Christopher Columbus

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Christopher Columbus
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{{short description|Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer}}{{Redirect|Cristoforo Colombo||Christopher Columbus (disambiguation)|and|Cristoforo Colombo (disambiguation)}}{{Pp-move-indef|small=yes}}{{Pp-vandalism|small=yes}}{{Use dmy dates|date=October 2019}}

(aged {{circa|54}})
| death_place = Valladolid, Crown of Castile
| spouse = Filipa Moniz Perestrelo
| partner = Beatriz Enríquez de Arana
| children = DiegoFernando
| parents = Domenico ColomboSusanna Fontanarossa
| relatives = Brothers:Giovanni PellegrinoGiacomo (also called Diego)NIE, Columbus, Diego (brother), Columbus, Diego. The youngest brother of Christopher Columbus, – The names Giacomo and Diego are cognates, along with James, all sharing a common origin. See Behind the Name, Mike Campbell, pages Giacomo, Diego, and James. All retrieved 3 February 2017.BartholomewSister:Bianchinetta Columbus
| signature = Columbus Signature.svg
| resting_place = Seville Cathedral, Seville, Spain
}}Christopher Columbus{hide}efn|In other relevant languages: Columbus's early life is somewhat obscure, but scholars generally agree that he was born in the Republic of Genoa and spoke a dialect of Ligurian as his first language. He went to sea at a young age and travelled widely, as far north as the British Isles (and possibly Iceland) and as far south as what is now Ghana. He married Portuguese noblewoman Filipa Moniz Perestrelo and was based in Lisbon for several years, but later took a Castilian mistress; he had one son with each woman. Though largely self-educated, Columbus was widely read in geography, astronomy, and history. He formulated a plan to seek a western sea passage to the East Indies, hoping to profit from the lucrative spice trade.After Columbus lobbied them for years, Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to sponsor a journey west, in the name of the Crown of Castile. Columbus left Castile in August 1492 with three ships, and after a stopover in the Canary Islands made landfall in the Americas on 12 October (later celebrated as Columbus Day). His landing place was an island in the Bahamas, known by its native inhabitants as Guanahani; its exact location is uncertain. Columbus subsequently visited the islands now known as Cuba and Hispaniola, establishing a colony in what is now Haiti—the first European settlement in the Americas since the Norse colonies nearly 500 years earlier. He arrived back in Castile in early 1493, bringing a number of captive natives with him. Word of his discoveries soon spread throughout Europe.Columbus made three further voyages to the New World, exploring the Lesser Antilles in 1493, Trinidad and the northern coast of South America in 1498, and the eastern coast of Central America in 1502. Many of the names he gave to geographical features—particularly islands—are still in use. He continued to seek a passage to the East Indies, and the extent to which he was aware that the Americas were a wholly separate landmass is uncertain; he gave the name indios ("Indians") to the indigenous peoples he encountered. Columbus's strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and removal from Hispaniola in 1500, and later to protracted litigation over the benefits that he and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown.Columbus's expeditions inaugurated a period of exploration, conquest, and colonization that lasted for centuries, helping create the modern Western world. The transfers between the Old World and New World that followed his first voyage are known as the Columbian exchange, and the period of human habitation in the Americas prior to his arrival is referred to as the Pre-Columbian era.Columbus's legacy continues to be debated. He was widely venerated in the centuries after his death, but public perceptions have changed as recent scholars have given greater attention to negative aspects of his life, such as his enslavement of the indigenous population in his quest for gold and his brutal subjugation of the Taíno people, leading to their near-extinction, as well as allegations of tyranny towards Spanish colonists. Many landmarks and institutions in the Western Hemisphere bear his name, including the country of Colombia.

