“You’ll never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus could be considered the most famous explorer of the Age of Discovery. Here are a few facts about Christopher Columbus – Some you may know, others you may not…

  1. Christopher Columbus was not his real name.  The name he was actually given when he was born in Genoa was Cristoforo Colombo.
  2. Christopher Columbus began a career as a seafarer at the age of fourteen and later supported himself by selling maps and charts.
  3. Half of his voyages ended in disaster.  On Columbus’ famed 1492 voyage, his flagship the Santa Maria ran aground and sank, causing him to leave 39 men behind at a settlement named La Navidad. He was supposed to return to Spain loaded with spices and other valuable goods and knowledge of an important new trade route. Instead, he returned empty-handed and without the best of the three ships entrusted to him. On his fourth voyage, his ship rotted out from under him and he spent a year with his men marooned on Jamaica.
  4. Queen Isabella was hesitant to fund Columbus’s voyage.  It took her six years to agree. Christopher Columbus, having given up, was four miles out of town when the Queen’s courier caught up with him and shared the news.
  5. Once he received the money and the ships, Columbus still had a hard time trying to find a crew. Many people still believed that the earth was flat and that at some point a ship would hit a waterfall and fall off of the side of the earth.
  6. Christopher Columbus’s first voyage with the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria began on August 3, 1492. On October 12, 1492 a sailor on the Pinta shouted “Tierra!” or “Land!”
  7. Christopher Columbus and his crew were actually seeing the island of San Salvador, 375 miles off of the coast of Florida.
  8. On Christmas Eve Christopher Columbus allowed an experienced boy to steer the Santa Maria and later that night the ship crashed onto a reef near Hispaniola. Only the Nina and Pinta would return to Spain.
  9. Even though he made three return trips west, Christopher Columbus never actually stepped foot on the mainland of North America.
  10. Columbus died in Spain in 1506, and his remains were kept there for a while before being sent to Santo Domingo in 1537. There they remained until 1795, when they were sent to Havana and in 1898 they supposedly went back to Spain. In 1877, however, a box full of bones bearing his name was found in Santo Domingo. Since then, two cities – Seville, Spain and Santo Domingo – claim to have his remains. In each city, the bones in question are housed in elaborate mausoleums.

Sources:  About.com; Biography.com; Yahoo.com

We hope you found these facts about Christopher Columbus interesting!  Happy Columbus Day!

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