Christopher Columbus was an Italian Spain sailor who lived between the year 1451 and 1506. He was a son to a middle-class wool weaver family of Domenico and Susanna Fontanarossa who lived in Genoa Italy. His life as child is not well known and there is no comprehensive information on how he spent his youthful life. However it is said that he got well educated and that he could speak several language fluently. Some of the most important skills he acquired in his early days include the interpretation of classical literature, the work of Marinus, Ptolemy and many others.
Columbus was known as an Italian Spanish navigator who tried to sail across the Atlantic Ocean with an aim of getting a route that will lead him to Asia. Unfortunately this was not possible but instead he landed in America where he earned his fame. The story behind this mission is interesting. Christopher started sailing in the sea when he was 14 years of age and spent most of his younger life exploring the sea. In fact in the 1470s he made numerous trips to trading destinations such as North Europe, Aegean Sea and to some extent Iceland. It was in one of these trips that he was able to meet his own brother Bartolomeo who was a mapmaker living Lisbon who invited him to spend some time with him. During this stay in 1480 Columbus got married to Filipa Moniz Perestrello and together they bore a son who they named Diego.
Columbus and his family lived in until the year 1485 when his wife died. As a result of this death, he relocated to Spain with his son where he spend a lot of time trying to acquire a grant that would allow him to travel and explore what the western trade routes were offering. His belief and theory was that since the earth is spherical in shape, it was possible for a ship to go all the way to the Far East and be able to set up some trade routes leading to Asia if it sailed to the West. Being just a theoretical approach, it was very hard for him to convince the officials and authorities to grant him permissions to do so.
For many years, he wrote many proposals to the Spanish and Portuguese king but to no avail. Unfortunately they all turned him down and saw it as unrealistic adventure. He had to wait until 1492 when the Moors were ejected out of Spain. It was during this time when King Ferdinand reigned in Spain together with Queen Isabella that his requests were finally considered. However it was not an easy getaway and he spent quite a considerable amount of time explaining what the whole endeavor was all about. In return he promised to come with spices, silk and gold from Asia. He also promised to spread Christianity to the East and explore China. Further he made a request to be recommended as the admiral of the seas as well as the governor of the discovered lands.
Sailing to the East was not going to be an easy hurdle. He required funding and sailors to accompany him. On 3rd August 1492, he set out his sail to the land of unknown having been funded significantly by the Spanish Monarchs. Together with him he had a total of 104 men in three ships i.e. the Santa Maria, Nina and the Pinta. Once in the sea they ships made a single stop to make some repairs and get some resupplies for the rest of the journey. This was done at the Canary Islands and it only took few days. They later set out to the large Atlantic Ocean. The problem arose when the voyage took a longer time than expected. Columbus initially estimated the earth to be smaller and this led to the voyage taking extra five weeks before reaching the final destination.
It was on 12th October of 1492 that Rodrigo de triana sighted at 2 a.m. the land across the sea which is the present Bahamas. On reaching the land, Christopher thought that this land was in Asia and gave it a name, San Salvador. Nevertheless he failed to get any riches in the land and decide to sail further in search of China. This was no good either because the sail only landed him in Hispaniola and Cuba. Later on the Pinta ship and all its crew left the voyage on 21st November 1492 and decided to sail on their own. This was followed by the wrecking of the Santa Maria at the Hispaniola coast on Christmas day of that year. This forced Columbus to sail back to Spain. Unfortunately since there was no enough space on the Nina, he had to leave behind 40 men at a fort known as Navidad. He arrived back to Spain on 15th march 1493 having completed his first voyage to the west.
Columbus second Expedition
Having successfully learned of the new land in the East, Christopher set out his sail again on 23rd September 1493 this time with a total of 17 ships and about 1200 men. The aim of this sail was to know the whereabouts of the crew left at Navidad, set up colonies under Spain and continue with the search of riches in the east.
It was on November 3rd that the crew members spotted a new land and discovered three more islands: Jamaica, Guadeloupe and Dominica. Initially Columbus thought that these were the islands of Japan but when he realized there were no riches they progressed to Hispaniola. When they reached Navidad, they found the port has been destroyed and all the crew members had been killed after mistreating the natives in the area. It was after this incident that he set up the colony of Santo Domigo in fort Columbus and later won the battle of 1495 to conquer the whole of Hispaniola. Later in March 1496 he sailed back to Spain and arrived at Cadiz on 31st July.