Early life

{{details|topic=Columbus's birthplace and family background|Origin theories of Christopher Columbus}}File:Christopher Columbus at the gates of the monastery of Santa Maria de la Rabida with his son Diego.jpg|thumb|upright|Christopher Columbus at the gates of the monastery of Santa María de la Rábida with his son Diego, by Benet MercadéBenet MercadéThe name Christopher Columbus is the Anglicisation of the Latin Christophorus Columbus. His name in Ligurian is Cristoffa Corombo, in Italian Cristoforo Colombo, in Spanish Cristóbal Colón, and in Portuguese, Cristóvão Colombo.{{sfn|Beazley|1911|p=741}} He was born before 31 October 1451 in the territory of the Republic of Genoa (now part of modern Italy), though the exact location remains disputed.{{sfn|Phillips, Jr|Phillips|1992|p=9}}{{efn|"Even with less than a complete record, however, scholars can state with assurance that Columbus was born in the republic of Genoa in northern Italy, although perhaps not in the city itself, and that his family made a living in the wool business as weavers and merchants. ... The two main early biographies of Columbus have been taken as literal truth by hundreds of writers, in large part because they were written by individuals closely connected to Columbus or his writings. ... Both biographies have serious shortcomings as evidence." {{harv|Phillips, Jr|Phillips|1992|p=9}}}} His father was Domenico Colombo,{{sfn|Beazley|1911|p=741}} a middle-class wool weaver who worked both in Genoa and Savona and who also owned a cheese stand at which young Christopher worked as a helper. His mother was Susanna Fontanarossa.{{sfn|Beazley|1911|p=741}} He had three brothers, Bartolomeo, Giovanni Pellegrino, and Giacomo . He also had a sister named Bianchinetta.BOOK, Bergreen, Lawrence, Columbus The Four Voyages, 1493–1504, 2012, Penguin Group US, 978-0-14-312210-4, His brother Bartolomeo worked in a cartography workshop in Lisbon for at least part of his adulthood.Encyclopædia Britannica, 1993 ed., Vol. 16, pp. 605ff / Morison, Christopher Columbus, 1955 ed., pp. 14ffColumbus never wrote in his native language, which is presumed to have been a Genoese variety of Ligurian: his name in the 16th-century Genoese language would have been CristoffaRime diverse, Pavia, 1595, p. 117 CoromboBOOK,weblink Torquato, Tasso, Ra Gerusalemme deliverâ, Genoa, 1755, 32, Ra Stamparia de Tarigo, 2 February 2012, ({{IPA-lij|kriˈʃtÉ”ffa kuˈɹuÅ‹bu}}).Çittara zeneize – Regole d'Ortografia, Genoa, 1745Consulta ligure, Vocabolario delle parlate liguri, Sage, 1982, {{ISBN|88-7058-044-X}} In one of his writings, he says he went to sea at the age of 10. In 1470, the Columbus family moved to Savona, where Domenico took over a tavern. In the same year, Christopher was on a Genoese ship hired in the service of René of Anjou to support his attempt to conquer the Kingdom of Naples. Some modern historians have argued that he was not from Genoa but, instead, from the Aragon region of SpainThe Daily Telegraph, 14 October 2009, Georgetown University team led by Professor Estelle Irizarry claims that Christopher Columbus was Catalan or from Portugal.da Silva, Manuel Luciano and Silvia Jorge da Silva, 2008. Christopher Columbus was Portuguese. Express Printers, Fall River. {{ISBN|978-1-60702-824-6}}. These competing hypotheses have generally been discounted by mainstream scholars.{{sfn|Davidson|1997|p=3}}{{sfn|Phillips, Jr|Phillips|1992|p=85}}File:ColombusNotesToMarcoPolo.jpg|thumb|left|upright=1.1|Columbus's copy of The Travels of Marco PoloThe Travels of Marco PoloIn 1473, Columbus began his apprenticeship as business agent for the important Centurione, Di Negro and Spinola families of Genoa. Later, he allegedly made a trip to Chios, an Aegean island then ruled by Genoa.WEB,weblink Christopher Columbus,weblink" title="">weblink 23 March 2002, . Thomas C. Tirado, PhD Professor History. Millersville University. In May 1476, he took part in an armed convoy sent by Genoa to carry valuable cargo to northern Europe. He docked in Bristol, England"It is most probable that Columbus visited Bristol, where he was introduced to English commerce with Iceland." Bedini, Silvio A. and David Buisseret (1992). The Christopher Columbus encyclopedia, Volume 1, University of Michigan Press, republished by Simon & Schuster, {{ISBN|0-13-142670-2}}, p. 175 and Galway, Ireland. In 1477, he was possibly in Iceland.{{sfn|Beazley|1911|p=741}} In the autumn of 1477, he sailed on a Portuguese ship from Galway to Lisbon, where he found his brother Bartolomeo, and they continued trading for the Centurione family. Columbus based himself in Lisbon from 1477 to 1485. He married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, daughter of the Porto Santo governor and Portuguese nobleman of Lombard origin Bartolomeu Perestrello.BOOK, Antonio Maria de, Freitas, The Wife of Columbus: With Genealogical Tree of the Perestrello and Moniz Families, Stettinger, Lambert & Co, New York, 1893,weblink In 1479 or 1480, his son Diego Columbus was born. Between 1482 and 1485, Columbus traded along the coasts of West Africa, reaching the Portuguese trading post of Elmina at the Guinea coast (in present-day Ghana)."Christopher Columbus (Italian explorer)". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Some records report that Filipa died sometime around 1485, while Columbus was away in Castile. He returned to Portugal to settle her estate and take his son Diego with him.Paolo Emilio Taviani, "Beatriz Arana" in The Christopher Columbus Encyclopedia, vol. 1, p. 24. New York: Simon and Schuster 1992. He had left Portugal for Castile in 1485, where he found a mistress in 1487, a 20-year-old orphan named Beatriz Enríquez de Arana.WEB,weblink Christopher Columbus Biography, 2,, 29 July 2009, It is likely that Beatriz met Columbus when he was in Córdoba, a gathering site of many Genoese merchants and where the court of the Catholic Monarchs was located at intervals. Beatriz, unmarried at the time, gave birth to Columbus's natural son Fernando Columbus in July 1488, named for the monarch of Aragón. Columbus recognized the boy as his offspring. Columbus entrusted his older, legitimate son Diego to take care of Beatriz and pay the pension set aside for her following his death, but Diego was negligent in his duties.Taviani, "Beatriz Arana" in The Christopher Columbus Encyclopedia, vol. 1, pp. 24–25.Ambitious, Columbus eventually learned Latin, Portuguese, and Castilian. He read widely about astronomy, geography, and history, including the works of Claudius Ptolemy, Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly's Imago Mundi, the travels of Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville, Pliny's Natural History, and Pope Pius II's Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum. According to historian Edmund Morgan,}}Throughout his life, Columbus also showed a keen interest in the Bible and in Biblical prophecies, often quoting biblical texts in his letters and logs. For example, part of the argument that he submitted to the Spanish Catholic Monarchs when he sought their support for his proposed expedition to reach the Indies by sailing west was based on his reading of the Second Book of Esdras (Ezra): see (:wikisource:Bible (King James)/II Esdras#Chapter 6|2 Esdras 6:42), which he took to mean that the Earth is made of six parts of land to one of water. Towards the end of his life, he produced a Book of Prophecies in which his career as an explorer is interpreted in the light of Christian eschatology and of apocalypticism.

