Christopher Columbus Journal and Selected Writings
Columbus discovered America in 1492 and how it impacted the history of America Report
When Christopher Columbus discovered America towards the end of the 15th century, the historical significance of this discovery could not be established immediately. However, historians postulate that the 1492 discovery left behind significant trails of historical impacts in America. As a matter of fact, the history of America was greatly shaped after the exploration by Columbus. This essay offers a brief account of how the American history has been modeled by the discovery.
To begin with, it is profound to note the contemporary civilization being experienced in America was mainly triggered by the Columbus’ discovery of 1492. While some historians may argue that the American civilization was bound to take place even in the absence of Columbus’ discovery, it is definite that the discovery of America gave a major impetus to the rate of growth in civilization that the continent has enjoyed up to date.
The history of American civilization since the classical era was a product of the Columbus’ discovery. Some of the major areas of civilization included politics, social life and economic empowerment. It should be understood that America (especially North America) was opened up to the rest of the world. Therefore, it created an open platform through which other explorers could visit America and spread their influence.
The geographical knowledge of America was also expanded as a result of the Columbus’ discovery. Initially, American land was a secluded continent that the rest of the world did not understand. The fact that the disciplines of history and geography are closely interrelated; the geography of America has been an integral part of its historical past.
For instance, the colonization of North America was made possible by its geographical knowledge. Moreover, the presence of trains, valleys, mountains and landmark water bodies in the American continent are significant when exploring the history of this continent. Historians are also quite categorical that solutions related to challenges of geography in America were obtained as a result of the discovery of the continent.
When America was known to the rest of the world, it facilitated the growth and development of commerce. Traders from distant lands travelled to America in search for markets for their products. On the same note, the colonial powers scrambled for raw materials and markets for their industrial products.
Some of the products included phonograph, telephone, electric generation, electric lighting, telegraph, metallurgy, steel mills, printing press, road building, canals, sewing machine, cotton gin, textile mills, locomotive, steam boat, and steam engines. Such activities culminated into massive entrepreneurial spirit that is still being used in America today. The emergence of the early American urban centers was also witnessed during the same era.
In spite of the positive impacts of the 1492 discovery by Christopher Columbus, it is also worth to appreciate that some native tribes suffered immensely on the hands of the foreigners. A case in point was the Indians.
Historians believe that their small population in North America was occasioned by oppression and myriads of infections from foreigners after America was discovered. Europeans brought major infections in America when they came to colonize the region. Some of the maladies included whooping cough, pneumonia, small pox, measles, malaria, and yellow fever.
The Europeans were already immune to most of these diseases. However, the infections turned out to be major pandemics to Indians. The same Indians were sold as slaves. In any case, slave trade started when Columbus forcefully took some slaves to Spain. The history of slave trade is indeed a broad subject of the American past. The practice of buying and selling slaves was widespread during the pre-independence era of America and as such, it cannot be erased from the face of this continent.
The spread of the European culture and goods took place after the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. There is a significant cultural mix between that of the Europeans and Americans. This was occasioned by the exploration and subsequent colonization of America. Some of the foreign crops that were introduced in America by foreigners include rubber, sugar and tobacco.
The current system of agriculture that is practiced in America is believed to have been largely borrowed from the visiting foreigners. America was not the only beneficiary in this process. Some of the dominant North American crops such as tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, beans, cocoa, cayenne, and corn were exported to other continents such as Europe and Asia.
A section of historians still contend that death, exploitation and conquest were the major attributes of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus contrary to the popular belief that there was great accomplishment on the part of America. Nonetheless, it is profound to note that the American history borrows a lot from the history of Christopher Columbus. The cultural identity of the Native Americans before the 1492 discovery changed almost completely due to the influence brought about by the foreigners.
In some instances, the Americans were compelled to conform to the European standards especially when the process of colonization was in full force. It is believed that thousands of Americans suffered as a result of colonization. It is against this backdrop that the American and European powers became foes to each other even after the dark ages. This was also manifested during the First and Second World Wars as well as during the Cold War era.
Fiske, John. The Discovery of America, Volume 1. New York: The Echo Library, 2009.
Hume, Robert. Christopher Columbus and the European discovery of America. Herefordshire: Fowler Wright Books, 1992.
- John Fiske, The Discovery of America, Volume 1. (New York: The Echo Library, 2009), 9.
- Ibid, 13
- Ibid, 18
- Robert Hume, Christopher Columbus and the European discovery of America. (Herefordshire: Fowler Wright Books, 1992), 49
- Ibid, 87
- Ibid, 106
- John Fiske, The Discovery of America, Volume 1. (New York: The Echo Library, 2009), 54.
Analysis of Christopher Columbus Voyage Report (Assessment)
Christopher Columbus is historically revered because of positive contribution brought about by his voyages such as founding of New Lands, introduction of new agricultural methods and fostering interaction among others. However, many historians have viewed Christopher’s Columbus legacy on a different perspective.
They claim that his voyages were flawed as illustrated by preparing New Lands for Spanish colonization, slavery, spread of diseases and plundering of wealth in discovered lands.
In analyzing Christopher’s Columbus, and comprehending his ambition and ideas of his voyages in the Americas, this paper analyzes various aspects of his voyages and how it impacted on the society.
Christopher Columbus lived during a period when Europeans encountered various challenges. According to Butterway (24) these challenges were mainly brought about by religious oppression, famine, and diseases. During his years of exploration, there was an ongoing discussion of Spanish looking for a direct trade route to the West Indies.
According to Butterway (38), the fallacy anchored on the aim of Christopher’s voyages was that he was not motivated by the possibility of gaining more wealth for himself and his Spanish government, but to construct the New world for Spanish colonization Christianity that would necessitate future colonization (Gregory, 75).
Christopher had a strong catholic faith and a firm believer of the Bible; therefore, it was a role for him to expand his believes of Christianity in the Americas.
Christopher sailed across the oceans for almost 1492 days (McNeese, 13). Thus, through his voyages, he opened up New Lands such as the Caribbean islands and countries such as the Tobago and Trinidad for Europeans.
Many cities, towns and streets have also been named after Christopher Columbus. In some of his many voyages, Christopher can be described as a role model of perseverance and courage, a prudent navigator, “the icon of America evolution”.
This is because; his discovery of new territories provided an opportunity for the growth of trade, science and contemporary edifices of administration.
Intends in the Caribbean islands
Christopher Columbus description by Native Americans is that he was a fascinating and friendly person the world has ever produced. This fact is asserted by himself in one of his diaries when he affirmed that, no other man had ever encountered people with a good heart like the natives than himself (Butterway, 79).
Thus, through this interpretation, we can understand that Christopher’s conveyed a message that, his intents was refined to exploit the New Lands he voyaged.
According to Butterway, However, in he challenges himself when he refers to Taino Indians, a generation of Indians descendants of the Caribbean as sub-humans (112). He could not believe that they were fellow human being.
