voyages of CHRISTOPHER columbus
1451 Born in Genoa, the son of a wool merchant and
1476 Swims ashore when his ship is sunk in a battle off Portugal.
1476 Joins his brother Bartholomew, a cartographer, in Lisbon.
1477-1482 Makes merchant voyages as far as Iceland and Guinea.
1484 Conceives of "The Enterprise
of the Indies." Fails to convince
John of Portugal to back the
1485 Moves to Spain.
1492/1/2 Ferdinand & Isabella capture Granada,
the last Moorish city in Spain.
1492–1499 1st Governor of the Indies Appointed by Isabella I of
Columbus set out to go to the land
of India and China finding his way
travelling by the sea towards the west instead of towards the East passing
through the gulf controlled by the Middle East Muslims known as the Spice Route and
the Silk Route.
This he proposed as very feasible since the earth is a globe. He has to get
the permission and financial backing of the Spanish Royalty if he has to
make it. This is how he presented his petition for it the Royal
In the letter that prefaces his
journal of the first voyage, Columbus
quotes the letter he wrote to the King:
”…and I saw the Moorish king come out
of the gates of the city and kiss the royal hands of Your Highnesses…and
Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians…took thought to send me, Christopher
Columbus, to the said parts of India, to see those princes and peoples and
lands…and the manner which should be used to bring about their conversion
to our holy faith, and ordained that I should not go by land to the
eastward, by which way it was the custom to go, but by way of the west, by
which down to this day we do not know certainly that anyone has passed;
therefore, having driven out all the Jews from your realms and lordships in
the same month of January, Your Highnesses commanded me that, with a
sufficient fleet, I should go to the said parts of India, and for this
accorded me great rewards and ennobled me so that from that time henceforth
I might style myself “Don” and be high admiral of the Ocean Sea and viceroy
and perpetual Governor of the islands and continent which I should
discover…and that my eldest son should succeed to the same position, and so
on from generation to generation forever.”
Columbus requesting support from Isabella I and Ferdinand II of Spain,
chromolithograph after a painting by Václav Brožík, c. 1884
.Library of Congress,
Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-pga-03133)
The interests in this adventure was,
in essence, the attempt to find a route to the rich land
of Cathay (China), to India, the fabled gold and
spice lands of the East. Unlike the blocked routes of silk road and
spice route by ship Columbus
proposed to sail westward and reach the east since the earth is a
sphere. Columbus himself clearly hoped to rise from his humble
beginnings in this way, to accumulate riches for his family, and to join
the ranks of the nobility of Spain. In a similar manner, but
at a more exalted level, the Catholic Monarchs hoped that such an
enterprise would gain them greater status among the monarchies of Europe. Columbus himself was an Italian
and he failed to get his support there. So he turned to the
Portuguese. After failing to convince the Portuguese king to finance
his plan, he went to Spain
in 1486 and tried to interest Queen Isabella in his plan. It took Columbus three years
before Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to support him in 1492 and gave
him enough money to outfit three ships, plus the promise of a share in
whatever wealth he discovered. Martín Alonso Pinzón and Vicente Yáñez
Pinzón were Spanish explorers who accompanied Columbus in their own ship called Pinta
These voyages were fully
supported by the Franciscan brethren who were preparing for the eventual
end of the world, as prophesied in the book of Revelation to John.
According to their interpretation of the book of Revelation, the
Christendom should recapture Jerusalem from
the Muslim infidels and should install a Christian emperor in the
Holy Land first. This is a
precondition for the second coming of Christ and the eventual
defeat of Antichrist. The Crusade to the Holy
Land will be reinforced by, or coordinated with,
offensives from the Christian Confederate Priest of the Thomas Christians
who was also the Emperor of India, Prester John. The emperor of
Cathay (China)— the
Great Khan of the Golden Horde—was himself will support all these
actually carried a letter of friendship addressed to Emperor
Khan by the Spanish monarchs. There was however a serious competition.
The Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias has already started his
journey to find Cathay and India
by the westward route.
The First Voyage of Columbus.
He set out to find India and hence wherever he landed the local
people were called Indians.On August 3, 1492, Columbus set
sail from Spain.
He took three ships, The Nina, The Pinta, and the Santa Maria, with about 100 men in the
crew. Christopher Columbus was the Captain of Santa
Maria; Pinta with Martin Alonso Pinzon as its captain and Nina
with Vincente Yanez Pinzon as captain.
On October 12, more than two months
later, Columbus landed on an
island in the Bahamas
that he called San Salvador;
the natives - the Tainos - The Arawak Indians called it Guanahani.
Santa Maria : Replica of the Santa María, Funchal, Madeira Islands. The Flagship of Columbus
Martin Alonso Pinzon
and Vicente Yañez Pinzon were Spanish explorers who accompanied Columbus in two other
ships called Pinta and Nina
Columbus’ first voyage
Park on the island
of San Salvador in the Bahamas. No
one knows for sure where he landed in the Bahamas, but this is the most
probable place which is marked by a cross.
Columbus took the land in the name of the Emperor and
Queen of Spain
and in the name of Christ.
They were received with total love and coutesy as is given to
travellers by the Tainos. They believed that these travellers were
angels who came down from heaven to visit them.
voyage began in Spain in
August of 1492 with the famous 3 ships (Santa Maria, Pinta, Niña). Columbus (which means
dove), saw two birds while out at sea and followed them assuming correctly
they were heading for land. This course lead him first to an island in the Bahamas in
October of 1492. The Taínos called his island Guanahani, and when
Columbus landed he took “possession” of it in the name of the King
Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and renamed it San Salvador (Saint Savior).
Guided by the Bahamian Chief he proceeded to visit other islands. On
Christmas Eve 1492 the Santa Maria ran into
a coral reef off the coast of Haiti and and was
Santa Maria ran
into coral reef and was dismantled with the help of the Tainos.
the help of the local Indians, Columbus
removed supplies, dismantled the ship's timbers and established La Navidad,
a colony around two houses donated by the local “Cacique” . Hence he
left behind 39 crewmen, including a carpenter, caulker, physician, gunner,
tailor and cooper. He also left water casks and oils jars to collect gold.
The men were told to trade with the Indians and collect as much gold as
possible and hold it for his return. Columbus
then instructed them to build a fort with a moat to impress the Indians and
to use in case of danger.
1493 Columbus returned to Spain on
Nina. The Pinta followed. The return trip was quite rough, most of the crew
were sick and 4 of the 6 Indians he brought with him to show off his
success, died. Columbus and his small
band arrived in Palos de la Frontera on 15 March after stopping in Lisbon for repairs.
and celebrations were held in his honour. The crown appointed a special
committee to acquire provisions and organize men for further expeditions.
Departs from Palos,
Spain (near Huelva)
Departs Gomera (Canary
Islands) after repair and refit.
1492/10/12 New world sighted at 2:00 a.m. by Rodrigo de Triana.
Alonso Pinzón, captain of the Pinta, deserts the expedition off Cuba.
1492/12/1 Columbus arrives at Hispaniola.
Santa Maria sinks off Hispaniola.
founds La Navidad.
Pinzón rejoins Columbus.
1493/1/16 Columbus departs Hispaniola for Spain.
1493/2/15 Sights Santa Maria
Island in the Azores.
Arrives at Lisbon, Portugal.
Returns to Palos,
Columbus noticed two things about the Tainos:
1. They wore gold jewellery.
most advanced weapon was the spear.
“With 50 men we could subjugate
them all and make them do whatever we want.” wrote Columbus. “They traded with us and gave
us everything they had, with good will…they took great delight in pleasing
us..They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they
murder or steal…Your highness may believe that in all the world there can
be no better people…They love their neighbours as themselves, and they have
the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing.”
