Young Columbus


Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. His father was a merchant who owned land, while his mother hailed from a well-established Genoese family. From a young age, Columbus was drawn to the sea. It's believed that he began his maritime career in humble roles, possibly as a cabin boy or a seaman.

In 1476, Columbus found himself in Portugal. Some historical accounts suggest that Columbus ended up in Portugal after the ship he was on was attacked and sunk off the coast, forcing him to swim ashore. Once in Portugal, he remained deeply involved in maritime activities. Between 1478 and 1479, Columbus married Felipa Moniz, a member of a prominent Portuguese family.

Throughout his adult life, Columbus was fascinated with the idea of reaching China. Inspired by Marco Polo's writings, he became convinced that there was a westward maritime route to China. It's worth noting that Columbus did not have to persuade people of his time that the Earth was round; most educated individuals already accepted this fact. However, Columbus's controversial claim was about the Earth's size. He believed that the Earth's circumference at the equator was 19,000 miles, whereas, in reality, it measures approximately 24,000 miles.

During this period, Portugal was the epicenter of global exploration. Eager to embark on his journey, Columbus approached the King of Portugal for sponsorship of his westward expedition to China. However, his proposal was declined. Disappointed but undeterred, Columbus left Portugal for Spain in 1485, where his ambitions would soon find more receptive ears.