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Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
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Christopher Columbus


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  • 1.
    • How did Europeans of late 15th century Europe view their world?
    • Who was Christopher Columbus?
    • How did Columbus finance his voyages?
    • Why did Columbus choose to embark on his voyage?
    • Where did Columbus land in the New World and who did he encounter?
    • How would one describe Columbus’s encounter(s) with New World inhabitants?
    Christopher Columbus
  • 2. The World Is Round?
    • Columbus knew the world was round!
      • A round world was believed to be true even by the Ancient Greeks
    • Pythagoras (570 B.C.E.)
      • Said Earth and planets were spheres
        • Believed the most harmonious geometric form is the sphere
    • Aristotle (384 B.C.E. – 322 B.C.E.)
      • Was Plato’s prized student
      • Said Earth had a curved surface
      • Supported his theory by offering other arguments:
        • The shadow of Earth on the Moon during a lunar eclipse is round
  • 3. The World Is Round?
    • Others offered evidence as well :
      • A ship returning to port
      • First the mast is seen, then sails, & then hull
    • The Dark Ages (400 – 1200 C.E.)
      • Greek knowledge was temporarily forgotten
      • Maps were made based on religious beliefs and not science
        • Rectangular maps showed the “Four corners of the Earth”
        • Circular maps placed Jerusalem at the center of the world
    • Renaissance was a re-birth of Greek ideas
      • Christopher Columbus was born during this rebirth period in Europe
  • 4. Who Was Columbus?
    • Italian navigator, colonizer & explorer
    • Born in 1451 in Genoa (today Italy)
    • His father was a wool weaver
      • He also had a cheese stand
    • He probably received some education
    • In May 1476, he took part in a convoy to northern Europe
      • In 1476 he possibly docked in Iceland
  • 5. Who Was Columbus?
    • Wasn't the first to reach the Americas
      • He was preceded some 500 years by Leif Ericson, and perhaps others
    • But Columbus did initiate the widespread contact between Europeans and Native Americans
    • His 1492 voyage came at a critical time for the states in Europe
      • There was growing imperialism and economic competition between European nations
    • They were seeking wealth from trade routes to help their empires grow
  • 6. Navigation Plans: Why did he go?
    • Constantinople was lost to the Turks (1453)
      • Land route to Asia became more difficult
      • Silk and spices became harder to trade
    • Columbus developed a plan to travel to the Indies by sailing west across the Atlantic
    • What he did do was incorrectly calculate the size of the earth
      • No ship at the time could carry enough food and water for a journey of the actual distance
    • Spain was desperate for an edge in trade
      • Columbus’s calculations promised this advantage
    • All Europeans believed the oceanic expanse was uninterrupted
  • 7. Funding the Campaign
    • In 1485, Columbus presented his plans to the King of Portugal, John II
      • The King submitted the proposal to his experts…who rejected it
      • It was their opinion that his proposed route of 2,400 miles was far too short
        • They were right: it’s actually about 12,200 sm
    • So…Columbus sought an audience from Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Spain
      • Spain, like Portugal, judged Columbus’s distance to Asia much too short
    • He continued to lobby the Spanish court for two years
  • 8. Funding the Campaign
    • In 1492 he succeeded!
      • King Ferdinand granted Columbus permission
      • About ½ of the financing came from private Italian investors
    • The Contract:
      • If he discovered any new land, he would receive many “high rewards”
      • Appointed Governor of new lands
      • Given the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea
      • Would be entitled to 10 percent of all the revenues from the new lands
    • The terms were generous, why?
      • They didn't expect him to return
  • 9. His Voyage
    • On August 3, 1492, Columbus departed with three ships:
      • Santa María, Pinta, and the…
        • Santa Clara
          • Nicknamed Niña
    • On September 6, he started his 5-week voyage across the ocean
    • September 9 he began keeping two logs
    • Why?
      • One had the true course and distance
      • The other a smaller course and distance to make the crew happy
  • 10. Land Discovered
    • At 2am on October 12, 1492, a sailor aboard the Pinta sighted land
    • Columbus called the island San Salvador
    • Columbus searched for gold on San Salvador
    • He spent 96 days exploring small islands in the Bahamas looking for gold
    • He encountered the indigenous people, the Taíno, who were peaceful and friendly
    • Columbus also explored Cuba and Hispaniola
  • 11. The Returns
    • Before returning to Spain:
      • He left 39 men and founded La Navidad in what is now Haiti
      • He kidnapped 10 to 25 natives and took them back with him
    • He began his return voyage to Spain and reached Europe in 1493
    • New World Return
      • September 1493 he made a return trip with:
        • 17 ships
        • Several hundred armed soldiers
        • 5 priests
        • More than 1,000 colonists
    • Colonization had begun