In October, Christopher Columbus
‘discovered’ the New World, and a year later,May 4, 1493 the Pope Alexander
VI issued a Papal Bull that granted the Spanish crown sovereignty over all
the lands inhabited by non-Christians that they might continue discovering
in the Atlantic. Isabel and Ferdinand’s grandson Charles was the heir to
three of European dynasties and by 1519 he ruled over several territories
in Central, Western, and Southern Europe, and all the Spanish Colonies in
the Caribbean, America
The return of Christopher Columbus; his audience before King Ferdinand and
painting by Eugène Delacroix
Translation of the
Papal Bull Inter Caetera
issued by Pope Alexander VI, May 4, 1493.
servant of the servants of God, to the illustrious sovereigns, our very
dear son in Christ, Ferdinand, king, and our very dear daughter in Christ,
Isabella, queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon, Sicily, and Granada, health and
Among other works
well pleasing to the Divine Majesty and cherished of our heart, this
assuredly ranks highest, that in our times especially the Catholic faith
and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and
spread, that the health of souls be cared for and that barbarous nations be
overthrown and brought to the faith itself.
as by the favor of divine clemency, we, though of insufficient merits, have
been called to this Holy See of Peter, recognizing that as true Catholic
kings and princes, such as we have known you always to be, and as your
illustrious deeds already known to almost the whole world declare, you not
only eagerly desire but with every effort, zeal, and diligence, without
regard to hardships, expenses, dangers, with the shedding even of your
blood, are laboring to that end; recognizing also that you have long since
dedicated to this purpose your whole soul and all your endeavors — as
witnessed in these times with so much glory to the Divine Name in your
recovery of the kingdom of Granada from the yoke of the Saracens — we
therefore are rightly led, and hold it as our duty, to grant you even of
our own accord and in your favor those things whereby with effort each day
more hearty you may be enabled for the honor of God himself and the spread
of the Christian rule to carry forward your holy and praiseworthy purpose
so pleasing to immortal God.
We have indeed
learned that you, who for a long time had intended to seek out and discover
certain islands and mainlands remote and unknown and not hitherto
discovered by others, to the end that you might bring to the worship of our
Redeemer and the profession of the Catholic faith their residents and
inhabitants, having been up to the present time greatly engaged in the
siege and recovery of the kingdom itself of Granada were unable to
accomplish this holy and praiseworthy purpose; but the said kingdom having
at length been regained, as was pleasing to the Lord, you, with the wish to
fulfill your desire, chose our beloved son, Christopher Columbus, a man
assuredly worthy and of the highest recommendations and fitted for so great
an undertaking, whom you furnished with ships and men equipped for like
designs, not without the greatest hardships, dangers, and expenses, to make
diligent quest for these remote and unknown mainlands and islands through
the sea, where hitherto no one had sailed; and they at length, with divine
aid and with the utmost diligence sailing in the ocean sea, discovered
certain very remote islands and even mainlands that hitherto had not been
discovered by others; wherein dwell very many peoples living in peace, and,
as reported, going unclothed, and not eating flesh.
Moreover, as your
aforesaid envoys are of opinion, these very peoples living in the said
islands and countries believe in one God, the Creator in heaven, and seem
sufficiently disposed to embrace the Catholic faith and be trained in good
And it is hoped
that, were they instructed, the name of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ,
would easily be introduced into the said countries and islands.
Also, on one of the
chief of these aforesaid islands the said Christopher has already caused to
be put together and built a fortress fairly equipped, wherein he has
stationed as garrison certain Christians, companions of his, who are to
make search for other remote and unknown islands and mainlands.
