History on Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa between August and October 1451. His father was a weaver and small-time merchant As a teenager, Christopher went to sea, travelled extensively and eventually made Portugal his base. It was here that he initially attempted to gain royal patronage for a westward voyage to the Orient - his 'enterprise of the Indies'.
Between 1477 and 1482 Columbus made merchant voyages as far away as Iceland and Guinea. But in 1484, his "Enterprise of the Indies" idea fell on deaf ears when he presented it to King John of Portugal. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Spain, where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella became more interested in his adventuresome ideas.
On August 2, 1492, Columbus set sail in search of the East Indies. The voyage was financed by Ferdinand and Isabella by making the city of Palos pay back a debt to the crown by providing two of the ships, and by getting Italian financial backing for part of the expenses. The crown had to put up very little money from the treasury.
Columbus and 90 crewmen boarded the three ships that were to make the first voyage to the New World, the Niņa, Pinta, and the flagship,Santa Maria. On October 12, 1492, Columbus first saw the islands of the new world, landing in the Bahamas. Later in the month, he would sail to Cuba, and to Hispaniola (now Haiti). He thought he had reached the East Indies, the islands off Southeast Asia.
Later on, he demanded through a series of legal demands and claims that the crown should give him a tenth of all the profits from all the lands that he had explored. Of course, the Spanish Crown rejected his demands; however, the lengthy legal process named pleitos colombinos ended in arbitration, subsequently giving Columbus the title of"Admiral of Indies" and the possession of Jamaica andHispaniola, together with a payment of 1000 ducats.
In the course of these travels, he fell in love with and married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, the daughter of the famous Bartolomeo Perestrelo of Portugal. In 1479, they had their first and only son Diego, and after spending some time with his infant, Christopher Columbus set sail again to the Portuguese trading posts along Guinea as well as the surrounding islands.
Much controversy exists over Columbus' expeditions and whether or not one can "discover" an already-inhabited land. The natives of the Bahamas and other islands on his journey were peaceful and friendly. Yet many of them were later enslaved by the Spanish. Also, it is known that the Vikings explored the North American coast 500 years before Columbus.