Perhaps Christopher Columbus can be considered one of the most famous personalities of the planet. You must admit that now quite rarely you can meet someone who has never heard of the discoveries of this famous navigator.
Surely every student will easily answer the question of what Christopher Columbus discovered. Well, of course, America! However, let us think, if this knowledge is not too scanty, because most of us don’t even know where this famous discoverer came from, what his life course was and in what particular era he lived.
This article aims to tell in detail about the discoveries of Christopher Columbus. In addition, the reader will receive a unique opportunity to get acquainted with international data and chronology of events that took place several centuries ago.
What did the great navigator discover?
Christopher Columbus, the traveler known now all over the planet, was originally an ordinary Spanish navigator, who worked both on the ship and in the port, and, in fact, practically did not differ from the same forever busy laborers.
That later, in 1492, he will become a celebrity - the man who discovered America, the first European to cross the Atlantic, to visit the Caribbean.
By the way, not everyone knows that it was Christopher Columbus who initiated the detailed study not only of America itself, but also of almost all nearby archipelagoes.
Although here I would like to make an amendment. The Spanish navigator was far from being the only traveler who set out to conquer uncharted worlds. In fact, back in the Middle Ages, inquisitive Icelandic Vikings had already been to America. But at the time, this information was not widely disseminated, so the whole world believes that it was the expedition of Christopher Columbus that was able to popularize information about American lands and initiate the colonization by Europeans of an entire continent.
The story of Christopher Columbus. Secrets and riddles of his biography
This man was and remains one of the most mysterious historical figures of the planet. Unfortunately, there are not too many facts that tell about his origin and occupation before the first expedition. In those days, Christopher Columbus, briefly, was practically nobody, i.e., did not differ in any way from the usual average sailor, and therefore it was not possible to separate him from the total mass.
By the way, this is why historians have written hundreds of books about him, guessing and trying to surprise the readership. Virtually all such manuscripts are replete with speculations and unverified statements. But in fact, not even the original of the logbook of the first expedition of Columbus remained.
It is believed that Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 (according to another, untested version - in 1446), between August 25 and October 31, in the Italian city of Genoa.
To date, still a number of Spanish and Italian cities ascribe to themselves the honor to be called the small homeland of the discoverer. As for his social status, it is only known that the Columbus family was not of noble origin, none of his ancestors was a navigator.
Modern researchers believe that Columbus Sr. earned his living by hard work and was either a weaver or a wool comber. Although there is also a version that the father of the navigator served as the senior guard of the city gates.
Of course, the journey of Christopher Columbus did not begin immediately. Probably, from early childhood, the boy began to look for jobs, helping seniors to support his family. Perhaps he was the cabin boy on the ships and therefore he loved the sea so much. Unfortunately, more detailed records about how the childhood and youth of this famous person went were not preserved.
As for education, there is a version that H. Columbus studied at the University of Pavia, but there is no documented evidence of this fact. Therefore, it is possible that he received and home education. Whatever it was, this man had excellent knowledge in the field of navigation, which provides far from superficial knowledge in mathematics, geometry, cosmography and geography.
It is also known that at a more adult age, Christopher Columbus worked as a cartographer, and then moved to the service of a local printing house. He spoke not only in his native Portuguese, but also in Italian and Spanish. Good knowledge of Latin helped him in deciphering the maps and chronicles. There is evidence that the navigator could write some Hebrew.
It is also known that Columbus was a prominent man, on whom the ladies were constantly staring. So, while serving in Portugal at some Genoese trading house, the future discoverer of America met his future wife, Donya Felipe Moniz de Palestrelo. They were married in 1478. Soon the couple had a son, Diego. The wife’s family was not rich either, but it was the noble origin of the wife that allowed Christopher to establish contacts and establish useful contacts among the nobility circles of Portugal
As for the nationality of the traveler, there are even more mysteries. Some researchers prove Columbus’s Jewish origins, but there are also versions of Spanish, German, and Portuguese roots.
