Christopher Columbus Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Mr. Cristoforo Colombo (Italian); Cristóbal Colón (Spanish)
Date of Birth: 1451
Place of Birth: Genoa, Italy
Died: May 20, 1506
Place of Death: Valladolid, Spain
Classification: Heroes & Icons

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Short Biography of Christopher Columbus

Known for the discovery of the New World in 1492 with the three ships the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus would travel back and forth from the Americas at least four times in his life. He had amazing tales of different peoples, customs, spices, riches and wealth for anyone who joined him. He also had to garnish support for each one of his voyages before he became the first ruler of the West Indies where he was actually considered a tyrant.

Not much is known of his early life or of his exact ancestry, but he vehemently defended that he was Italian. His writings reveal he was well educated and to be of Italian aristocratic lineage. It was these claims, along with his navigational theories in regard to the closer distance of Asia by sailing west, which eventually gained him support from Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand for exploration. It took seven years of convincing and preparation until Columbus would be given the green light to amass a crew and start sailing with the financial backing from private investors.

Christopher Columbus was removed from his post after his first voyage due to complaints regarding his cruel leadership. On his first voyage, Columbus was the first to land on what is known today as the island of San Salvador. The natives were quite friendly, knew nothing of modern weaponry, and apparently “had no God”. He liked the island because he believed the natives would make good workers, slaves, and Christians without much fuss. Additionally, the island was rich in exotic materials including silk, gold, skins, and wildlife.

On his second crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, Columbus landed on what is now the Dominican Republic. He also visited several surrounding isles, including the Virgin Islands. Returning to visit the colonists he had left behind on his first voyage, he found them in dire straights. They were not happy and had not attained any wealth. In fact, they were disputing and even fighting with the natives over land, services, and goods.

fter bringing back slaves to Spain, against Isabella’s wishes, many of them were either returned or kept as citizens under the monarchy. It was during his fourth voyage that Columbus was shipwrecked on Jamaica for more than a year. He was able to keep the people under his control by predicting the changes in the night sky. He was then rescued and made governor of Valladolid, Spain where he was known as a ruthless leader.

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