concludes that textbook authors propagate factually false, Eurocentric, and mythologized views of history...

, said that the various posthumous portraits have no historical value.

Sometime between 1505 and 1536, Alejo Fernández
Alejo Fernández
Alejo Fernández was a Spanish painter best known for his portrait of Christopher Columbus painted between 1505 and 1536.-Biography:...

 painted an altarpiece, The Virgin of the Navigators
The Virgin of the Navigators
The Virgin of the Navigators is a painting by Spanish artist Alejo Fernández, created as the central panel of an altarpiece for the chapel of the Casa de Contratación building in Seville, southern Spain...

, that includes a depiction of Columbus. The painting was commissioned for a chapel in Seville's Casa de Contratación
Casa de Contratación
La Casa de Contratación was a government agency under the Spanish Empire, existing from the 16th to the 18th centuries, which attempted to control all Spanish exploration and colonization...

 (House of Trade) and remains there to this day, as the earliest known painting about the discovery of the Americas.

At the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition
World's Columbian Exposition
The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. Chicago bested New York City; Washington, D.C.; and St...

, 71 alleged portraits of Columbus were displayed, most did not match contemporary descriptions. These writings describe him as having reddish or blond hair, which turned to white early in his life, light colored eyes, as well as being a lighter skinned person with too much sun exposure turning his face red.

In keeping with descriptions of Columbus having had auburn hair or (later) white hair, textbooks have used the Sebastiano del Piombo
Sebastiano del Piombo
Sebastiano del Piombo , byname of Sebastiano Luciani, was an Italian Renaissance-Mannerist painter of the early 16th century famous for his combination of the colors of the Venetian school and the monumental forms of the Roman school.- Biography :Sebastiano del Piombo belongs to the painting school...

 painting (which in its normal-sized resolution shows Columbus's hair as auburn) so often that it has become the iconic image of Columbus accepted by popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

. Accounts consistently describe Columbus as a large and physically strong man of some six feet or more in height, easily taller than the average European of his day.

Popular culture



Columbus, an important historical figure, has been depicted in fiction, cinema and television, and in other media and entertainment, such as stage plays, music, cartoons and games.

In games
  • Christopher Columbus appears as a Great Explorer in the 2008 strategy video game, Civilization Revolution
    Civilization Revolution
    Civilization Revolution is a 2008 iteration of Civilization developed by Firaxis with Sid Meier as designer for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, and iOS. A Wii version was originally expected but was put on indefinite hold...

    .


In literature
  • In 1889, American author Mark Twain
    Mark Twain
    Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

     based the time traveler's trick in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is an 1889 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The book was originally titled A Yankee in King Arthur's Court...

     on Columbus' successful prediction of a lunar eclipse during his fourth voyage to the New World.
  • In 1958, the Italian playwright Dario Fo
    Dario Fo
    Dario Fo is an Italian satirist, playwright, theater director, actor and composer. His dramatic work employs comedic methods of the ancient Italian commedia dell'arte, a theatrical style popular with the working classes. He currently owns and operates a theatre company with his wife, actress...

     wrote a satirical play about Columbus titled Isabella, tre caravelle e un cacciaballe (Isabella, three tall ships and a con man). In 1997 Fo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
    Nobel Prize in Literature
    Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

    . The play was translated into English in 1988 by Ed Emery
    Ed Emery
    Edward Silvio Emery is an American politician.In 1976, 1978, and 1980, Emery ran as an independent against U.S. Rep. Thomas W. L. Ashley . Each time, Emery came in a distant third in the race....

     and is downloadable on the internet.
  • In 1991, author Salman Rushdie published a fictional representation of Columbus in The New Yorker
    The New Yorker
    The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

    , "Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain Consummate Their Relationship, Santa Fe, January, 1492".
  • In Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus
    Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus
    Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus is the first science fiction novel in the Pastwatch series by Orson Scott Card. The book's focus is the life and activities of explorer, Christopher Columbus...

     (1996) science fiction novelist Orson Scott Card
    Orson Scott Card
    Orson Scott Card is an American author, critic, public speaker, essayist, columnist, and political activist. He writes in several genres, but is primarily known for his science fiction. His novel Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the...

     focuses on Columbus' life and activities, but the novel's action also deals with a group of scientists from the future who travel back to the 15th century with the goal of changing the pattern of European contact with the Americas.
  • British author Stephen Baxter
    Stephen Baxter
    Stephen Baxter is a prolific British hard science fiction author. He has degrees in mathematics and engineering.- Writing style :...

     includes Columbus' quest for royal sponsorship as a crucial historical event in his 2007 science fiction novel Navigator (ISBN 978-0-441-01559-7), the third entry in the author's Time's Tapestry Series.


