Christopher Columbus


Christopher Columbus


On Columbus’s first voyage west, in 1492, his crew were understandably uneasy about the trip through unknown waters, to an unknown destination, and for an unknown period of time. To reassure the sailors and disguise the true length of the journey, Columbus kept two logs: one the real distances traveled as he reckoned them, and the other giving shorter ones so that the crew would think they were closer to home than they actually were. The irony is that it turned out the falsified figures were more accurate than the ones Columbus kept in the “true” log.


Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.

~Christopher Columbus
Biographical Note: 

Columbus was an Italian-born discoverer of the New World, born in Genoa, Italy. He went to sea at 14, was shipwrecked off Portugal, and settled there c. 1470. His plans to reach India by sailing were rejected by John II of Portugal, but finally supported by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. He set sail from Saltes (3 Aug 1492) in the Santa Maria, with 50 men, and attended by the Pinta and the Niña. He reached the Bahamas (12 Oct), then visited Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti), where he left a small colony. He returned to Spain (15 Mar 1493) to be received with the highest honours by the court. His second voyage (1493–6) led to the discovery of several Caribbean islands. On his third voyage (1498–1500) he discovered the South American mainland, but after a revolt against his command, he was sent home in irons by a newly appointed royal governor. Restored to favor in Spain, he went on his last great voyage (1502–4) along the side of the Gulf of Mexico. He died at Valladolid, in Spain, but in 1536 his remains and those of his son Diego were removed to Santo Domingo, in Hispaniola. They were returned to Spain in 1899, and interred in Seville Cathedral.

More Information: 

Read a short biography of Christopher Columbus.
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Image Info

Image above is Portrait of a Man, Said to be Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo — Metropolitan Museum of Art, online collection