New Ways of Agricultural Practices
Many people believe that Christopher was one of the ultimate benefactors of all time. McNeese asserts this when he introduced agricultural activities to the lands he visited (76). Thus, this provided contact opportunity for both old and new world.
Consequently, he continued to introduce new and useful plants such as the oranges, tomatoes, which later formed as an important ingredient in Italian cuisine, and wheat in America to New Lands (McNeese, 97). Besides these, he surged different kinds of foods from plants and animal sources.
However, critics of Christopher claim that he was a desperado. They criticize that, Christopher ruined the existing beauty of New Lands, with his enthusiasm of greed and fame.
Further, they argue that, he and his men raped the lands and women spreading diseases such as syphilis acquired in Europe, thus this caused a lot of death and destabilizing the civilization which had stabilized for hundreds of years (Butterway, 97).
Environmentalist, on the other hand, critics that, Christopher by introducing the art of animal farming, it contributed to the destruction of the countryside and its flora. They also contend that he introduced diseases which the Natives lacked immunity.
More than ninety percent of the natives died by the new generation of diseases introduced such as the; plague, tuberculosis and smallpox. Consequently, his voyages in the Northern Hemisphere were regarded as an opportunity of conquering but an opportunity of bringing new ideas and discoveries.
Interestingly, Christopher and his did not consider the ill of stealing or taking by force from the Indians. They felt that, it was their right to steal or take by force when the Indians resisted what they wanted.
Therefore, the majority of Indians believed that this was one of the different cultures introduced by Christopher and his men (Gregory, 128). The culture of stealing developed within the Indian society because they felt that it was appropriate to steal.
They began stealing from the Spanish. However, Columbus realized that it was indispensable to instill discipline by punishing the Indians when they found with stolen items.
Strategies for Acquiring Wealth and Consequences
Gregory points out that Columbus other purpose was to increase wealth by trading in spices and gold (97). Thrilled with immense deposits of gold, in the Caribbean’s he established a three month quota system.
These meant that, every Indian in the Caribbean island regardless of being a man woman or child over the age of 14, were supposed to deliver the set quota every month (Butterway, 79). Were the quota were not realized, Christopher would order severe punishment of chopping off their arms with an axe.
This punishment aimed at setting an example for other Indians who did not honor the three quota system. Christopher warranted his actions by sending heathens to Spain while chained rather than Christians. This indicates that, he was cruel and power thirsty in the islands of the Caribbean.
Colonization and Slavery
Christopher discovery of the Caribbean island is linked to the rise of Spanish colonization and the enslaving of the natives. The inspiration of Christopher and his men was slavery, by finding Caribbean islands suitable; he invited his government the suitability of regions in serving the Spanish interests in terms of economic resources.
This was in terms of free and cheap labor through slavery and raw materials (McNeese, 123). Presence of Spanish administration ensured that his interests remained protected. Slavery was essential for him because he needed money to pay for the sponsors who funded his voyages.
He would order large slave assault by his men. This was an option taken to fill his ship when he realized the amount of gold and spices collected was relatively low. For instance, the Arawak community was affected in the Caribbean; he captured large numbers of men, women and children and shipped them to Spain.
However, the saddest part of the fact is that, most of them died along the voyage before finally arriving in Spain. This clearly indicates that he was an autocrat and was never satisfied with the new world he had discovered and all the beauty it provided. Hence, this subsequently led to the establishment of the great Trans-Atlantic slave route.
The Christopher voyages accompanying his legacy had a significant impact on the society, both positively and negatively. His voyages transformed the world from old to the New world. This can be demonstrated by design brought about by the interaction of people from across Americas and other places he visited.
Besides, his steadfastness as a navigator and mariner, the sheer force of his spirituality, personal motivation, courage, endurance, courage and his prowess as a voyager are still felt in the contemporary world.
Also, his arrival in the America numerous positive and harmful experienced have continued to define the contemporary world.
For example, positive contribution introduced includes; tomato into Italian cuisine and wheat in the United States mainland. Without his numerous voyages, the world in which we feel proud of now would not have existed (Gregory, 83).
Further, his ardent faith in Christianity contributed to spreading of Christianity to the Indians. This led to mass conversions of Indians to Christianity. This can be illustrated in the descendants of Arawaks and Tianos Indians (McNeese, 126).
Butterway, Elizabeth Georgia, A Critical Analysis of the Works on Christopher Columbus, London: History Press, 1933
Gregory, M Gordon. Retrieving the American Past, New Jersey: Pearson publishers, 2010
McNeese, Tim. Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of the Americas, New York: InfoBase publishing, 2005
Christopher Columbus- Not an American Hero Essay
“In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. This is a quote from a poem that is taught to grade school children to help them remember Christopher Columbus and his maiden voyage to discover America.
Every October, Americans celebrate Columbus Day to honor this brave hero. Was he really a hero? Did he even discover America? He landed in Central America in 1492, but the Chinese had sailed to the Caribbean in 1421. What about all the crimes he is said to have committed? He is majorly associated with slave trade. In my opinion, the holiday should also honor all those who arrived in America first and rarely spoken of.
Discovery of America
John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto), Sir Henry St. Clair or Antonio Zeno are all names that are much less popular with the general public, unlike Christopher Columbus. This is generally because the discovery of America is greatly attributed to Columbus who in 1942 is said to have visited the Central America (Lathe 1). When Columbus set out in his first voyage, it was for the sole purpose of reaching Asia by sailing to the west and not to discover any new habitation (Minster 1).
Lathe in his article explores some details that put to doubt the honor crowned to Columbus as the discoverer of America (Lathe 1). For instance in 1398, it is said that Sir Henry St. Clair had arrived at the coast of America. Antonio Zeno his “chief navigator” is said to have given the details of their voyage (Lathe 1). Even earlier in about 995 AD, it is said that Leif Eiriksson had even settled in “Vinland” which is found in North America (Lathe 1).
There is even archaeological evidence put forward by Patricia Sutherland that indicates artifacts of European descent (Lathe 3). Thus a strong opposition can be launched against the argument that Columbus discovered America. It will be an honorable move to give credit to those who were also there before Columbus came, or not to downplay anyone’s discovery, make the Columbus Day one to honor all who took part in the discovery.
The Crimes of Columbus
If per chance Columbus had no major negative aspects linked to him, then may be there would not have been a lot of fuss about the holiday named after him. But in contrast, there are major atrocities he is said to have committed. It is on this basis that a strong opposition is necessary on having a holiday named after one who was involved in “slavery, warfare and inhumane acts” (DeWitt 1).
When he settled in a place, he completely disregarded the natives and went to the extent of giving them new names with the purpose to “glorify Spain…while creating fame for himself” (DeWitt 1). He had an inclination of making profits in order to win the favor of Queen Isabella of Spain who had supported his expeditions (DeWitt 1). He resorted to slave trade when the gold and other forms of trade failed him (Minster 1).