Columbus third Expedition
This expedition started on 30th May of 1498. This time Columbus took a more southern route than he had taken with the previous two. The aim was to look for China but like in his earlier sails he failed to locate China. Instead he found Margarita, Grenada and the Trinidad and Tobago on end of July that year. He even reached further only to find the main land area of South America. On 31st August he decided to go back to Hispaniola where he found the colony of Santo Domigo was full of mess. He decided to stay there until the year 1500 when representatives of the Spain government were sent there to do investigations arrested him and took him back to Spain. He arrived in on October that year and succeeded in defending himself against the charges of mistreating and treating the people in the colony poorly.
Columbus final Expedition
After acquiring his freedom from the said charges and relieving himself from sailing for 2 years, Columbus started to prepare for another voyage. On 9th May 1502 he set off his fourth sail and arrived at Hispaniola on mid-June on that year. When he reached there, he was prohibited from accessing the colony. Having no way of entering the colony, he decided to continue exploring further to discover more land. So on 4th of July, he set his sail again and this time and this time it led him to Central America. He sailed further and found Panama on January of 1503. There he was able to find gold but his stay was short-lived because the local indigenous people saw him as a threat and forced him out. His fourth sail was not smooth at all; he encountered a lot of problems in the way due to various factors. He even spent a whole year in Jamaica waiting for his ships to be repaired in order to continue sailing.
The end of Christopher Columbus
It was until 7th of November 1504 that he started to sail back to Spain. On his arrival he decided to settle down and together with his son they opted for Seville.It was during the same month that Queen Isabella passed away on 26th November 1504. After her death, Christopher tried to challenge the position of governor of Hispaniola. The king was kind enough and allowed him to petition in 1505 but nothing was done to grant him the governorship. A year later, Christopher was struck by a disease and he died on 20th May 1506.
The legacy left behind by Christopher Columbus
The name of Christopher Columbus is very famous around the world. He is often adored in various areas but he is more common among the Americans. Some of the notable things among the Americans that are based on this great man include celebrations such as the Columbus Day which is celebrated on the second Monday of October every year. Some places are also named after him and bore a mark of his legacy such as the District of Columbia. All these venerations are as a result of the many discoveries that Columbus explored when he was still alive.
Although Columbus is famous for making all these discoveries, he was not the first person to visit America. Many people confuse his sails and think that he was the first person to discover and step on the land of America. This is however not true but the actual contribution that he made to Geography is that he became the first person to make a visit to this areas, settle and continue staying there for a considerable period of time. The main impact he had by doing this is that he brought a new world, area or region to the forefront thought of Geography regarding the time that all this happened.
Even before Columbus came into the picture, there were various indigenous people who explored and settled in the different places in America. However this did not attract a lot of attention as Columbus did. It was through his faith and persistence of exploring new land (to the East initially) that he was able to discover the new land in America. This opened a way and the route to be followed by the millions of individuals who settled there and now call the place home. Today Columbus is honored because of these qualities. Though Christopher is long gone, his faith and perseverance still lives on. Through his act of bravely many explorers were inspired to explore what the rest of Western had to offer. For instance, the Norse explorers were later able to sail further than Christopher to discover and explore the portions of North America.
In this regard, another European explorer by the name Leif Ericson had done a lot of sailing to the North America. He is believed to be the first person to explore and the forest regions of North America. In addition he became the first European visitor to Canada. In fact he discovered the portion of Newfoundland in Canada some 500 years before Christopher Columbus first set eyes on America.
What Christopher Columbus did is that he set out a track that other sailors can use. Following his track, new lands have been discovered, coasts have been explored and regions have been conquered. The conquering of the red inhabitants can be attributed to the discovery of America by Columbus and life of the millions of Americans can be based on the same.
Columbus, Christopher, and Robert H. Fuson. The Log of Christopher Columbus. Camden, Me: International Marine Pub. Co, 2009. Print.
Columbus, Christopher, Samuel E. Morison, and Lima. Freitas. Journals and Other Documents on the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. New York: Heritage Press, 2000. Print.
Columbus, Christopher, Peter Roop, Connie Roop, and Peter E. Hanson. I, Columbus: My Journal, 1492-3. New York: Walker and Co, 2007. Print.
Columbus, Christopher. Christopher Columbus, Letter to the King and Queen of Spain. Champaign, Ill: Project Gutenberg, 2004. Print.
Columbus, Christopher. Select Letters of Christopher Columbus, with Other Original Documents, Relating to His Four Voyages to the New World. London: Printed for the Hakluyt Society, 2003. Print.
Irving, Washington, and John H. McElroy. The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 2001. Print.