Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1492. Columbus is considered to be one of the most famous explorers in history. He knew the Earth was round and he thought because of this, he could travel to the Far East on a ship. He also wanted to establish trade routes to Asia. North and South America were not known to exist at this time. Also noone had heard of the Pacific Ocean. Columbus undertook four voyages in the Atlantic. He is most famous for discovering the coast of North America.
The First Voyage
With three ships, the Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria and 104 men Columbus departed from Palos, Spain in August 1492. These three ships were equipped with tools for repairng the ships as well as supplies. The fleet traveled 150 miles a day.
Life Aboard the ships was difficult as many crew members were overcome by starvation and disease. The food consisted of Bisquits, meat, and newly caught fish. The crew worked in four hour shifts doing various duties such as cleaning the deck and operating the sails. Religion was part of life onboard these ships. Everyday began with prayer and hymns and worshipping services were held at the end of the day.
In October 1492 Columbus first made landfall at what is now known as the Bahamas but he believed he was on an Island somewhere in Asia. When he did not find any of riches he was hoping to find he departed for Cuba. He then arrived at Hispaniola. Columbus had encounters with natives called Indians. The relationship at first with the Indians was rather friendly.
Several Problems faced Columbus on Hispaniola. The captian of the Pinta, Pinzon decided to leave the other two ships and go exploring on his own. This left Columbus with 2 of his ships. On Christmas day his flagship, The Santa Maria got caught on a reef and eventually sank. Now Columbus was reduced to just one ship. Due to the lack of space on his lone remaining ships, Columbus had to leave 40 men at Hispaniola. A fort was built there called Navidad. In January, 1493 Columbus began the journey back to Spain. He arrived back at Palos on March 15th, 1493 and was considered a hero.
The Second Voyage
On September 25, 1493 with17 ships and 1200 men Columbus departed from C diz, Spain for his second Voyage. His plans on this voyage was to set up spanish colonies, look in on his crew he had to leave at Hispaniola, and once again to search for the far east where he believes is home to vast gold and riches. In November, 2003 Columbus discovered with is known today as Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Jamaica however he was certain that he landed in Japan. He could not find any of the gold or riches he expected to.
In November, 1493 Columbus arrived in Hispaniola only to find all of men are dead and the Fort decimated. This happened because the men treated the Indian population harshly and the Indians responded with violence. The first colony that Columbas set up was located in Santo Domingo where Columbus became to govenor. Later on Columbus and his men conquered the Indians in Hispaniola in 1495. Word reached the King and Queen of Spain that Columbus ruled the Indians in a harsh fashion.
Columbus arrived back in Spain in July, 1495 and still had the backing of the King and Queen even with the negative reports.
The Third Voyage
With six ships Columbas embarked again on yet another voyage On May 30, 1498. The fleet was reduced to three ships after a stop in The Canary Islands. This time while searching for China, Columbus discovered what is known today as Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, and Margarita. Afterwards he returned to Hispaniola and saw that the colonie was hungry and rebellious. The Monarchs were very disturbed by this news and immediatly sent a representative to investigate. This lead to Columbus being arrested and bound by chains as he was sent back to Spain.
The Fourth Voyage
With four ships and 150 Men Columbus departed from Cadiz on May 9, 1502. In June, 1502 he arrived in Hispaniola but was not allowed to land because of hostile feelings in the colony. This Voyage had several problems.A lot of other spanish ships were destroyed by a hurricane but Columbus ships survived the storm. In July he tried once again to find a route to the Far East but ended up in Central America instead. In January 1503 Columbus arrived in Panama. He was able find some gold here and set up a trading post but hostile Indians forced the crew to abandon the area. Exploring these regions brought Columbus and his crew all sorts of trouble. The food was bad and Columbus fell very ill. High Winds severely damaged the ships and they could not make the trip to Hispaniola. Columbus sent for help, but help would not arrive until a year later. After finally being rescued a dejected Columbus began the journey back to Spain. After arriving back in Spain, Columbus lived with his son in Seville. Columbus was expected a Summons from the King and Queen but he never did recieve this summons.
Columbus died on May 20, 1506 due to illness.