The Indians are known to have suffered most of his wrath: he “terrorized, tortured and killed them” (DeWitt 1). The Indians were exported in masses and it is said that only two thirds arrived alive, the rest died and their bodies were left floating on the water (DeWitt 1). Rape is considered to have been a minimal crime in comparison to worse crimes committed against the Indians (DeWitt 1).
Columbus should be viewed as a criminal who lowered the standard of human dignity. There should not be a holiday for Columbus taking into consideration the kind of hostile activities that he committed. Various critics have voiced their concern against this holiday for example: “Columbus makes Hitler look like a juvenile delinquent” says one Russell; the National Council of Churches calls for a time of “reflection and repentance” during the Columbus anniversary, and “not a time for celebration” (D’Souza 1).
There are those with a differing opinion concerning Christopher Columbus. One such is Carroll, who states that all heroes are flawed and that Columbus should be given the due credit for discovering America (Carroll 1). Christianity in America can also be much attributed to him in many ways than one. The Queen Isabella of Spain agreed to sponsor him mainly because she had faith in him and the course he was pursuing (Carroll 1). For this reason, Carroll consented to the fact that Columbus was flawed, but should still be honored (Carroll 1).
Columbus was not only flawed, he was majorly flawed, how could one commit all those crimes with no mercy whatsoever? That is not the type of heroism children should be taught. Most of all, he did not achieve the purpose for which he had set out for. He was to discover a route to the west connecting Asia and he did not accomplish this. America was a “mistake” per se since it wasn’t his goal. Minster rightfully summarizes him as “am man and not a legend” (Minster 1).
That he was a great voyager is in no doubt, but that he committed all those atrocities and can still be called a hero is almost insane. Credit should be given to the other discoverers as well and they should be allowed to share the fame during a public holiday not named after Columbus, but one honoring all of them.
Carroll, Warren. Honoring Christopher Columbus. Home Library, 1999. Web.
D’Souza, Dinesh. The Crimes of Christopher Columbus. Leader, 1995. Web.
DeWitt, Whitney. Christopher Columbus: Hero or Murderer? Campus pages, n.d. Web.
Lathe, Richard. Who discovered America anyway? Pieta Research, 2003. Web.
Minster, Christopher. Biography of Christopher Columbus. Latin America History, 2011. Web.
Rethinking Columbus, Rediscovering America: In Search for the Promised Land Essay
Analyzing history must be one of the hardest tasks ever – with the modern discoveries, especially the ability to read even the manuscripts that have half disintegrated into dust, and the rethinking of the historical events, what used to be the obvious truth can become another popular myth in a couple of hours.
Because of the recently discovered details about Columbus and his great adventure, the whole pattern of teaching children about the famous traveler falls apart.
However, thinking through the lesson, one can find the right way to tell the elementary school kids about the numerous controversies of Columbus and his adventure.
Speaking of the most appropriate way to introduce the new facts about Columbus to the elementary school students, a teacher can possibly start with asking the kids what they know about Columbus and his adventure.
After they tell the major details, the teacher can supply a color commentary or to fill in the gaps in the students’ answers about the traditional story (e.g., add the information about the dates, the key names, etc.), creating the foil for the on-coming unmasking routine.
After all the pieces fall in their places and the traditional story of Columbus’ adventure is told, the teacher can create the atmosphere of a mystery, telling the class that there is more to Columbus’ story than they think, and ask them what they think Columbus’ nationality was.
After the expected “Spaniard,” the teacher will say that Columbus must have been a Jew, according to the newest findings. After the predictable question about why it has been discovered only recently, the teacher can tell about the mass prosecutions which Jews suffered in the Catholic Spain of XV century.
Further on, the teacher will explain how the goals that Columbus pursued, trying to make the search for India possible.
Thus, the romantic aspect of looking for the Promised Land can be brought up, which will help soften the rough edges of the real story about Columbus’ adventure.
Emphasizing that Columbus was a kind of an outcast in his own state and did not belong where he lived can be made less outrageous.
As for the controversial issue of enslaving the native tribe, the teacher can ask the students who they think was the first person whom Columbus met when he started exploring the continent. Thus, the issues concerning Columbus’ plans and not quite diplomatic actions can be explained.
In addition, the correspondence between the king of Spain and Columbus will be mentioned and can be explained in details.
Finally, after the shocking new knowledge about Columbus, his real motives and the details about his discovery of the new continent without actually knowing that he opened a new page in the world history can be offered to the students in the least shocking way.
Thus, there is a way to tell children even about the most ambiguous historical events and help them understand that the given ambiguity is an integral part of dealing with the world history.
Thus, such ambiguous information will become not a grim new knowledge, but merely a fact that needs to be remembered and accepted. Hence, the children will be able not only to remember the new information, but also learn to analyze the past events objectively.
Technology and Colonization: Columbus Discovers the ‘New World’ Essay
Christopher Columbus was a colonizer, explorer, and navigator. He was born in the republic of Italy (Gies & Gies, 1995).He was one of the greatest explorers of the 15th century from Europe. He managed to complete four journeys across the Atlantic Ocean. He is credited for having discovered the American continent.
The mission to the discovery of the new world was enhanced by the ruler of Spain in 1492. He was given three ships, 90 crewmen and all the supplies needed for him to succeed in his mission (Gies & Gies, 1995). Since he had all the requirements needed to succeed in his mission, he managed to sail across the Atlantic Ocean several times.
As much as he did not know where he had landed, he managed to reach the shores of Florida in 1492. He discovered the American continent and decided to develop a small colony in 14 93 (Gies & Gies, 1995). He is therefore known for highlighting the existence of Americas to the Europeans.
During this era of Columbus, several European nations were fully established. Most of these nations had embarked on increasing their spheres of influence through acquisition of new territories (Gies & Gies, 1995). Direct colonization was one of the ways through which the Europeans boosted their influence.
The spirit of colonization was enhanced by the struggle for supremacy and the increased technological advancements that were witnessed in the 15th century (Gies & Gies, 1995).
To begin with, the Europeans had advanced in the ship making skills. They had managed to develop huge ships that could carry many people on board. These ships were also able to cruise on the surface of water for quite a number of months (Gies & Gies, 1995). This is a major technological advancement that enabled the Europeans to reach distant lands.
Furthermore, the increased knowledge in navigation skills offered them a basis to advance their expeditions foreign nations. They had already understood the working principles of the compass. They also drew maps and trained many people in navigation skills (Gies & Gies, 1995). The availability of these resources and the personnel made it possible for the Europeans to increase their exploration and discovery of new lands.
The ships were also mounted with canons and other war artilleries (Gies & Gies, 1995). This increased the safety of sea voyage. International waters became safe since the ships could no longer be stolen by pirates.