In the islands and
countries already discovered are found gold, spices, and very many other
precious things of divers kinds and qualities.
becomes Catholic kings and princes, after earnest consideration of all
matters, especially of the rise and spread of the Catholic faith, as was
the fashion of your ancestors, kings of renowned memory, you have purposed
with the favor of divine clemency to bring under your sway the said
mainlands and islands with their residents and inhabitants and to bring
them to the Catholic faith.
commending in the Lord this your holy and praiseworthy purpose, and
desirous that it be duly accomplished, and that the name of our Savior be
carried into those regions, we exhort you very earnestly in the Lord and by
your reception of holy baptism, whereby you are bound to our apostolic
commands, and by the bowels of the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, enjoin
strictly, that inasmuch as with eager zeal for the true faith you design to
equip and despatch this expedition, you purpose also, as is your duty, to
lead the peoples dwelling in those islands and countries to embrace the
Christian religion; nor at any time let dangers or hardships deter you
therefrom, with the stout hope and trust in your hearts that Almighty God
will further your undertakings.
And, in order that
you may enter upon so great an undertaking with greater readiness and
heartiness endowed with the benefit of our apostolic favor, we, of our own
accord, not at your instance nor the request of anyone else in your regard,
but of our own sole largess and certain knowledge and out of the fullness
of our apostolic power, by the authority of Almighty God conferred upon us
in blessed Peter and of the vicarship of Jesus Christ, which we hold on
earth, do by tenor of these presents, should any of said islands have been
found by your envoys and captains, give, grant, and assign to you and your
heirs and successors, kings of Castile and Leon, forever, together with all
their dominions, cities, camps, places, and villages, and all rights,
jurisdictions, and appurtenances, all islands and mainlands found and to be
found, discovered and to be discovered towards the west and south, by
drawing and establishing a line from the Arctic pole, namely the north, to
the Antarctic pole, namely the south, no matter whether the said mainlands
and islands are found and to be found in the direction of India or towards
any other quarter, the said line to be distant one hundred leagues towards
the west and south from any of the islands commonly known as the Azores and
With this proviso
however that none of the islands and mainlands, found and to be found,
discovered and to be discovered, beyond that said line towards the west and
south, be in the actual possession of any Christian king or prince up to
the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ just past from which the present year
one thousand four hundred and ninety-three begins.
And we make,
appoint, and depute you and your said heirs and successors lords of them
with full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind; with
this proviso however, that by this our gift, grant, and assignment no right
acquired by any Christian prince, who may be in actual possession of said
islands and mainlands prior to the said birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ,
is hereby to be understood to be withdrawn or taken away.
Moreover we command
you in virtue of holy obedience that, employing all due diligence in the
premises, as you also promise — nor do we doubt your compliance therein in
accordance with your loyalty and royal greatness of spirit — you should
appoint to the aforesaid mainlands and islands worthy, God-fearing,
learned, skilled, and experienced men, in order to instruct the aforesaid
inhabitants and residents in the Catholic faith and train them in good
penalty of excommunication late sententie to be incurred ipso facto, should
anyone thus contravene, we strictly forbid all persons of whatsoever rank,
even imperial and royal, or of whatsoever estate, degree, order, or
condition, to dare, without your special permit or that of your aforesaid
heirs and successors, to go for the purpose of trade or any other reason to
the islands or mainlands, found and to be found, discovered and to be
discovered, towards the west and south, by drawing and establishing a line
from the Arctic pole to the Antarctic pole, no matter whether the mainlands
and islands, found and to be found, lie in the direction of India or toward
any other quarter whatsoever, the said line to be distant one hundred
leagues towards the west and south, as is aforesaid, from any of the
islands commonly known as the Azores and Cape Verde; apostolic
constitutions and ordinances and other decrees whatsoever to the contrary
We trust in Him from
whom empires and governments and all good things proceed, that, should you,
with the Lord’s guidance, pursue this holy and praiseworthy undertaking, in
a short while your hardships and endeavors will attain the most felicitous
result, to the happiness and glory of all Christendom.
But inasmuch as it
would be difficult to have these present letters sent to all places where
desirable, we wish, and with similar accord and knowledge do decree, that
to copies of them, signed by the hand of a public notary commissioned
therefor, and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical officer or
ecclesiastical court, the same respect is to be shown in court and outside
as well as anywhere else as would be given to these presents should they
thus be exhibited or shown.
