• Christopher Columbus was born in
Genoa, Italy in 1451.
• He became an experienced sailor at a young
age and went on many voyages.
• Columbus believed that he could reach the Spice Islands by
travelling west instead of east. He studied old maps and
decided to embark on a voyage to find out. He also wanted to
spread Christianity. He needed funding so he went to Queen
Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. They gave Columbus
funding for his voyage, men and three ships and so he set off
from the port of Palos with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta
and the Santa Maria. Columbus himself travelled on the Santa
Maria. He brought about 90 men.
• Columbus and his men first sailed to the Canary Islands where
they took supplies and carried out repairs on the ships. On the
6th of September 1492 they left the Canaries. It was not often
ships left the sight of land unless they know where they are
going so that fact made this voyage very risky. Many of the
crew thought they would never see Spain again. On the 12th
of October land was spotted and Columbus went ashore and
claimed the land for Spain. He named the Island San Salvador.
Because he thought he had reached Asia he named the
• Columbus soon reached Cuba, but he thought is was Japan.
From Cuba he sailed to Hispaniola (present day Haiti and
Dominican Republic.) On Christmas day the Santa Maria hit a
rock and was abandoned. Columbus then decided to return
home. He travelled on the Nina. He reached Portugal in March
1493 and soon after returned to Spain. He received a hero's
welcome when he returned. He had brought with him some
captured Indians and brought back a little gold. The King and
Queen were delighted at the prospect of the riches in the
lands Columbus had discovered so they agreed to a second
voyage to claim these lands for Spain.
• Columbus urged Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand
to protect the new discoveries and so Portugal and
Spain decided to split the new lands. They drew a
line through the Atlantic ocean and whatever was
west of the line belonged to Spain and what was east
went to Portugal. This was the Treaty of Tordesillas
and it came into action in 1494.
• In all Columbus sailed three further voyages. He
explored Central and South America but never North
America. He discovered Puerto Rico, Trinidad,
Jamaica, Panama and the mouth of the Orinoco
River. Although he made all these discoveries
Columbus never discovered the passage to the East,
although he discovered what was called the New
World. His discoveries later inspired many explorers
to travel west . He died in 1506 at Valladolid.