The gun and gun powder were major technological advancements during the 15th century. These components made it easier for the Europeans to concur and colonize the inhabitants of the new lands that were discovered (Gies & Gies, 1995). During this time, gun technology had been adopted after several years of advancement. Guns were used by the Europeans to manage large crowds with small numbers of soldiers.
The canons were also advanced (Gies & Gies, 1995). The use of gun powered machines increased efficiency during attacks. The latter were treated as weapons of mass destruction. The sizes of the stone throwing tools were also significantly reduced. The stones were also replaced by the huge iron balls. This increased the mass and strength of the balls and thus this type of tool became a deadly weapon during this era.
The discovery of the explosive bombs that allowed clearance of large areas during the 14th century was also another technological advancement that enhanced colonization (Gies & Gies, 1995).
In conclusion, the agrarian revolution that resulted into large scale farming and mechanization of the farming practices pushed the Europeans to search for more lands for farming. Moreover, they needed additional more raw materials for their new industries.
Gies, F. & Gies, J. (1995). Cathedral, Forge and Waterwheel: Technology and Invention in the Middle Ages. New York, NY: Harper Perennial.
Christopher Columbus: Biography, Discoveries, and Contributions Essay
Nowadays, due to the development of modern technologies, people can travel around the world, visit their friends in other countries, and enjoy cultural exchange without any considerable problems. However, back in the fifteenth century, traveling to distant lands was extraordinarily challenging and dangerous, as it could take years for travelers to reach destinations. Moreover, they could face unexpected difficulties in their ways, such as diseases, pirate raids, or troubles with the locals. Therefore, only courageous individuals could travel because they understood that there was a possibility never to return home. One of these people was Christopher Columbus, a traveler, and navigator from Italy, who lived from 1451 until 1506. Columbus explored the world and contributed to the development of people’s knowledge about our planet. In this essay, the information about Christopher Columbus’ biography, his discoveries, and his contribution to society will be presented. In addition, the meaning of this historical figure will be discussed.
Summary of Christopher Columbus Biography
Christopher Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa in the middle of the 15th century. Columbus started traveling to the sea at a young age, visiting many places, including the British Isles and Africa. When he was about twenty years old, he moved to Portugal, where he settled down and married a woman named Felipa Perestrello. Soon his wife died, and Christopher decided to leave Portugal for Spain with his son, Diego. In Spain, he married another woman, Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, who gave birth to the second son of Christopher, Fernando.
Columbus is a famous person who is known for his life-long passion for traveling and exploring the world. Thus, during his life, he participated in expeditions to Africa, the Canary Islands, the Asian Islands, India, and Europe. In 1492, at the age of 41, Columbus left Spain and led an expedition aimed to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Together with his crew, Christopher visited the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. It was the first time when America was discovered, which made Columbus one of the most famous travelers. After returning to Spain, the King of the country sent him to the Caribbean Islands a few more times to continue its exploration. In 1502, Columbus made his last trip trying to find a way to the Indian Ocean. He returned to Spain in 1504, where he died a couple of years later.
Discoveries and Contribution to Society
Discoveries of Christopher Columbus
As it was mentioned above, Christopher Columbus visited many places in the world. Still, his most famous accomplishment was the discovery of America in 1492, during his First Voyage sailing from Spain. He was sure that he reached India when, in reality, he was in the Caribbean Islands. His Second Voyage resulted in the discovering of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. At the time of the Third Voyage, Columbus reached the lands of Latin America, exploring Venezuela and the Orinoco River. Christopher attempted to find a route to the Indian Ocean during his Fourth Voyage, which was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, in a couple of years after his last tour, the explorer died because of arthritis he was suffering from for quite a long time. However, during the short period of his life, he managed to open the New World, which was previously unknown for residents of Europe.
Contribution to Society
Even though at first sight, it might seem that there are not many benefits of Columbus’ discoveries for the society, in fact, it resulted in bringing many changes for people. For example, the King of Spain, Ferdinand II, and Queen Isabella of Castile sponsored Columbus’ voyages, because they wanted to find wealthy people on the other side of the world. Moreover, they were attempting to foster the spread of Christianity among people from America. Indeed, the native population of the discovered islands was open for economic partnership, selling goods to Europeans. The process of goods exchange between the Spanish and native inhabitants of the islands was described in one of the works written by Columbus (Keegan, 2015). It led to the development of market relationships and the emergence of new items in Europe.
In addition, Christopher contributed to the building of people’s knowledge about the planet where we live. Back in the 15th century, the explorers did not even know where their route would lead them next time. For example, thinking that he was in Asia, Columbus managed to reach America. However, nowadays, everyone has a world map at home and can easily say where the location of Asia or Africa is. Moreover, the discovery of America initiated a celebration of Columbus Day on October 10. Every year the population of America has a day off and enjoy their time with family and friends.
Evaluation of the Meaning of Christopher Columbus
It is impossible to overemphasize the meaning of Columbus’ work. Risking his life, Christopher initiated a number of voyages that made a significant contribution to the development of knowledge on geography. The disease, he was suffering from for many years, did not prevent him from coming to distant lands and continuing his work. Moreover, it is proved that during their trip, Columbus and his crew suffered from lack of food and vitamins, which resulted in poor health conditions of explorers (Tiesler, Coppa, Zabala, & Cucina, 2014). However, today, “historical assessments of him have become more critical.” (Symcox & Sullivan, 2016, p. 2). Some people may even assert that he did not really discover America because, at the time when he reached it, there already were a lot of people inhabited that land. Thus, Guzauskyte claims that the discovered territories “might already have names, even though they were unknown to Europeans at that time” (2014, p. 4).
Nevertheless, he is the first person who managed to connect the European World with the “New World” of America. His discovery enabled people from different parts of the world to communicate with each other, have trade relationships, import and export goods that are scarce in local places, and travel the world. Through his work, human beings now can easily reach Europe, Middle East, or America.
Therefore, it can be concluded that Christopher Columbus is an important figure in history. He discovered America, contributed to the development of people’s knowledge about geography, and connected Europe with the “New World.” Being a very active and brave person, Christopher continued his work even when he was ill and experienced severe pain in his body. Unfortunately, his disease did not allow him to explore the world further and continue establishing economic relationships between people of different backgrounds and beliefs. If he lived longer, he would definitely bring more benefits to the world community exploring new places of our planet.
Guzauskyte, E. (2014). Christopher Columbus’ naming in the diarios of the Four Voyages (1492-1504): A discourse of negotiation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Keegan, W. (2015). Mobility and disdain: Columbus and cannibals in the land of cotton. Ethnohistory, 62(1). doi: https://read.dukeupress.edu/ethnohistory/article-abstract/62/1/1/9208/Mobility-and-Disdain-Columbus-and-Cannibals-in-the?redirectedFrom=fulltext
Symcox, G., & Sullivan, B. (2016). Christopher Columbus’ and the enterprise of the Indies: A brief history with documents (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.
