For generations Christopher Columbus was hailed as the discoverer of the Americas. In recent years, some have downplayed this discovery. After all, the Native Americans, Aztec and Mayans had all been living in the Americas and did not want or need to be discovered. Furthermore, it's clear that the Vikings had visited the far northern part of America. Despite these questions, Columbus' accidental discovery of the Americas changed world history. Columbus' willingness and ability to sail so far into uncharted waters and successfully return, secured his reputation as one of the world's greatest explorers.
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa Italy in 1451. He spent his early years in Genoa. After going to sea Columbus found himself in Portugal. Columbus was determined to find a way to the Orient by sailing West. Columbus believed that the earth was smaller than most others believed and that the best way to get to Asia was to across the Atlantic. Columbus failed to receive support from the Portuguese for an expedition. Learn about the early life of Columbus
In Spain, Columbus received a warmer reception to his proposal to sail westward. After much discussion, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella supported Columbus' plan and provided the money to outfit three ships for him to lead Westward .
Learn about Columbus's time in Spain before his voyage
On August 3, 1492, Columbus departed Palos with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. After stopping at the Canary Islands, Columbus sailed west for five weeks. On October 12, 1492, land was sited. It was San Salvador in the Caribbean. Columbus thought he was off the coast of China. He explored part of Cuba and the Island of Hispaniola- where he founded the settlement of La Naviddad. On March 4, 1493, he arrived in Portugal. Finally, on March 15th, Columbus returned to Spain.
Learn About Columbus's First Voyage
On September 24, 1493, Columbus set sail again. This time, he had 17 ships carrying 1,000 men and supplies. His goal was to settle the region he explored. During this voyage, he explored many of the islands of the Caribbean, but he could not find any sign of China. Learn About Columbus's Second Voyage
On May 30, 1498, Columbus sailed with six ships . During this voyage Columbus explored South America, for the first time. Columbus continued to be disappointed by his inability to find the passage to China-- a passage that he was sure was there. More about Columbus's Third Voyage
On May 11, 1502, Columbus set out on his last voyage to the New World. His goal was to find a passage to India. Columbus concentrated his efforts on exploring the Central American coast. He had hoped to find a passage through Central America, where Panama is located. He returned to Spain still believing he had been on the verge of finding the way to the Orient. Learn About Columbus's Fourth Voyage
Today there is more of an attempt to teach about Columbus from the perspective of the Natives. Here is an excerpt from a new novel that does just that Columbus and Caonabó: 1493–1498 Retold