1451 It seems that during the autumn of this year Christopher Columbus would have been born in Genova, Italy. He was Italian-Spanish seaman. He is known as the man who discovered America. He sailed by commercial vessels on the sea since he was young.
1476 He moved to Portugal, where his brother was a map maker.
1479 During the period spent in Portugal, Columbus got married. It was time for an extraordinary maritime expansion – Portuguese ships reached increasingly farther to South, to the bottom of Africa, pushing the limits of known world, and Columbus boarded to some trips like this to the West of Africa. Sparked by information achieved during his trips on the sea and by the papers he passionately studied, Columbus started to believe he could have found a way towards unseen riches in the East which had been described by Marco Polo and others. The way assumed a trip to the West, over Atlantic Ocean. Being advised by a Royal advisor, King John II of Portugal refused to take part in this project – mostly because Portuguese sailors were about to find out a maritime way to Asia, close to African Cape.
1485 Proving the determination of a man who had a sacred mission, Columbus moved in Spain together with his mistress and asked Queen Isabelle and King Ferdinand for help. At the beginning, they did not agree Columbus’ plan, also because of an advisor’s opinion, but history spectacularly changed his luck.
1492 The last Moorish fortress in Spain, Grenada, was conquered by Ferdinand and Isabelle. Passionate of this victory against “unfaithful” people and attracted by strategic potential and by economical advantages, they approved the sponsorship of Columbus’ expedition. Christopher negotiated a good arrangement – he would be vice king of all territories he would find and would take one tenth of all precious metals of these lands. In 1492, on the 3rd of August, he left Palos harbour, in the South of Spain, by three ships – Santa Maria, a schooner of 30 meters and other two smaller and partially covered caravels, Pinta and Nina. Even if other people must have been there before him – Vikings and probably Breton fishermen – this journey was a daring leap into the unknown. After many desperate days, they saw the land and anchored on the 12th of October, probably to Guanahani, a small island in Bahamas, that Columbus claimed and called it San Salvador. The crew landed then in Cuba and on Hispaniola Island, where they left 39 people who would build the first European garrison of New World. It was made of odds and ends of Santa Maria ship, which had failed on the rocks near the shore. The fate of this first settlement, La Navidad, characterized the other Columbus’ adventures in Caribbean. The first contacts to natives were peaceful but after a while murders and robberies started and the garrison was wiped off Earth’s face in revenge immediately after he had left.
1493 On the 15th of March, Columbus returned to Spain, welcomed with glory and honour; he was Admiral of seas and oceans. On September, he left to the second expedition to America. It was a huge project. He made the first permanent European settlements in New World, La Isabelle and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic nowadays) but the trip ended in a bloodbath when Columbus defeated the natives’ army – a big part of them was sent to Spain, as slaves. Columbus explored other islands too, from Jamaica to Antigua, but he believed he was on or near Chitai continent, an opinion he kept for a long time, even after other two trips when he arrived to Venezuela and Panama.
1498 On the 30th of May, Columbus set sail for his third trip. The first landing was on Trinidad Island. Then he discovered the island that is called Venezuela nowadays.
1502 On May, Columbus organized his fourth expedition that was the last, too. The trip was marked by strife and revolts and only Queen Isabelle of Spain saved him of fall from grace.
1506 On the 20th of May, Christopher Columbus passed away at Valladolid, Spain. He was buried to Sevilla. Even if others must have been there before him, the trip on Atlantic was a great leap into unknown.
1 - Cristhopher Columbus (1451-1506), ro.biography.name - accessed on 05.12.13
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