Tiesler, V., Coppa, A., Zabala, P. & Cucina, A. (2014). Scurvy-related morbidity and death among Christopher Columbus’ Crew at la Isabela, the First European Town in the New World (1494-1498): An assessment of the skeletal and historical information. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 26(2). doi:
Christopher Columbus Biography Essay
Inhabitants of ancient and medieval Europe had no idea that there was a landmass between Europe and the Atlantic Ocean. Even progressive minds like those of Christopher Columbus did not have any inkling that if explorers travels from Europe to Asia using a westward route, they would eventually stumble upon the New World. Thus, the New World was discovered in the most serendipitous manner.
In the latter part of the 15th century Christopher Columbus was compelled to use a westward route that would connect Europe and Asia. In the process of exploration, Columbus discovered Native Americans. He concluded that they were barbarians, in the same way that sophisticated Romans and Greeks judged the European tribes in their own process of exploration and conquest.
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in the year 1451. The soon-to-be great sailor was the son of a weaver and a merchant. Columbus’ personal background as well as the place where he grew up gave him the opportunity to travel in different places on merchant ships. His early experience gave him the opportunity to study the ways of sailors as they navigate their ships through treacherous seas.
At the same time, Columbus had the chance to learn the necessary skills that he would need later on to cross the Atlantic Ocean (McGovern 25). Aside from his love of the sailor’s life and his penchant for adventure, another powerful force that compelled him to travel was the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Columbus’ entrepreneurial family initiated him into the world of seafaring, however it was the expansion of the Turkish Empire that fired up his imagination with regards to testing the claim that the earth is round because there is another way to travel from Europe to Asia.
As the Turkish Empire consolidated its strength, European leaders were fearful that they would have no more access to Asia. Business would suffer and the pilgrimage of Christians to the Holy Land would be in peril. There has to be an alternative way towards the other side of the world.
The Perspective of Columbus
There are two primary sources of information that could be utilized to understand Christopher Columbus’ worldview. First, there were eyewitness accounts of Columbus’ leadership and exploits preserved through the writings of his chroniclers. The second source is the journals that Columbus left behind. The great explorer wanted to preserve in writing his thoughts, feelings, and testimony with regards to his encounter with the local inhabitants of the new world.
It is important to figure out Columbus’ perspective because the way he perceived the New World and its native inhabitants shaped the way Europeans view the same. The demeanor of future explorers and conquerors towards native inhabitants were also significantly affected by how Columbus described his contact with the native inhabitants of the American continent.
As a consequence of Columbus’ actions, as well as the European conquistadors who came after him, there were various interpretations as to the native inhabitant’s way of life. There were historians who provided a more accurate description of the norms, traditions, culture of the native inhabitants. However, there were also historians who interpreted the natives’ way of life through the words through the narrow context of their own culture, shaped by the words of early explorers like Columbus.
There were some occasions when Columbus was impressed by the behavior of the natives. On many instances Columbus praised the behavior of the native inhabitants especially with regards to their hospitality and guilelessness (Ochoa & Smith 22). In his journals, Columbus described a people that were gentle, kind, and generous (Sale 25).
The great explorer wrote, “They are an inoffensive, unwarlike people, naked, except that the women wear a very slight covering at the loins; their manners are very decent, and their complexion not very dark, but lighter than that of the inhabitants of the Canary Islands” (Columbus 114). Therefore, Columbus believed that there is a child-like innocence among the natives.
Columbus also pointed out the fact that there are other intriguing qualities that were manifested in his interactions with the natives. Columbus recorded in his journal that that the natives were ready to barter all that they have for a very low price. In one example, Columbus highlighted the fact that a large basket of cotton was exchanged for a mere leather thong (Columbus 114).
Columbus also testified that the natives were inoffensive and that they are not warlike (Columbus 114). In his journal he wrote, “Of anything they have, if you ask the for it, they never say no; rather they invite the person to share it, and show as much love as if they were giving their hearts” (Ochoa & Smith, p.22).
Columbus was compelled to make a bold claim and he said that he believed he could convert the natives not through the use of arms but through love (Ochoa & Smith, p.22). It could be argued that Columbus wanted the natives to experience the wonderful blessings of being under the Christian faith. However, his deep-rooted Eurocentric view made his look at the natives with a condescending attitude.
In other words, Columbus believed that Europeans were superior to the native inhabitants of the New World. Columbus’ Eurocentric view was similar to the prideful disdain of the Roman Empire for people groups who are located outside the realm of Rome. The Romans call these tribes as barbarians or unsophisticated in their manners and knowledge about the known world.
No matter how hard Columbus tried to paint the native inhabitants in a positive light, he cannot help but express his true feelings about them, because he saw them as an uncivilized people. Columbus’ low estimation of the natives led to genocide because Europeans conquerors were justified in the destruction of people groups and culture based on their belief that their hopes and aspirations were greater than those of the people in the New World.
If one will study the history of the European discovery of the New World, hindsight compels historians to find a much better explanation compared to the Eurocentric view of the Europeans. Columbus cannot think highly of the native inhabitants because he was not there simply to convert them to another form of religion.
His secondary purpose was to enrich the kingdom of Spain through the conquest of new lands and the discovery of gold reserves. The desire for wealth and fame significantly affected the way Europeans view the native population.
A Better View
The condescending attitude of Christopher Columbus led to the exploitation of the native population and genocide. There is a need to evaluate the way students and historians interpret the events that surround the discovery of present day America. One way to accomplish it is through the study of primary documents. One effect is the deeper appreciation of the native inhabitant’s culture and traditions.
Columbus’ personal biases affected the way he wrote his journal. As a result his writings could not hide the way he looked down on these inhabitants as a lesser people group compared to the Europeans. However, Columbus was blind to the rich culture of the native inhabitants.
He was blind to the beauty and riches of the native inhabitants’ cultural heritage. As a result Columbus interpreted their language as uncivilized when it was as rich and diversified as the different languages of Europe. As a result, Columbus experienced minimal success when it comes to the Christianization of the New World.
Columbus was highly influenced by the Eurocentric view that Europeans are more knowledgeable; more sophisticated; and have the desire to transform barbaric tribes and turn them into a civilized world. The condescending attitude of Christopher Columbus led to the destruction of people groups as well as the exploitation of the native inhabitants.
There is a need to reconsider the view adopted by Columbus, especially after the aftermath of the European invasion of the New World. One way to change the perspective of those who adopted a similar view is to study primary documents. The use of primary documents enables the student of history to see the events through the perspective of eyewitness’s accounts.
The eyewitness’s accounts show the native’s way of life before European historians interpreted the native inhabitants behavior based on their own narrow cultural context. A deeper understanding of the rich cultural heritage of the natives could have prevented the exploitation and bloodbath that followed.
Columbus, Christopher. Personal Narratives of the First Voyage of Columbus to America. MA: Harvard University Press, 2006. Print.