The official worship of Christopher was Catholic. Why can you say that? The fact is that, according to the rules of that era, otherwise he would simply have not been allowed into the same Spain. Although it is quite possible that he concealed his true religion.
Apparently, many riddles of the biography of the navigator will remain unsolved for all of us.
Pre-Columbian America, or what the discoverer saw when he arrived on the mainland
America, until its discovery, was a land where certain groups of people lived, who for centuries remained in some kind of natural isolation. All of them, by the will of fate, were cut off from the rest of the planet. However, despite all this, they were able to create a high culture, demonstrating unlimited possibilities and skills.
The uniqueness of these civilizations lies in the fact that by their nature they are considered natural-ecological, and not technogenic, like ours. Local natives, Indians, did not seek to transform the environment, on the contrary, their settlements harmoniously fit into the nature as much as possible.
Experts say that all civilizations that have arisen in North Africa, Asia, Europe, developed approximately equally. In pre-Columbian America, this development took place in a different way, so, for example, the contrast between the population of the city and the village was minimal. Cities of ancient Indians also contained extensive agricultural lands. The only significant difference between the city and the village was the area occupied by the territory.
At the same time, the civilizations of pre-Columbian America did not make much progress in what Europe and Asia were able to climb. For example, the Indians are not very keen to improve the technology of metal processing. If in the Old World bronze was considered the main metal and for its sake new lands were conquered, in pre-Columbian America this material was used exclusively as an ornament.
But the civilizations of the New World are interesting with their unique structures, sculptures and paintings, which were characterized by a completely different style.
The beginning of the way
In 1485, after the categorical refusal of the King of Portugal to invest in the implementation of a project to find the shortest sea route to India, Columbus moved to a permanent place of residence in Castile. There, with the help of Andalusian merchants and bankers, he nevertheless managed to achieve the organization of a government maritime expedition.
For the first time the ship of Christopher Columbus set sail on a one-year voyage in 1492. The expedition was attended by 90 people.
By the way, despite the rather common misconception, there were three ships, and they were called “Santa Maria”, “Pinta” and “Nina”.
The expedition left Palos at the very beginning of the hot August 1492. From the Canary Islands, the flotilla headed for the west, where it crossed the Atlantic Ocean without any particular problems.
Along the way, the navigator’s team discovered the Sargasso Sea and successfully reached the Bahamas archipelago, where it landed on land on October 12, 1492. Since then, this very date has become the official day of the discovery of America.
In 1986, US geographer J. Judge carefully processed all available materials about this expedition on a computer and came to the conclusion that the first land that Christopher saw was Fr. Samana. From about October 14, within ten days, the expedition approached several more of the Bahamas, and by December 5 opened part of the coast of Cuba. December 6, the team reached about. Haiti.
Then the ships moved along the northern coast, and then luck changed the pioneers. On the night of December 25th, "Santa Maria" suddenly sat on a reef. True, this time the crew was lucky - all the sailors were alive.
Columbus Second Journey
The second expedition took place in the years 1493-1496. Columbus headed it already in the official position of the Vice-King of the lands he discovered.
It is worth noting that the team has increased significantly - the expedition already consisted of 17 vessels. According to various sources, 1.5-2.5 thousand people took part in the expedition.
At the beginning of November 1493, the islands of Dominica, Guadeloupe and twenty Lesser Antilles were discovered, and on November 19, Fr. Puerto Rico. In March 1494, Columbus, in search of gold, decided to make a military campaign on Fr. Haiti, then in the summer opened about. Juventud and Fr. Jamaica.
By the way, it was then that H. Columbus informed the public about the opening of a new route to Asia.
The third trip took place in the years 1498-1500 and was not as numerous as the previous one. Only 6 vessels participated in it, and the navigator himself led three of them through the Atlantic.
On July 31, the first year of travel, Fr. Trinidad, the ships entered the Gulf of Paria, as a result, the peninsula of the same name was discovered. So South America was discovered.