Let no one,
therefore, infringe, or with rash boldness contravene, this our
recommendation, exhortation, requisition, gift, grant, assignment,
constitution, deputation, decree, mandate, prohibition, and will.
presume to attempt this, be it known to him that he will incur the wrath of
Almighty God and of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s,
in the year of the incarnation of our Lord one thousand four hundred and
ninety-three, the fourth of May, and the first year of our pontificate.
Gratis by order of
our most holy lord, the pope.
The Second Voyage of Columbus.
(Conquest of West Indies)
Christopher Columbus set sail on
his second voyage to the Americas
on September 24, 1493. If the first voyage was just exploratory.
With the “divine” Papal permission, the second voyage was a naval
conquest. Hence this time Columbus
took 17 ships and 1,200 men, with no women on board all
eager to find wealth and immense riches. On November 3, 1493, he landed
on an island that he named Dominica.
On November 22, he landed on Hispaniola
and spent some time exploring the interior of the island for gold. He left
Hispaniola on April 24, 1494, and arrived at the island of Juana (Cuba) on April 30 and then onto Jamaica on May 5 .Finally, Columbus arrived at the Hispaniola
spot where he had left his men the year before. He found his fort in ruins
and his men dead. The Chief Guacanagari told him the massacre had been
ordered by the chief from across the mountains in Southern
Hispaniola (Caonabo) because these men had mistreated their
people violently. They apparently began to exploit the local Taíno
Indians by stealing their possessions and raping their women.
Caonabo was the chief of the
areas responsible for the killing of his people and Columbus wanted to have revenge. He
sent an emissary to visit Caonabo . Columbus lured
out of his town with gifts and offers of a safe passage back on horseback.
Caonabo was captured and Columbus took him
back with him to Spain. Caoban He
explored the south coast of Juana before returning to Hispaniola
on August 20. After staying for a time on the western end, present-day Haiti, he finally returned to Spain. . It
was in 1496 when he sailed back home. This time he did not
receive a hero's welcome.
Second voyage of Columbus, 1493
The Grand Fleet of 17 ships departs Cadiz.
Departs Hierro (Canary Islands),
of Dominica sighted at dawn; Guadeloupe shortly after.
Returns to Navidad, finds fort destroyed.
Founds new colony of La Isabella.
Sails from Isabella in search of mainland.
Arrives at Cuba.
Arrives at Jamaica.
Returns to Cuba.
Starts the return to La Isabella.
Departs from La Isabella for Spain.
Reaches the coast of Portugal.
Columbus sailed home from his second voyage with over a thousand captives
bound for slave auctions in Cádiz (many died en route, their bodies tossed
overboard). He envisioned a future market for New World gold, spices,
cotton, and “as many slaves as Their Majesties order to make, from among
those who are idolators,”
Columbus’s emphasis on words like “idolators” were intended to soothen the
religious sentiments to make enslavement of Tainos legally permissible.
left on this 3rd voyage. This time he was given only 6 ships, few
volunteers and a bunch of convicts for colonists. Still looking for a
passage to India, he
discovered the mainland of South America.
only good news for Columbus
came from La Espanola where the Spaniards had found gold nuggets. The mines
still weren’t producing enough gold,and men rebelled against his rule,
there were many killings of Taíno Indians under his command, and the king
and queen were forced to send a new administrator to take over the
government. They were so shocked to find what they saw in such disarray
that they sent Columbus back to Spain
unceremoniously and he was actually jailed. Columbus’ grant of the colony for him and
his family was revoked. Nevertheless, he and his brothers were
arrested by a royal judge and returned to Spain in 1500, accused of
mismanaging their responsibilities as royal governors of the Spanish
colonies. The king and queen released Columbus
but they took the complaints of the colonists very seriously and
initiated some reforms, stripping Columbus and his brothers of their
Departs from Sanlucar,
Arrives at Gomera (Canary
Islands); splits fleet into two squadrons.
