Land A’hoy! Christopher Columbus

In the past few weeks we have learned lots about Latin America and how it was “discovered” by Christopher Columbus. Check out these fantastic facts that we discovered ourselves.

  • Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451.
  • Columbus was inspired by the likes of a fellow Italian, Marco Polo. He was the first European to reach Asia and China.
  • Columbus’s vision was to sail West onto Asia and the Indies. In his mind this would be a more direct route and therefore would cut down the time you would need to spend at sea.
  • He approached numerous heads of state and leaders from Europe to finance his adventure. The King and Queen of Spain reluctantly agreed.
  • On 3rd August 1492 he set sail from Palos, Spain on his maritime adventure. Before he sailed off into the Western unknown, he stopped off at the Canary Islands to replenish his stocks.
  • There were three ships in total, the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria.
  • The darkness and emptiness overtook Columbus’s crew and they became afraid. Columbus remained resolute in his vision and after 36 days at sea, they finally discovered land. The Bahamas.
  • Columbus had discovered the New World. He however thought he had circumnavigated the globe and landed in the Indies!
  • As Columbus believed he was in the Indies, he christened the natives, Indians.
  • Columbus returned to Spain with many artefacts including potatoes, tomatoes and even Native Americans to boast of his exploits.
  • Although Columbus arrived in the New World with three ships, he returned to Spain with only two after the Santa Maria ran aground on a reef. Columbus’s decision to abandon the ship was a fatal decision as all 40 crew were found dead when Columbus returned on a later voyage.
  • In total, Columbus made four voyages across the Atlantic. He discovered land in several Caribbean Islands, Central America and South America. On each occasion, Columbus thought he had landed in the Indies and Asia.
  • It was another Italian man called Amerigo Vespucci who realised that these lands were in fact a new continent and not Asia and the Indies. Therefore the New World was named after him, America.
  • Regardless of Columbus’s errors, he is still widely recognised as the person that discovered the Americas and instigated many other transatlantic voyages through his courage, determination and persistence.
  • It is important to note that Leif Erikson, a Viking, is considered the first European to land in North America way back in the year 1000 AD sometime. Approximately 450 years before Columbus.
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