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Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

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    Essay  about               CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS


                Christopher Columbus whose real name is Cristoforo Colombo (Columbus is an Anglicized version ) was born in Genoa, Italy sometime between the month of August and September of the year1451. His father, Domenico, a weaver, and mother, Suzanna Fontanarossa Colombo, were both  humble people. He was the oldest of five children . and was not able to go to school. He got his “little learning” only from his own efforts, since he was a bit of a genius from the start, and eventually was able to read by himself.  As a young reader, he was fascinated by the works of Marco Polo (1254-1324). Since Genoa was a huge seaport, as he was growing up, he learned to love the sea. He started sailing at the age of nine years old. At age 14, was his first  voyage where he experienced a shipwreck at the coast of Portugal, swam the shores and finally decided to settle there permanently, with his brother, Bartholomeau, becoming mapmakers on the process. He then married Felipa Perestrelo, by whom he had a son named Diego; Columbus’ wife died when he was in his early thirties in 1483, that which made him restless, leading him into many events that he wouldn’t know will make him famous and will leave a mark on this earth.


    During his time,  because the Turks destroyed the Byzantine Empire, the eastward land route was sealed permanently, so explorers sent by then Portuguese Prince Henry, the Navigator (1394-1460) had to find a viable  route for them. Columbus then, being exposed to varied sailing experiences made  an effort to contradict the Portuguese explorers to reach Asia through the Indian ocean by rounding the African Coast. He presented his  idea before King  John II  with a plan of exploring westward to have the same goal. His idea was declined but he didn’t lose heart and instead came to see Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of  Spain and finally decided to settle there; although the King wasn’t fully convinced, he gained interest with his plan and granted him a very small annuity, and for a period of seven years,  he had to wait before his voyage got started. On the  process, he has developed an affair with a certain Beatriz  Enriquez, with whom he had a son and named him Ferdinand.

    In  1492, a Spanish priest who acted as a middleman for him and the Royal Monarchs, promising him vast riches on the expedition, including 1%  of all  the riches of the Indies , and given the rank of being the Admiral of the Ocean, and at the same time Viceroy and Governor of the Indies; (because he was based in Santo Domingo during those times).  Columbus alongside his 100 men on the three ships named  Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, went to sail for 37 days. It was in August of the same year  (1492) that he accidentally discovered this island that they were able to barter and trade a lot of things they need and called this island the “New World” and it is now known as the Americas.

    On October 12, they sighted the land, landed on that island, now called as San Salvador in the Bahamas. They were warmly welcomed by the aborigines called the “Arawaks”,  whom Columbus thought of as Indians. He and his crew sailed and made more voyages, discovering one island after another, in the hope of discovering or finding treasure and hoping to finally reaching Asia, he headed for Spain in 1493. With a pair of  captured  Indians,  few gold and a group of 40 men, they again sailed and upon  returning, was received a heroes welcome due to victorious and triumphant voyage,  expedition and navigation,  winning  for them 17 ships, 1,200 men, and a supply for the next 6 months period. In  November of same year, tensions grew as everything was dwindling. Supplies, men, etc. and so he went out to explore Cuba and Jamaica. Upon their return in 1496, things did not turn out again positively, and for the third time, he again sailed out for a voyage, this time with the purpose of locating the Spice Islands via a shortcut  because he wanted to create a city there for trade, seaports and more;  instead he got to proved  that the earth was not flat but round, with such a huge global shape. Later on, upon his return to Spain, he was captured by an officer named Bobadilla for mutiny offense in October of 1500.

             Later on in May of 1502, after being able to convince the Royal Couple of his intentions to sail again, he was then authorized to go on his last voyage, with only four ships with him, but his brother Bartholomeu and son Ferdinand, aged 14 then, was with him because he was very ill and was starting to lose his sight; since he can no longer captain his flight, a loyal staff did it for him, but sadly lost his entire fleet before they even landed on the Jamaican coast.

             In November, 1504, they got back to Spain, this time hardly ever recognized by any one. Few days after his arrival, Queen Isabella passed away after a lingering illness, and long after a period of eighteen months, he followed suit. Though ill he was, he pursued the King in giving him all what was promised of him, and later on he finally was able to reap his reward and was accorded not just 1% but 2% of the vast richness of the Indies and was awarded to his two sons, Diego and Ferdinand; the position of Governor of Hispaniola was given to Diego in 1508. Columbus died in Valladolid , Spain in May 20, 1506, though his remains was transferred to the monastery of Las Cuevas, in Sevilla,  Spain


                Christopher Columbus is a man of  credibility and integrity because despite his lack of proper education and knowledge, he had many successful voyages, expeditions, navigation, trade, etc.. He has vision and conviction, that he makes sure that it gets to be done, and true enough, reaps positive results, except for some very few ones which are minimal. And despite all these, (including his popularity and position granted to him), there was no tinge or trace of arrogance or pride in his heart; there was also no history of greed in him,  because he knows how to share his blessings that even up to the last breath of his life, he fought for his rights and what was due of him, all for the sake of his two sons. He was also an evangelist because he had a display of his faith, as he had always wanted a clean and religious life; his leadership styles have been a success because of the unity and loyalty his  fleet had for him; he tried also sharing his faith in

    God even during the last stages of his life. For him Christopher Columbus has lived an exemplary righteous and fruitful life that despite ignorance or innocence,  his memory lingers, and he has created an impact  in his lifetime.

    Submitted by:  Writer #17490

    Sources of Reference:





    5.)    Encarta Encyclopedia 2000 by: Thomas C. Tirado, Phd.; Prof; Millersville Univ.

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