In music
  • Christopher Columbus is regularly referred to by singers and musical groups in the Rastafari movement
    Rastafari movement
    The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves. Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia , as God...

     as an example of a European oppressor. The detractors include Burning Spear
    Burning Spear
    Winston Rodney, OD , also known as Burning Spear, is a Jamaican roots reggae singer and musician. Burning Spear is known for his Rastafari movement messages.-History:...

     (Christopher Columbus), Culture
    Culture (band)
    Culture was a Jamaican roots reggae group founded in 1976. Originally they were known as the African Disciples.The members of the trio were Joseph Hill , Albert Walker and Kenneth Dayes ....

     (Capture Rasta), and Peter Tosh
    Peter Tosh
    Peter Tosh, born Winston Hubert McIntosh , was a Jamaican reggae musician who was a core member of the band The Wailers , and who afterward had a successful solo career as well as being a promoter of Rastafari.Peter Tosh was born in Grange Hill, Jamaica, an illegitimate child to a mother too young...

     (You Can't Blame The Youth, Here Comes The Judge).


Onscreen
  • Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus (film)
    Christopher Columbus is a 1949 British biographical film starring Fredric March as Christopher Columbus and Florence Eldridge as Queen Isabella. It was based on the novel Christopher Columbus by Rafael Sabatini.-Cast:...

     is a 1949 film starring Fredric March
    Fredric March
    Fredric March was an American stage and film actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr...

     as Columbus.
  • The 1985 TV mini-series, Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus (TV series)
    Christopher Columbus was a television mini-series broadcast in Italy and the United States in 1985.In six hours, the series told the story of the life of Christopher Columbus with Gabriel Byrne starring as the eponymous character....

    , features Gabriel Byrne
    Gabriel Byrne
    Gabriel James Byrne is an Irish actor, film director, film producer, writer, cultural ambassador and audiobook narrator. His acting career began in the Focus Theatre before he joined Londo's Royal Court Theatre in 1979. Byrne's screen debut came in the Irish soap opera The Riordans and the...

     as Columbus.
  • Columbus was portrayed by Gérard Depardieu
    Gérard Depardieu
    Gérard Xavier Marcel Depardieu is a French actor and filmmaker. He is a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur, Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite and has twice won the César Award for Best Actor...

     in the 1992 film by Ridley Scott
    Ridley Scott
    Sir Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer. His most famous films include The Duellists , Alien , Blade Runner , Legend , Thelma & Louise , G. I...

    , 1492: Conquest of Paradise
    1492: Conquest of Paradise
    1492: Conquest of Paradise is an epic 1992 European adventure/drama film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Roselyne Bosch, which tells the story of the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus and the effect this had on the indigenous people...

    . Scott presented Columbus as a forward-thinking idealist, as opposed to the view that he was ruthless and responsible for the misfortune of Native Americans.
  • Carry On Columbus
    Carry On Columbus
    Carry On Columbus is the 31st and last film in the Carry On series, following 1978's Carry On Emmannuelle. The only main series regulars present are Jim Dale , Bernard Cribbins , Leslie Phillips , Jon Pertwee and June Whitfield...

     is a 1992 comedy.
  • Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
    Christopher Columbus: The Discovery
    Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, a 1992 film directed by James Bond alumnus John Glen, was the last project developed by the father and son production team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind. It follows the events leading up to and including the voyage of Columbus to the New World in 1492...

    , is a 1992 biographical film film by Alexander Salkind
    Alexander Salkind
    Alexander Salkind was the second of three generations of successful international film producers.-Life and career:...

    .
  • The 42nd episode of The Sopranos
    The Sopranos
    The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads...

    , titled "Christopher" (2002), addresses the controversies surrounding Columbus' legacy from the perspectives of numerous identity group members.


In sculpture
  • Isabella and Columbus by Larkin Mead, 1874, California State Capitol, Sacramento, California
    Sacramento, California
    Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

  • Christopher Columbus, by Moses Jacob Ezekiel
    Moses Jacob Ezekiel
    Moses Jacob Ezekiel was an American sculptor who lived and worked in Rome for the majority of his career. In the American Civil War, he was a highly-decorated soldier in the Confederate States Army.-Biography:...

    , Arrigo Park, Chicago. Illinois, 1891
  • Drake Fountain
    Drake Fountain
    The Drake Fountain, also known as the Columbus Monument is located on a triangular site bounded by 92nd Street, South Chicago Avenue and Exchange Avenue in the Chicago neighborhood known as South Chicago.-History:John B...

