Christopher Columbus was an Italian born Spanish explorer who was credited for discovering the Americas. He spent the rest of his life making voyages back and forth between the Americas and Europe. Attempts to gain support from multiple governments was difficult. Christopher spent nearly a decade pleading with monarchs before gaining support from Spain. The purpose of his first voyage was to find a direct water route from Europe to Asia. Although he would never accomplish this goal, his discoveries caught the interest of the European Monarchs. The second voyage Christopher made was to conquer the native people and colonize regions in America.
Spain was interested in claiming these new lands and so the support Christopher received for this trip was much greater. The purpose of the third voyage was to conquer lands south of the indies and to look for gold. Christopher encountered many problems on his voyage and returned to Spain in chains. After returning to Spain, he was set free by the Monarchs and rather than retiring with a pension and an estate, Christopher decided on making a fourth voyage. This time he was instructed by the King and Queen to search for Gold, Silver, precious stones, spices and other items of wealth. In poor health, Christopher spent many months recuperating until his death about a year and a half after returning to Spain. Throughout his life the discoveries Christopher Columbus made, sparked a new age of exploration and colonization which shaped the course of history.
Christopher Columbus spent many years attempting to gain the support of the European Monarchs. He was rejected by Portugal, Spain, and Aragon on multiple occasions.
Although many people during this period of time did not think that the world was round, they believed that sailing West to get to Asia was both inefficient and too high of a risk. Upon the collapse of the Mongol Empire, the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, who then implemented heavy restrictions on trade. This pushed monarchs to look for a new trading route to Asia other than the silk road, which was heavily taxed and had other restrictions. It took being rejected twice and seven years before gaining the support of Spain in aiding him on his explorations (“Christopher Columbus.” Little Crow, www.d.umn.edu/~simo0278/index2.html.). After Christopher traveled to the newly unified kingdom of Spain in 1486, “King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel used their newly acquired wealth from the Reconquista of the Moorish Emirate of Granada to finance Columbus’ voyage” (Shean). The Queen was hesitant and stalled for many years before changing her mind. In 1492 she, “gave Christopher enough money to outfit three ships, plus the promise of a share in whatever wealth he discovered” (“Christopher Columbus, Journal of the First Voyage.” Harriet Robinson on Lowell Mill Girls, courses.wcupa.edu/jones/his101/web/36columb.htm.). August third,1492 Christopher set sail westward with three ships the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. It was his belief that he would arrive on the shores of the West Indies, although what he discovered was something much greater.
The first voyage Christopher made was treacherous and full of surprises. After departing from Spain, it took Christopher nearly two and a half months to cross the Atlantic. Although Christopher’s first voyage was extremely important, the help he had received was not the best. Crew moral was low and members of the crew often got angry at the fact that land hadn’t been seen for considerable amounts of time. Members of the crew would even steer off course and destroy parts of the ship due to anger. Lucky for them, weather was fair most of the way and before they knew it, they had arrived around the Bahamian Islands (“Christopher Columbus.” Little Crow). On October 12th of 1942 land was spotted and their first stop was Cuba. At the time, Christopher believed that he had reached the East Indies. This was the reason he nicknamed the indigenous people indians. When he first got to Cuba it was his belief that he had arrived in China. He then continued his journey to present day Haiti which he named Hispaniola. Christopher explored these lands and in 1493 returned to Spain with treasure, many precious resources and captives. This display greatly sparked the interests of the Monarch’s and in no time Christopher was given significantly more ships and men for a second voyage (“Christopher Columbus.” Little Crow).
On September 24th, 1493, Christopher set sail on his second voyage. He left from Cádiz Spain with 17 ships, carrying roughly 1,200 men. The purpose of Christopher’s second voyage was to conquer the indigenous people and colonize the region. On October 13th, 1493, the ships left from the Canary Islands heading West, bringing with them both livestock and settlers. This trip across the Atlantic only took 21 days which was much shorter than the first voyage. Land was first spotted on November 3rd and the island was named Dominica, although Christopher was hoping to land in Hispaniola where he had left 41 men on the previous voyage. A day later he arrived at Guadalupe where he spent 6 days exploring before sailing North for 13 days naming a number of islands on along the way. On November 22nd Christopher finally made it back to Hispaniola but to his surprise the men he had left there a year ago had been killed due to fighting with the natives. He then established a new settlement called Isabella on the northside of Hispaniola where gold had been first found.
However this was a poor location and the settlement did not last long. Before sailing off in an effort to find the mainland of China which Christopher believed was nearby he established a small fort in the interior of the island while exploring for gold. The next island they arrived at was Cuba where they stayed for four days before arriving at Jamaica two days later. Upon their arrival Christopher discovered that the Natives living here were hostile and since he had still not found the mainland, they left after ten days. Christopher and his men then sailed back to Cuba and explored its southern coast along with multiple other islands nearby before returning back to Hispaniola on August 20th.
Come late september Christopher grew ill and him and his crew abandoned further explorations. He also wrote to the monarchs proposing to enslave some of the native people. Although his proposal was refused Christopher still enslaved 1600 natives, shipping 560 back to Spain keeping the others for the settlers. As the supplies brought from Spain started running thin, Christopher returned to Spain leaving on March tenth in hopes of gathering further aid in establishing a settlement. Upon his departure, Christopher left his brother Bertholomew at Isabella acting as temporary governor; he then reached Cadiz on June 11th, 1496.
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