McGovern, James. The World of Columbus. GA: Mercer University Press, 1992.
Ochoa, George and Carter Smith. Atlas of Hispanic-American History. New York: Infobase, Inc., 2009. Print.
Sale, Kirkpatrick. Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise. New York: I.B. Tauris and Co., 2006. Print.
History of Christopher Columbus’ Voyage Essay
Christopher Columbus is remembered as a person who opened America. People in the USA even celebrate the Columbus Day, the day when Columbus shipped on the coasts of America. However, what were the reasons for the voyage? There were a lot of them. Did Christopher Columbus want to reach the coats of America? No, he had absolutely different purposes. Was he interested in this country? Absolutely not as Christopher Columbus was interested in different purposes and was motivated by strong reasons for searching for another country.
The main idea of this paper is to consider the motivating reasons for Christopher Columbus’ first voyage in 1492 and dwell upon the real necessity and validity of those reasons. Additionally, the problem of wrong destination and the importance of that destination are going to be dwelt upon in this paper.
Reasons for Voyages
The time when Christopher Columbus lived is considered to be the greatest time of the geographic discoveries. A lot of people after Christopher Columbus made trips to different countries of the world opening them and making them familiar all over the world. Spain is considered to be the country which gave birth to the best discoverers who were interested in searching for new lands.
The main reasons of the voyages aimed at searching for new lands are numerous. Curiosity is one of them, however, ocean voyages were too expensive and such reason as simple voyage might not be considered as the convincing. Christopher Columbus as well as other shipmen who wanted to sail to other lands had to work hard and make the queen and the king to believe that the voyage was going to be useful not only for the discoverer, but it was going to benefit the whole country.
The discoverers’ desire to benefit the science and geography in general were not appropriate reasons, that is why the search for new lands with the purpose to open new trading ways was one of the best variants. Each country was famous for its particular products and searching for the new way to the East with the purpose to make increase the delivery of goods might be the reason for financing the voyage.
Reasons for Columbus First Voyage in 1492
Christopher Columbus was interested in searching for a new way to the East, especially to India, with the purpose to improve the trade between the countries. India is the country of spices and having found a fast and short way to the East, Spain could create the new trading ways with India. The profit of such journey and its successful outcome could not be questioned, that is why the voyage took place.
Additionally, it is important to remember that Columbus created the geographical maps and he wanted to be the first who could show the new way to the East, the shorter one. Thus, it may be concluded that there were two main reasons which motivated Columbus for his first voyages. The belief that the planet has the round shape encouraged Christopher Columbus for searching the shorter ways to the East.
The interest in East may be explained from the geographical point of view and economical. The geographical interest is obvious, while the economical one could be explained by means of the trading interest with India and other Eastern countries. The spices which were delivered from those places were great, but the time spent on the delivery was too big.
Columbus did not have any privileges and he had also to work hard to convince the queen and the king of Spain that the search for the new ways to the East may be beneficial for the whole country. Many years Columbus tried to find the supporters in financial aspects and those who had impact on the country rulers.
Columbus wanted to prove that there was the shorter way to the East and the reason for trading spices with India was one of the main motivating reasons for the queen and the king to allow the expedition. Thus, on August 3, 1492 Columbus left the coasts of Spain on three ships: the Nica, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Even though Columbus did not reach his initial purposes and could not find the way to India, he made a great discovery even without being aware of that fact. During the first voyage in 1492 Columbus opened America which contributed to the geographical knowledge of those times.
Therefore, it may be concluded that the desire to geographical discoveries was the main motivating reason for the voyage in 1492. However, to make sure that the voyage would be allowed by the queen and the king, and to increase the profit from the voyage, Columbus also wanted to find the shorter way to India for trading purposes.
Thus, if India was found, Spain could arrange the trading ways with India and have the great variety of spices. Even though, the initial purposes were not reached, the first voyage encouraged Columbus and other discoverers for further consideration of the surrounding world.
The Four Voyages by Christopher Columbus Essay
“The four voyages” is a book by Christopher Columbus that presents a narrative that describes the author’s four voyages. The voyages were made in the Caribbean and Central America between 1492 and 1504 following the consent granted to him by the monarch. His voyages were made so that he could locate the westward way to Asia. Even though he never reached Asia, he still believed that he did.
The first voyage
This trip of discovery was made by 90 men from Palos, Spain. The ships used by the traveler were quite tiny as compared to the modern day vessels. Columbus led the voyage with three ships, Nina with 24 men on board, Santa Maria had 40 men, and Pinta had 26 men (Columbus, 35).
They set out for their trip on 3rd August, 1492. In October 11, 1492, the travelers had a glimpse of the Caribbean islands. The inhabitants of this island were the Tiano Indians. Columbus’ men captured most of these inhabitants and sold them into slavery (Columbus, 20-34).
Martin Alonzo who captained Nina was not ready to accept that Columbus was in charge of this voyage. He hoped that he would be the first to see the famous Golden Island of Osabeque hence he decided to explore alone. Nevertheless, he discovered Hispaniola the present day Haiti. While still there, he captured four men and two girls who he intended to sell as slaves. Columbus however, persuaded him to release them and he agreed. He rejoined Columbus’ crew at the coast of Haiti on 6th January, 1493 (Cohen, 56).
The ships used for this trip travelled approximately 150 miles each day. On their way back, the Santa Maria was wrecked, the captain of the Pinta left the Island alone with the aim of ensuring that Columbus and his men could not find their way back. Columbus and the rest of the crew returned to Spain courtesy of Nina and arrived on 15th March, 1493.
The second voyage
Christopher and his team set out for the second larger expedition on 25th September, 1493. Here, they sailed with 17 vessels and an estimate of 1200 to 1500 men. Finding gold and establishing a permanent Spanish Colony was the chief purpose for this voyage (Columbus, 96). In his previous voyage in La Navidad, the wreckage of Santa Maria made 39 of his men to be left in a fortress constructed soon afterwards. On arrival, Columbus found that the fortress was no more since it had been reduced to ashes and all his men had died.
He figured that the men had been killed by the brutal Carib Indians who had earlier raided the coastal lands. During this voyage, Columbus was informed by that Black people had arrived in the Island long before his arrival. He familiarized himself better with Hispaniola and thereafter established a base there. He sailed in the region of Hispaniola and some sections of Southern Cuba. In the course of his expedition, he discovered and named the Island of Dominica, this was in the year 1493.
The third voyage
During the third voyage, Columbus’ destination was Trinidad and Venezuela, together with his crew he set off from the port of Sanlucar on 30th May, 1498 with six ships. The ship split into two squadrons after leaving the Canary Island on June of the same year. The first squadron went directly to Hispaniola while the second sailed further south. The latter changed its course to north due to weak winds, soon afterwards, members of one of the fleets saw an island in the west, Columbus named it Trinidad because it had three hills.