Departs from the Cape Verde Islands.
Arrives at Trinidad.
Leaves the Gulf of Paria,
arrives at Margartia.
Arrives at Hispaniola.
is arrested and sent home in chains.
Fourth voyage of Columbus, 1503
Central America and explored the costs of Honduras,
Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
Voyage of Columbus
monarchs permitted Columbus
to make a final voyage in 1502, this time as a private venture without
their partnership. They continued to address him as Admiral, but they
forbade him to exercise any governing powers on the islands he had brought
under their sovereignty.
1502 with only 4 ships he left on his last voyage. He coasted along the
shores of South America still hoping to find the treasures of India. This
voyage was disastrous. Columbus returned to Spain, a
beaten man - as distrusted foreigner of faded glory and tarnished
Columbus died in 1506, crippled by gout and arthritis,
still with the illusion of having found India. We can see him sitting
by the window of his monastic room, dipping a weevil free sea biscuit in a
bowl of Caldo de Perro Gaditano, the Cadiz
style fish broth prepared for him by his Franciscan friends, gazing into
the line of the horizon, seeing perhaps the distant gold roofs of China
Departs from Cadiz, Spain,
with four ships.
Arrives at Santo Domingo, Hispaniola.
Arrives at the
Mosquito Coast, modern Nicaragua.
garrison at Rio Belen.
attacked by Indians and abandoned.
Belen for home.
and abandoned at Jamaica,
Columbus returns to Spain.
Columbus dies at Valladolid.
Columbus returned to Jamaica
during his fourth voyage to the Americas. Columbus
sailed through coasts of Jamaica
and Cuba and crossed the
Caribbean Sea to Central America and explored the coast from Honduras to Panama. . He had been
sailing around the Caribbean nearly a year when a storm beached his ships
in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica,
on June 25, 1503.
For a year Columbus and his men
remained stranded on Jamaica.
A Spaniard, Diego Mendez, and some natives paddled a canoe to get help from
Hispaniola. The island's governor, Nicolás
de Ovando y Cáceres, detested Columbus
and obstructed all efforts to rescue him and his men. In the meantime, Columbus allegedly
mesmerized the natives by correctly predicting a lunar eclipse for February
29, 1504. Columbus
was marooned there for an entire year, living in the stranded ships and on
food supplied to him by the local Taíno indians.
Help finally arrived, from the
governor, on June 29, 1504, and Columbus and his men arrived in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Castile, on November 7, 1504.
He returned to spain
and died two years later on 1506/5/20
Voyages” by Christopher Columbus;
How a Total Lunar Eclipse Saved Christopher
Joe Rao, Space.com Skywatching Columnist | October 12, 2014 10:44am ET
Columbus discovered from studying
the almanac that on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 29, 1504, a total
lunar eclipse would occur, beginning around the time of
He requested a
meeting for that day with the Cacique, the leader, and told him that
God was angry with the local people's treatment of Columbus and his
said God would provide a clear sign of displeasure by making the rising
full Moon appear "inflamed with wrath"
eclipse and the red Moon appeared on schedule, and the indigenous people
were impressed and frightened. The son of Columbus, Ferdinand, wrote that
” with great howling and lamentation they came running from every
direction to the ships, laden with provisions, praying the Admiral to
intercede by all means with God on their behalf; that he might not visit
his wrath upon them ... “
Columbus went into his cabin to pray and
timed the eclipse with his hourglass, and shortly before the totality ended
after 48 minutes, he told the frightened indigenous people that they were
going to be forgiven.When the Moon started to reappear from the shadow of
the Earth, he told them that God had pardoned them.. They then kept Columbus and his men well supplied and well fed until
a relief caravel from Hispaniola arrived
on June 29, 1504. Columbus and his men returned to Spain on
Ashes of Columbus