Guide The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus: by his Son Ferdinand

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On this first voyage, Columbus also explored the northeast coast of Cuba landed on October 28 and the northern coast of Hispaniola, by December 5. Here, the Santa Maria ran aground on Christmas morning , and had to be abandoned. He was received by the native cacique Guacanagari, who gave him permission to leave some of his men behind. Columbus founded the settlement La Navidad and left 39 men.

On January 15, , he set sail for home by way of the Azores. He wrestled his ship against the wind and ran into a fierce storm. He anchored next to the King's harbor patrol ship on March 4, , where he was told a fleet of caravels had been lost in the storm. Some have speculated that his landing in Portugal was intentional. Relations between Portugal and Castile were poor at the time. After spending more than one week in Portugal, he set sail for Spain. Word of his finding new lands rapidly spread throughout Europe.

He did not reach Spain until March He was received as a hero in Spain. This was his moment in the sun. He displayed several kidnapped natives and what gold he had found to the court, as well as the previously unknown tobacco plant, the pineapple fruit, the turkey, and the sailor's first love, the hammock. He did not bring any of the coveted East Indies spices, such as the exceedingly expensive black pepper, ginger, or cloves. It was a strategic military move on behalf of Spain, which was seeking colonies. On October 13, the ships left the Canary Islands, following a more southerly course than on the first voyage.

On November 3, , Columbus sighted a rugged island that he named Dominica. On November 22, he returned to Hispaniola , where he found his colonists had fallen into dispute with natives in the interior and had been killed. He established a new settlement at Isabella, on the north coast of Hispaniola where gold had first been found, but it was a poor location, and the settlement was also short-lived. He spent some time exploring the interior of the island for gold, and did find some, establishing a small fort in the interior.

He explored the south coast of Cuba, which he believed to be a peninsula rather than an island, and several nearby islands, including the Isle of Youth La Evangelista , before returning to Hispaniola on August Before he left Spain for his second voyage, he had been directed by Ferdinand and Isabella to maintain friendly, even loving relations with the natives. However, during his second voyage he sent a letter to the monarchs proposing to enslave some of the native peoples, specifically the Caribs, on the grounds of their aggressiveness.

However, it seemed as if he had other intentions, as he previously had used Taino slaves for prostitution.

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Although his petition was refused by the Crown, in February , Columbus took Arawak a different tribe, who were hunted by the Carib as slaves. He shipped of them as slaves to Spain; died en route, probably of disease, and of the remainder, half were ill when they arrived.

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After legal proceedings, the survivors were released and ordered to be shipped home. Others of the were kept as slaves for Columbus' men in the Americas, and Columbus recorded using slaves for sex in his journal. A remaining captives, for whom Columbus had no use, were released.

They fled into the hills, making, according to Columbus, prospects for their future capture dim. Rounding up the slaves led to the first major battle between the Spanish and the natives in the New World.

Christopher Columbus and the Eclipse (sources)

The main objective of Columbus' journey had been gold. To further this goal, he imposed a system on the natives in Cicao on Haiti , whereby all those above 14 years of age had to find a certain quota of gold, to be signified by a token placed around their necks. Those who failed to reach their quota would have their hands chopped off. Despite such extreme measures, Columbus did not manage to obtain much gold. One of the primary reasons for this was the fact that natives became infected with various diseases carried by the Europeans.

In his letters to the Spanish King and Queen, Columbus repeatedly suggested slavery as a way to profit from the new colonies, but these suggestions were rejected by the monarchs, who preferred to view the natives as future members of Christendom. Columbus landed on the south coast of the island of Trinidad on July He explored the mainland of South America, including the Orinoco River. He described the new lands as belonging to a previously unknown new continent, but pictured it hanging from China, bulging out to make the earth pear-shaped.

His inner map had run out of room. Columbus returned to Hispaniola on August 19, to find that many of the Spanish settlers of the new colony were discontent, having been misled by Columbus about the supposedly bountiful riches of the new world. Columbus repeatedly had to deal with rebellious settlers and natives. He had some of his crew hanged for disobeying him.

A number of returned settlers and friars lobbied against Columbus at the Spanish court, accusing him of mismanagement. The king and queen sent the royal administrator Francisco de Bobadilla in , who upon arrival on August 23, detained Columbus and his brothers and had them shipped home. Columbus refused to have his shackles removed on the trip to Spain, during which he wrote a long and pleading letter to the Spanish monarchs.

They accepted his letter and let Columbus and his brothers go. Although he regained his freedom, he did not regain his prestige and he lost his governorship. As an added insult, the Portuguese had won the race to the Indies: Vasco da Gama returned in September , from a trip to India, having sailed east around Africa. Nevertheless, Columbus made a fourth voyage, nominally in search of the Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean.

He sailed to Arzila on the Moroccan coast to rescue the Portuguese soldiers who he heard were under siege by the Moors. On June 15, they landed at Carbet on the island of Martinique Martinica. A hurricane was brewing, so he continued on, hoping to find shelter on Hispaniola.

