Christopher Columbus Spark Notes

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Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was an Italian navigator who sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean in
search for the all-water route to Asia, but instead achieved fame for making landfall in
the Caribbean Sea. Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. His father was a weaver, and it is
believed that Columbus entered this trade as a young man. In the mid-1470s he made his
first trading voyage to the island of Khios, in the Aegean Sea. Settling in Lisbon, where
his brother Bartholomew was working as a cartographer, he was married in 1479 to the
daughter of the governor of the island of Porto Santo.

In December, the Santa Maria was wrecked off the coast of Espanola.The Nina, with Columbus
in command, and the Pinta began the homeward voyage in January 1493. After storms drove
the ships first to the Azores and then to Lisbon, Columbus arrived in Palos, Spain, in
March. He was enthusiastically received by the Spanish Monarchs.

Columbus planned immediately for a second expedition, with about 1500 men, which left
Spain in September 1493. They landed on the island of Dominica, Gaudeloupe. His stop at
Puerto Rico is the closest he came to setting foot on land that would later form part of
the United States, the main foundation for the claim that Columbus "discovered America."

When Columbus returned to Isabella on September 29, he found that serious dissension had
developed among the colonists, a number of whom were already on the route to Spain to
press their grievances. One of the major problems confronting Columbus was the hostility
of the natives, whose initial friendliness had been alienated by the brutality of the
Europeans. Columbus defeated the natives in battle in March 1495 and shipped a large
number of them to Spain to sell as slaves. Queen Isabella objected, however, and the
survivors were returned. A royal investigating commission arrived at Isabella in October
1495. Because this group was consistently critical of his policies, Columbus established a
new capital named Santo Domingo, and sailed for Spain leaving Bartholomew in command. He
reported directly to Ferdinand and Isabella, who dismissed the critical charges. The
sovereigns promised to subsidize a new fleet, but since enthusiasm for the unproductive
enterprise had waned, nearly two years elapsed before eight vessels were sent out.

Columbus set sail on his third voyage on May 30,1498. His first landing, made on July 31,
was the three-peaked island of Trinidad, named in honor of the Holy Trinity. He then
sighted what is now Venezuela. After cruising along the coast he sailed into the Gulf of
Paria. At the mouth of the Orinoco River he led a party ashore. In his logbook he wrote
that he had found a "New World," unknown as yet to Europeans. Columbus set sail again,
encountering several additional islands, including Margarita, and then laid a course for
Espanola.3

Although Columbus obtained royal support for a fourth voyage to continue his search for a
westward passage to Asia, only four worm-eaten caravels were put at his disposal and he
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