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Columbus (906 words)

Known to be one of the greatest explorers of all time, Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451. Being the eldest son of Domenico Colombo and Susanna Fontanarossa, Columbus had two younger brothers, Bartholomew and Diego, whom he became very close. As a young boy, Christopher had no schooling. He and his younger brother Bartholomew helped their father by carding raw wool. He worked for his father until he got his first job as a mariner. Columbus?s first sea experiences began by his early teens, making his first voyage, to the Aegean Island of Chios, in 1475. One year later he survived an attack by pirates in which he had to swim ashore and took refuge in Portugal. Settling there, where his brother Bartholomew Columbus was working as a cartographer, Christopher married Felipa Perestello e Moniz from a noble Portuguese family. Their only son, Diego was born in 1480. Felipa died in 1485, and Columbus later began a relationship with Beatriz Enriquez de Harana of Cordabo, with whom Christopher had his second son, Ferdinand. Columbus and Beatriz never married, but Columbus supported her. In the mid-1480?s Christopher had become focused on his plans of discovery. His biggest dream was to find a westward route to Asia. By 1488 he had asked king John the II of Portugal to back his voyage west, but was refused. The next year he set out to Spain with his son, Diego to seek aid of Queen Elizabeth of Castile and her husband, King Ferdinand of Aragon. Even though the Spanish monarchs first rejected Christopher?s request, they gave him a small allowance to live on, and he remained determined to convince them. In January of 1492 Christopher obtained the support of Elizabeth and Ferdinand, and began his first expedition.

On the first trip on Aug. 3, 1492, Columbus sailed from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Mar?a, the Pinta , and the Ni?a. At the beginning Christopher Columbus planned to land for a short period on the Canary Islands but ended up with a month’s layover. This was due to a lack of wind and the requirements of ship maintenance. After a few troubles, on Oct. 12 he landed on a small island in the Bahamas group. He quickly took possession for Spain and, with impressed natives aboard, discovered other islands in the neighborhood. On Oct. 27 he sighted Cuba and on Dec. 5 reached Hispaniola. On Christmas Eve the Santa Maria wasn?t working well, so Columbus left men there to find a colony, and hurried back to Spain on the Ni?a. His reception was all he could wish; the Spanish authority said he was governor-general of all new lands he had discovered or should discover. On the second trip, Columbus was equipped with a large fleet of 17 ships, with 1,500 colonists aboard. On Oct., 1493, his arrival this time was made in the Lesser Antilles, and his new discoveries included the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico, where he created a new colony nearby by, and then sailed off in the summer of 1494 to explore the southern coast of Cuba. Later, on his third expedition, in 1498, Columbus was forced to transport convicts as colonists, because of the bad reports on conditions in Hispaniola and because the novelty of the New World was wearing off. He sailed still farther south and made his landfall on Trinidad. He sailed across the mouth of the Orinoco River, in present Venezuela, and realized that he saw a continent, but without further exploration he hurried back to Hispaniola to administer his colony. It was 1502 before Columbus finally gathered together four ships for a fourth expedition, by which he hoped to reestablish his reputation. If he could sail past the islands and far enough west, he hoped he might still find lands answering to the description of Asia or Japan. He struck the coast of Honduras in Central America and coasted southward along an inhospitable shore, suffering terrible hardships, until he reached the Gulf of Dari?n. Attempting to return to Hispaniola, he was marooned on Jamaica. After his rescue, he was forced to abandon his hopes and return to Spain.
By the end of his last voyage, Columbus wasn?t too healthy. He was suffering from Arthritis as well as other diseases. Along with a portion of gold, he lived comfortably for his last years, sadly, dying in Spain on May 20, 1506. In conclusion, I believe that even after his death, Christopher Columbus is still honored as the man who opened the doors to an Age of Discovery and exploration. With his four voyages of discovery and several attempts at establishing a settlement on the island of Hispaniola, Columbus did a great job by starting the process of Spanish colonization which predicted general European colonization of the “New World. “I would say that the benefits of Columbus’ voyage were the result of a magnificent discovery that it confirmed the roundness of the earth and gave new validity to science, expanded trade and opened new markets and led to the develop of Europe. Finally, I?m very proud to say that his efforts were incredible; the first man to reach what he thought was Asia from the east. A victory that seemed impossible, but he achieved it with great success for himself and his country of Spain.

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