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Archive for the ‘Explorers’ Category

Christopher Columbus Biography

Posted On April 15th, 2008 By Celebrity Biographies

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus is that individual who holds the credit for bringing two unknown worlds close to each other. He is the navigator who sailed west of the Atlantic Ocean in search of a direct route to Asia but accidentally ended up discovering the Americas.

Early Life

There is an ongoing argument over the place and date of birth of Christopher Columbus, however, it is widely accepted that he was born in Genoa, Italy around the year 1451. His father’s name happened to be Domenico Colombo. His father worked as a weaver and his mother was named Susanna Fontanarossa. Besides, he had three brothers whose names were Bartolommeo, Giovanni Pellegrino and Giacomo. A lot of information about Columbus’ childhood is not available and hence all that we can rely on are his writings. It was also concluded from one of his journals that he had first gone to the sea at an early age of ten years. Christopher spent most of his childhood weaving with his father and thereafter he turned out as a sailor across Mediterranean. His younger brother Bartholomew was an expert chart maker and that’s the reason Christopher is also known as one of the good chart makers of that age. Christopher’s early discoveries include that of Lisbon around the year 1476. That age was usually referred to as the “golden age of Portuguese exploration”. He was then engaged as a sugar buyer in the islands of Madeira, Cape Verde and Azores. On his way he met several navigators and pilots and he was amused by the fact that they all believed that there were islands existing far west. He paid his tribute to his native country but he never took up any citizenship and remained a Genoese all his life. In 1479, he married Dona Fillipa Perestrelloe Moniz.

At the same time as he reached thirty one years of age, he became a master sailor and he happened to be motivated by a number of people of the same profession. His brother was one of those who accompanied the ship during the discovery of Cape of Good Hope. Christopher was one of those who believed that some land was to be discovered when sailed across the West. A lot of attempts were made before this by sailors to find lands in the west, but none of them succeeded. Columbus was unique and that’s the only reason he was persistent enough and stuck to his plan for realizing his dream.

The Darker Side

The American media portrays Columbus as a good and a humble Christian, however, a lot of accounts prove that Christopher was the one to only preach the good word but hardly followed it himself. In one of his private diaries, he believed that the world will end completely in the year 1650. Christopher in company with the other Spaniards often placed bets as to who could slice the Native American in exactly two halves. Such acts were passed to the next generation as well. His son Ferdinand wrote a book in order to scare the Native Americans called “Indians and Christians”.

In addition, Christopher strongly supported slavery and there are a number of places in his narratives that prove that he had put the Native Americans to work in the mines and plantations of himself as well as his followers. Such is an act of clean cruelty and devastating unawareness. Thus it wouldn’t be wrong to conclude that the American perception of Columbus as a person is false. Scores of contemporary historians believe that most of his discoveries were a birth of slavery and yet, such reviews are never exposed in text books. We happily celebrate Columbus Day every year in memory of such a person since the year 1792. He is indeed the American hero today, but do we all have enough evidence to prove that?

Voyages and Theories

Christopher was an intelligent individual. He never claimed that his idea of sailing to the west was original, as a matter of fact; Christopher was a strong believer of science. He flipped over all the knowledge that was collected through a number of years. He worked out a number of theories to help him in his navigation. During the Greek and the Roman times, it was believed that there was a huge water body that connected Europe and Asia. Hence one could ideally sail from east to west and vice versa.

Christopher’s ideas about the size of the globe and the distance between Asia and Europe were based on pure calculations illustrated in the geographical manuscripts of the second century. Unfortunately, his calculations were not as accurate as he thought them to be and his discovery of the Americas is a proof to that. He actually believed that he had successfully reached Asia and celebrated his success only to realize how wrong he was.

With every progressing voyage, Christopher decided to seek the royal patronage and with some extra efforts, the Portuguese kingdom had supported the explorations for more then a century. Thus all discoveries across the Atlantic were Portuguese. It was also very well known that the King John II was personally responsible for sailing around Africa and hunting down the direct route to Asia.

To over stress the chronological importance of Christopher Columbus is complicated. Amazing transformations took place from his voyages. At the same time as he failed to come across a new-fangled way to Asia, Columbus introduced the western culture to the Europeans and that took history to a completely new era. His interactions with the Europeans are known as the important Columbian Exchange in the history of mankind. His voyages were followed with the exchanges in cultures, traditions and goods. Even American diseases such as malaria, small pox and measles were exchanged and that disrupted the Americans. A lot of growth took place on the agricultural front as well.

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