Columbus was the first European to see South America. A section of this crew went ashore and learnt the way of life of the natives. One of the things that they discovered was that married women were fond of wearing cotton panties which were locally called bragas. Additionally, Columbus changed his idea on the subject of the shape of the earth after his navigational readings showed a bulge at the equator (Columbus, 132).
The fourth voyage
The fourth and last expedition saw Columbus sailing to Panama, Honduras, Mexico, and Santiago in 1502. By then he was a good navigator hence he arrived at his destination earlier than expected, however he was not happy after arriving at Santa Domingo on 29th June. He appealed to the governor to consent him to put his five ships in the harbor, he also warned of a terrible storm advising him to detain a 30 ship fleet that was ready to sail.
Not only was he denied permission to put his five ships but also mocked because of acting like a fortune-teller. Columbus was angry with the governor that he used his strongest curse “may God curse you” (Columbus, 254). The 30-ship fleet barely made it halfway the journey since strong winds hammered them. The winds drove some of the ships ashore where they were destroyed. Only one of the ships survived. During this voyage, Columbus neither lost any of his ships nor his men (Columbus, 231).
Cohen, John Michael. The four voyages of Christopher Columbus: being his own log-book, letters and dispatches with connecting narrative drawn from the Life of the Admiral by his son Hernando Colon and other contemporary historians. New York: Penguin, 1998. pp. 1-320.
Columbus, Christopher. The Four Voyages: Easyread Edition. New Jersey: Booksurge LIc, 2007. pp. 1-369.
The Effect of Spanish Reconquista in History
Spain has actually always been a melting pot of ethnicity and culture. From the Celts and Visigoths that originated from the north to the Africans and Arabs from the south to the Romans from the East, empires, kingdoms, and tribes all over the world have acknowledged and attempted to take benefit of the advantages of Spain. War, conquest, and reconquest are frequent throughout the whole history of Spain, and the history of Moors in Spain is no exception. It started in the year 711 when the Moors initially crossed over to the Iberian Peninsula, until their expulsion from Granada in 1492 which marks completion of the Reconquista, they influenced the native Iberians in numerous ways including culture and faith.
The Moors were people of Berber, Black African, and Arab descent from North Africa. In 711 they invaded Spain. Led by Tariq Ibn Ziyad, an African general, around 7,000 soldiers, primarily Berbers, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and overthrew the Visigoth’s. The Moorish soldiers managed an easy defeat over the Visigoth’s who had controlled Spain given that the end of the fifth century.
The Visigoth kingdom of Spain was no match for the a great deal of unforeseen soldiers and as a result the kingdom eventually was up to the hands of the Moor’s. The General declared his troops victories at the base of a popular limestone mountain that to this day bears his name “The rock of Gibraltar”. Their objective was to conquer the world and spread Islam to all individuals. By 1200 A.D around 5.6 million of the 7 million occupants of the Iberian Peninsula were Muslims. The majority of the conversions were required by either war or “treaties”. When the attacking Moors captured a city they would decimate the male population consisting of infants and would take the widows and daughters as courtesans.
Once General Ziyad, his soldiers and other Moor’s who continued to arrive got settled in this new land they created the territory of Al-Andalus. As with many lasting invasions the Moors had an incredible influence on all aspects of Spain, which not all of them were negative. Even today, their influence is seen throughout Spain. One area of lasting influence is apparent in Spanish cuisine. Olives, peppers, dates, almonds, lemons and oranges are just a few of the natural foods first cultivated on the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors. They also introduced kebabs and skewers to the native Spaniards. Today Spanish dishes are often seasoned with cumin and saffron among other exotic spices and seasonings which were brought to Spain by the Moors. The Moorish influence could also be seen in architecture, they constructed numerous mosques many of which still stand, the most well known one is the Mosque at Cordoba the capitol of the Spanish-Muslim dynasty. Prior to it being a mosque it was a christian church that was dedicated to St. Vincent. Waterways and irrigation systems were greatly improved by the Moors. Their knowledge of water management expanded Spain’s agricultural production many times beyond what the Romans had achieved. Due to these new water systems, the Spanish were able to grow rice, which had also been introduced to them by the Moors.
In addition to foods, the Moors introduced a social system that was unique in medieval Europe. While in other countries and kingdoms you were born and died in the same social status, in Spain, an individual could easily intermarry or convert to Islam as a way to acquire a higher social status. In fact, social statuses in Moorish Spain were determined by an individual’s occupation alone. Although social status is determined by an individual’s occupation, the trades taken up by people were usually based on their religion. For example, the Moors fulfilled the roles of architects, engineers, and artists, the highest esteemed trades of the time. Next were the Christians, who generally were farmers, fishermen, and manual workers. Finally were the Jews, who were usually traders and pharmacists.
In the end the goal of the Moors was to set out for world domination of the Islamic religion, the forced conversions and “rape and pillage” mentality forced people to resist. Christians and Jews were heavily taxed for the right to practice their own religions. Those who converted to Islam, however, paid lesser taxes and had more privileges.
Around 718, Pelagius, a Visigoth nobleman, established an independent Christian state in opposition to the Moorish dominance in Spain. Due to his opposition of Muslim control, Pelagius and a group of 30-some men were exiled and lived in a cave, refusing to pay taxes and harassing the Moors. Between 718 and 722, Pelagius and his small band of warriors fought and triumphed against the Moors at the Battle of Covodonga. This is considered the beginning of the Spanish Reconquista. The Reconquista was a period of around 774 years where the Christian kings reclaimed the Iberian Peninsula from the Islamic Moors. The Reconquista was not carried out by the Spanish alone, however. King Charlemagne of France reclaimed the western Pyrenees and formed the Marca Hispanica to defend the border between the Frankish Kingdom and the Muslims. Christians from all over Europe traveled to the Iberian Peninsula to participate in the reclaiming of Spain in the name of God.
The Reconquista was not all war and conquest, but also the re-population of Christians on the peninsula. As the Berbers abandoned towns and fortresses, the Christian kings took their people and re-inhabited those areas. In some places, Christian peasants, monks, and nobles were granted lands by their king or lord to cultivate for horticultural purposes as a way to stimulate the economy. They served their ruler as they inhabited new areas. Others would take up residency in areas prone to attack by the Moors. These were mainly on the border between Moorish and Christian territories. They did this so they would be capable of defending the borders, mostly in the Douro Basin, the high Ebro Valley, and central Catalonia.
While under Moorish rule, Christians and Jews were permitted to practice their own beliefs for a higher tax than Muslims had to pay. However, after Christians began reconquering Spain, all non-Christians were subjected to paying higher taxes, and were given nominal rights, but only in heavily Islamic regions such as Granada. This was put into effect to encourage the conversion from Islam to Christianity. In 1496, under Archbishop Hernando de Talavera, all Muslims were forcibly converted to Christianity, even in Granada, which was a highly Muslim city. In 1502, the king and queen declared submission to Catholicism compulsory in the Castilian domains, as did Emperor Charles V in 1526 for the kingdom of Aragon.