He arrived at Santo Domingo on June 29, but was denied port, and the new governor refused to listen to his storm prediction. Instead, while Columbus's ships sheltered at the mouth of the Jaina River, the first Spanish treasure fleet sailed into the teeth of a hurricane. The only ship to reach Spain had Columbus's money and belongings on it, and all of his former enemies and a few friends had drowned. Here, Bartolomeo found native merchants and a large canoe, which was described as "long as a galley" and was filled with cargo. In Panama, he learned from the natives of gold and a strait to another ocean.

After much exploration, he established a garrison at the mouth of Rio Belen in January On April 6, one of the ships became stranded in the river. At the same time, the garrison was attacked, and the other ships were damaged. He left for Hispaniola on April 16, but sustained more damage in a storm off the coast of Cuba. Unable to travel any farther, the ships were beached in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, on June 25, Columbus and his men were stranded on Jamaica for a year. Two Spaniards, with native paddlers, were sent by canoe to get help from Hispaniola.

In the meantime, in a desperate effort to induce the natives to continue provisioning him and his hungry men, he successfully intimidated the natives by correctly predicting a lunar eclipse, using astronomic tables made by Rabbi Avraham Zacuto, who was working for the King of Portugal. While Columbus had always given the conversion of non-believers as one reason for his explorations, he grew increasingly religious in his later years. He claimed to hear divine voices, lobbied for a new crusade to capture Jerusalem , often wore Franciscan habit, and described his explorations to the "paradise" as part of God's plan which would soon result in the Last Judgement and the end of the world.

In his later years, Columbus demanded that the Spanish Crown give him 10 percent of all profits made in the new lands, pursuant to earlier agreements. Because he had been relieved of his duties as governor, the crown did not feel bound by these contracts and his demands were rejected. His family later sued for part of the profits from trade with America, but ultimately lost some 50 years later. On May 20, , Columbus died in Valladolid, fairly wealthy due to the gold his men had accumulated in Hispaniola.

He was still convinced that his journeys had been along the east coast of Asia. Following his death, his body underwent excarnation—the flesh was removed so that only his bones remained. Even after his death, his travels continued: First interred in Valladolid and then at the monastery of La Cartuja in Seville, by the will of his son Diego, who had been governor of Hispaniola, his remains were transferred to Santo Domingo in In , the French took over, and his remains was removed to Havana. After Cuba became independent following the Spanish-American War in , his remains were moved back to the Cathedral of Seville, where they were placed on an elaborate catafalque.

Christopher Columbus

However, a lead box bearing an inscription identifying "Don Christopher Columbus" and containing fragments of bone and a bullet was discovered at Santo Domingo in Results announced in May show that at least some of Columbus' remains rest in Seville, but authorities in Santo Domingo have not allowed the remains in their custody to be tested. The casting of Columbus as a "hero" or "villain" often depends on people's perspectives as to whether the arrival of Europeans to the New World and the introduction of Christianity is seen as positive or negative. In addition, the Columbus voyage has been woven into the narrative of nations that established sovereignty in the Americas in later centuries, and the political perceptions relative to those governments, most prominently the United States as a global superpower.

Traditionally, Columbus is viewed as a man of heroic stature by some people in the United States. He has often been hailed as a man of heroism and bravery, and also of faith: He sailed westward into mostly unknown waters, and his unique scheme is often viewed as ingenious. Columbus wrote of his journey, "God gave me the faith, and afterwards the courage. Bush, June 8, Hero worship of Columbus perhaps reached a zenith around , the th anniversary of his first arrival in the Americas. Monuments to Columbus including the Columbian Exposition in Chicago were erected throughout the United States and Latin America, extolling him as a hero.

Numerous cities, towns, and streets were named for him, including the capital cities of two U. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men's fraternal benefit society, had been chartered ten years earlier by the State of Connecticut. The story that Columbus thought the world was round while his contemporaries believed in a Flat Earth was often repeated. This tale was used to show that Columbus was enlightened and forward looking. Columbus' apparent defiance of convention in sailing west to get to the far east was hailed as a model of "American"-style can-do inventiveness.


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In the United States, the admiration of Columbus was particularly embraced by some members of the Italian American, Hispanic, and Catholic communities. These groups point to Columbus as one of their own to show that Mediterranean Catholics could and did make great contributions to the U.

The modern vilification of Columbus is seen by his supporters as being politically motivated. A contrary view of Columbus has gained ascendancy in recent decades with the rise of movements for indigenous rights. In June a compromise settlement was made. His son Luis was to receive the title admiral of the Indies but would renounce all other rights in return for a perpetual annuity of 10, ducats, the island of Jamaica in fief , and an estate of 25 square leagues on the Isthmus of Panama with the titles of duque de Veragua and marques de Jamaica.

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Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: His son Diego was well established at court, and the admiral himself lived in Sevilla in some style. Christopher Columbus , master navigator and admiral whose four transatlantic voyages —93, —96, —, and —04 opened the way for European exploration, exploitation, and colonization of the Americas.

He was the first to apply the encomienda system of Indian forced labour, which became widespread in Spanish America, and he founded a stable Spanish community in Santo….

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The fourth voyage and final years In Christopher Columbus: The second and third voyages. Help us improve this article! Contact our editors with your feedback.

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