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Christopher Columbus Discovered the Americas

Christopher Columbus was the first man to chart where America was. He was born in 1451, in Genoa Italy, and grew up learning many different sciences and reading books of Marco Polo, who is famous for “The Book of Travels”, as he traveled from Europe to Asia. Columbus was a religious man and wanted to free Constantinople from the Turks and spread the gospel to China.

     He went on four voyages from 1492-1503, all funded by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. Columbus knew that because Constantinople was in the heart of the Muslim world, it would be hard to travel East. The silk road to China, was also quite difficult to travel. Columbus proposed sailing west around the world to China. This concept of a spherical earth did not originate with Columbus but instead, was an ancient idea from Ptolemy and Aristotle’s time. His journeys discovered the American Continent.

      King John II of Italy refused to help through, because most people of his day believed that sailing west would only end terribly. Columbus tried again to fund his expedition by talking with Catholic Monarchs. Queen Isabella I of Castile’s advisors did not believe this was possible and advised against funding it. However, the king and queen did not want Columbus to make someone else rich by finding treasure on the island, so they gave him an annual allowance to fund his journey. He had finally made it.

     Columbus spent two years negotiating with the Spanish king and queen, before he finally got a “yes” in January 1492. King Ferdinand II, who was the husband of Isabella I, agreed to fund Columbus, and along with some Italian funds, preparations for the voyage could now be made. The first three ships in his first journey were the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Columbus discovered the island of San Salvador five weeks later.

     Columbus was surprised by the welcoming nature of the people and their lack of modern weaponry. It did not occur to him at first that he had not landed in China, but instead on a new continent. After sailing around the Caribbean, he returned to Spain in March of 1503. In the end, his adventures were very successful and useful to all of Europe.  


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