Most of the descendents of the Muslims and Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity were later expelled from the Iberian Peninsula when the Inquisition was at its height around 1492. This was carried out more severely in Eastern Spain due to local hostility towards Muslims where they were seen as economic rivals by the citizens. In 1568, a major Moorish revolt occurred, and the Moors were officially expelled in 1609 and 1610.
The Reconquista was facilitated due to the death of of the last Umayya family members who had controlled Al-Andalus. The result of this was the breaking up of the territory into smaller fragmentation’s called taifa’s. This fragmentation marked the end of Muslim military superiority and allowed the Christians from the northern territories to challenge they’re invaders. The military technology available to the Spanish was also a factor, the military organization of Christian Spain evolved a great deal in tactics, weapons and siege strategies. Heavily fortified knights and the cross-bow were important to the success of the Reconquista as were the swords which evolved from being iron made to steel.
The bow’s the Moorish armies used were light and somewhat ineffective when used against a formation of heavily armored knights, whose chain mail reached down to their knees. The riding style had also changed from a bent knee position known as “alajineta” whose emphasize was speed and maneuverability to a straight leg position that emerged in France. The straight leg riding style was favored due to the stability when wearing heavy armor and mail coats on the horses. When arranged in solid columns these Spanish knights would have been the equivalent of a modern day tank. Knights using heavy armor and tight formations were extremely well suited for smashing against Muslim light cavalry and infantry, even if the knights were out numbered they held an advantage.
While the reconquista is on its finishing stages an ambitious sailor by the name of Christopher Columbus is attempting to find a water route to east Asia. At the time the Italian’s had a strong hold on eastern trade. The Italians had bases in the east and held treaties with the Ottoman Empire that gave them access to silks and spices that no one else had access to. In order to pay for his voyage, and to gain the fame and power he desired, Columbus needed to find support from the royal court of a European nation, In 1483 Columbus approached the royal court of Portugal and presented his idea to King John II. King John rejected Columbus, having met with other explorers, sailors and mariners who claimed that the idea he had was unrealistic. Christopher Columbus attempted a second time to have King John back him in 1488, again it was rejected because recently Bartolomeo Diaz, a Portogese explorer had just returned to Portugal following a successful trip to the southern tip of Africa.
With a sea route under its control King John was no longer interested in trailblazing a western ocean route. Rejected Columbus sought out the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The first attempt to convince Ferdinand and Isabella of his intended journey left them with too many questions. They did not however reject his proposal. He then attempted to secure financial backing from England and France but due to his faulty math, where he estimated the trip would be about 2,600 miles to Asia Christopher Columbus was once again rejected. Lucky for Columbus the King and Queen of Spain strongly desired a chance to catch up in the maritime world, and Columbus’s plan if successful offered the royals this chance. They soon agreed to finance and support his expedition. After years of attempting to secure financing for his explorations Christopher Columbus had finally convinced a nation to support his journey across the Atlantic ocean.
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella must have been quite desperate because Columbus’s expedition did not come at a cheap price. In his contract he demanded excessive payments for his services. He asked for one tenth of all the wealth Spain would receive from the lands which he visited, that included gold, spices, textiles, slaves, etc. He asked that he receive this money for all trips made by Spain to the new lands for all time. He wanted to secure a financial gain not only for himself, but for his heirs as well. On top of this he requested that he be named Viceroy, kind of a governor of the lands he discovered in the name of Spain. He also requested to to have the title of “Admiral of the Ocean seas”. It is no wonder why the other less desperate monarchs continuously denied to finance him. After much negotiation King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain agreed to his terms. In April of 1492 Columbus signed the contract with the monarch’s of Spain guaranteeing him all that he desired, setting in motion the first steps toward the “New World”.
Christopher Columbus departed Spain from the Spanish port of Palos on August the 3rd 1492. He departed on 3 vessels with only 90 men. The vessels were quite small by modern standards averaging about 60 feet in length and not more than 30 feet wide. The three ships were La Nina, La Pinta and the La Santa Maria, the Santa Maria being the largest had a crew of 40 men, the Pinta 26 and the Nina 24. On the morning of October 12th land was finally sighted and a landing party arrived on an island in the Bahamas and was named San Salvador. Only thirty three days since the “fleet” had left the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of Africa, a resupplying port for Spain. Over the next few weeks landings were also made on Cuba which was named Juana by Columbus and Hispaniola now shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Before setting sail to return to Spain he left a group of about 40 sailors of the norther coast of Haiti, they built a fortress built from the wreckage of the Santa Maria in an attempt to establish a permanent settlement. Christopher Columbus departed Spain on the 25th of September of 1493 for his second voyage to the Americas, which he still believed to be islands off the eastern coast of Asia. His second voyage was better funded and equipped he had 17 ships and over 1200 men in the attempt to establish a permanent Spanish colony. When he arrived off the northern coast of Haiti, about 2 months after departing he found the fortress burned and all the men killed by the fierce Carib Indians who were known to raid coastal settlements.
On his third trip Columbus left the port of Sanlucar in southern Spain on May 1498 with 6 ships. The fleet then split into two groups after resupplying in the Canary Islands, three vessels to sail straight to Hispaniola with supplies for the colonist who had remained behind and the other three to further explore south of the known islands. In this third trip he discovers the Island of modern day Trinidad and Tobago which he named Trinidad because of 3 distinctive hills that reminded him of the holy trinity. The crew on his third trip was the first European crew to set foot on South America.
Christopher Columbus made his fourth and final trip to the Americas in 1502. He had four ships and his mission was to explore uncharted lands to the west of the Caribbean in an attempt to finally find a passage west to the Orient. Columbus did get to explore areas of central America, but his ships were damaged by a combination of termites and hurricanes, the ship fell apart while exploring, Columbus and his men were stranded in Jamaica for a year before being rescued. Columbus and his crew returned to Spain late 1504. Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas opened the flood gates for exploration into the “New World”.
In the year 1496 an Italian by the name of Giovanni Caboto known to us as John Cabot obtained permission from King Henry of England for a voyage of exploration. In the summer of 1497, he crossed the Atlantic and reached the mainland of North America. On this achievement was based the claim of England to North America. Over the years explorer’s came to America to explore and plunder its land. It wasn’t until 1607 that the founding of Jamestown took place, making it the first English colony to be founded.
In closing, if it had not been for the domino effect that the Moorish invasion of Spain had on the world the discovery of the “New World” might be very different. As technological advances take place there is no doubt in my mind that eventually the Americas would be stumbled upon, but if Spain had not been rushed to find a safe passage to Asia and if England had not felt pressure from Spain to explore the “New World” this continent we know it to be could in fact be very different. At the time there were five major European nations racing for supremacy, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and England it is quite possible that we could be speaking another language other than English had things played out differently in the Reconquista.