Out on the Caribbean on August 31, Columbus landed in Haiti. Already in 1499, Christopher Columbus’s monopoly on new lands was canceled, the royal couple sent their representative F. Bobadilla to the destination, who in 1500 and arrested Columbus along with his brothers on a denunciation.
The sailor, shackled, was sent to Castile, where local financiers persuaded the royal family to release him.
Fourth Journey to American Shores
What kept worrying such a restless person like Columbus? Christopher, America for whom it was already practically passed stage, wanted to find a new way from there to South Asia. The traveler believed that such a route existed, because he observed off the coast of Fr. Cuba is a strong current that went west through the Caribbean. As a result, he was able to convince the king to give permission for a new expedition.
On his fourth trip, Columbus set off with Brother Bartolomeo and his 13-year-old son, Hernando. He was lucky to discover the continent south of about. Cuba - the coast of Central America. And Columbus was the first to report to Spain about the Indian peoples inhabiting the coast of the South Sea.
But, unfortunately, he never found the strait to the South Sea. I had to go home with almost nothing.
Unexplained facts, the study of which continues
The distance from Palos to the Canaries is 1600 km, the ships participating in the expedition of Columbus traveled this distance in 6 days, i.e., they covered 250-270 km in 24 hours. Until the Canary Islands, the path was well known, it did not present any difficulties. But it was in this area on 6 (possibly 7) of August that a strange breakdown occurred on the ship “Pinta”. According to one information, the wheel broke, according to others - a leak occurred. This circumstance aroused suspicion, because then the Pinta crossed the Atlantic twice. Before that, she had quite successfully passed about 13 thousand kilometers, visited terrible storms and arrived in Palos without damage. Therefore, there is a version that the team of workers at the request of the co-owner of the ship K. Quintero set up the accident. Probably, the sailors received a part of the salary, spent it. They didn’t see more sense to risk their lives, and the owner himself also received a lot of money for renting Pinta. So it was logical to imitate the breakdown and stay safe in the Canary Islands. Looks like the Pinta captain Martin Pinson did catch the conspirators and stopped them.
As early as the second trip of Columbus, intentional colonists set sail with him, they loaded cattle, equipment, seeds and other ships on ships. The colonists laid their city somewhere in the vicinity of the modern city of Santo Domingo. The same expedition discovered Fr. Small Antilles, Virginia, Puerto Rico, Jamaica. But Christopher Columbus to the last remained with the opinion that he had discovered western India, and not a new land.
Interesting data from the life of the discoverer
Of course, the unique and very informative information mass. But in this article we would like to cite as an example the most interesting facts.
- When Christopher lived in Seville, he was friends with the brilliant Amerigo Vespucci.
- King Juan II at first refused to organize the expedition to Columbus, but then sent his sailors to sail along the route proposed by Christopher. However, due to a strong storm, the Portuguese had to return home with nothing.
- After being shackled by Columbus during the third expedition, he decided to keep the chains as a talisman for the rest of his life.
- By order of Christopher Columbus, for the first time in the history of navigation, Indian hammocks were used as sailors' beds.
- It was Columbus who offered the Spanish king to save new lands with criminals in order to save.
Historical significance of expeditions
Everything that Christopher Columbus discovered was appreciated only after half a century. Why so late? The thing is that only after this period from the colonized Mexico and Peru began to deliver to the Old World whole galleons, filled with gold and silver.
The Spanish royal treasury spent only 10 kg of gold on the preparation of the expedition, and in three hundred years Spain managed to export precious metals from America, the cost of which was at least 3 million kg of pure gold.
Alas, crazy gold did not benefit Spain; it did not stimulate the development of industry or the economy. And in the end, the country is still hopelessly behind the many European countries.
Today, not only numerous ships and ships, cities, rivers and mountains are named after Christopher Columbus, but also, for example, the currency of El Salvador, the state of Colombia, located in South America, as well as a famous state in the United States.