    , also known as the Columbus Monument by Richard Henry Park, Chicago, Illinois, 1892
  • Christopher Columbus by Ferdinand von Miller the Younger
    Ferdinand Freiherr von Miller
    Ferdinand Miller, from 1875 von Miller and from 1912 Freiherr von Miller was a ore caster, sculptor and direktor of the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich...

    , St. Louis, Missouri, 1884, This work is different from most in that it shows a bearded Columbus. It is believed to be the first bronze statue of Columbus in the United States.
  • Colossal Columbus statue by Mary Lawrence
    Mary Lawrence
    Mary Lawrence [Tonetti] was an American sculptor. Lawrence was born in New York City into a prominent New York family whose ancestors included John Lawrence, mayor of New York City from 1673–1675 and 1691–1692, and the War of 1812 patriot, Captain James Lawrence who died after uttering the words,...

    , 1893, at the World's Columbian Exposition
    World's Columbian Exposition
    The World's Columbian Exposition was a World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the New World in 1492. Chicago bested New York City; Washington, D.C.; and St...

    , Chicago, Illinois,
  • Columbus by Paul Wayland Bartlett
    Paul Wayland Bartlett
    Paul Wayland Bartlett was an American sculptor working in the Beaux-Arts tradition of heroic realism. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Truman Howe Bartlett, an art critic and sculptor....

     ca. 1895 Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
    The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

    , Washington D.C.
  • Christopher Columbus Memorial by Pietro Piai 1904, Pueblo, Colorado
    Pueblo, Colorado
    Pueblo is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Pueblo County, Colorado, United States. The population was 106,595 in 2010 census, making it the 246th most populous city in the United States....

    . "Colorado was the first state to make Columbus Day a legal holiday in 1905 and this is reportedly the first monument to Columbus erected in the United States."
  • Christopher Columbus, by Augusto Rivalta
    Augusto Rivalta
    Augusto Rivalta One of the “outstanding Italian sculptors of the late 19th century,’’ Rivalta was born in Alexandria, Egypt to Italian parents. He studied with Aristodemo Costoli and Giovanni Duprè in Florence and in Genoa before settling in Florence...

    , Detroit, Michigan, 1910,
  • Columbus Fountain
    Columbus Fountain
    Columbus Fountain is a public artwork by American sculptor Lorado Taft, located at Union Station in Washington, D.C., United States. This sculpture was surveyed in 1994 as part of the Smithsonian's Save Outdoor Sculpture! program...

    , by Lorado Taft
    Lorado Taft
    Lorado Zadoc Taft was an American sculptor, writer and educator. Taft was born in Elmwood, Illinois in 1860 and died in his home studio in Chicago in 1936.-Early years and education:...

    , 1912, Washington D.C.
  • Christopher Columbus, by Virgil Rainer, Chicago, Illinois, 1924
  • Christopher Columbus by Charles Brioschi, assisted by Leo Lentelli
    Leo Lentelli
    Leo Lentelli was an Italian sculptor who immigrated to the United States. During his 52 years in the United States he created works throughout the country, notably in New York and San Francisco. He also taught sculpture....

    , St. Paul, Minnesota, 1931
  • Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus (Grant Park)
    Christopher Columbus is a bronze statue in Grant Park, in Chicago. It was created by Milanese born sculptor, Carlo Brioschi, and installed in 1933. It is set on an exedra and pedestal designed with the help of architect Clarence H. Johnson....

     by Charles Brioschi, Grant Park (Chicago)
    Grant Park (Chicago)
    Grant Park, with between the downtown Chicago Loop and Lake Michigan, offers many different attractions in its large open space. The park is generally flat. It is also crossed by large boulevards and even a bed of sunken railroad tracks...

    , 1933
  • Christopher Columbus, by Frank Vittor
    Frank Vittor
    Frank Vittor was an American sculptor, known for his "preference for the heroic and colossal" - Early life :...

    , Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 1958
  • Christopher Columbus Monument by David W. Oswald, Columbus, Wisconsin
    Columbus, Wisconsin
    Columbus is a city in Columbia and Dodge Counties in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 4,991 at the 2010 census. Columbus is located about northeast of Madison on the Crawfish River. It is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area...

    , 1988


In space
  • Asteroid
    Asteroid
    Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

     327 Columbia
    327 Columbia
    327 Columbia is a typical Main belt asteroid.It was discovered by Auguste Charlois on March 22, 1892 in Nice....

     is named in his honour.

External links