Quest for Asia


File:Atlantic Ocean, Toscanelli, 1474.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|Toscanelli's notions of the geography of the Atlantic Ocean (shown superimposed on a modern map), which directly influenced Columbus's plans.]]Under the Mongol Empire's hegemony over Asia (the Pax Mongolica, or Mongol peace), Europeans had long enjoyed a safe land passage, the Silk Road, to the Indies (then construed roughly as all of south and east Asia) and China, which were sources of valuable goods such as spices and silk. With the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the land route to Asia became much more difficult and dangerous. Portuguese navigators tried to find a sea way to Asia.In 1470, the Florentine astronomer Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli suggested to King Afonso V of Portugal that sailing west across the Atlantic would be a quicker way to reach the Spice Islands, Cathay, and Cipangu than the route around Africa, but Afonso rejected his proposal.BOOK,weblink Charles R. Boxer, The Christian Century in Japan: 1549–1650, 2, University of California Press, 1951, 28 February 2016, In 1474, Toscanelli sent Columbus a map with the notion of a westward route to Asia.Journal article: Christopher Columbus. An address delivered before the American Catholic Historical Society In the 1480s, the Columbus brothers proposed a plan to reach the Indies by sailing west across the "Ocean Sea" (the Atlantic). However, this was complicated by the opening of the southeast passage to Asia around Africa by Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, when he reached the Cape of Good Hope (modern-day South Africa).BOOK, Patrick J., Murphy, Ray W., Coye, Mutiny and Its Bounty: Leadership Lessons from the Age of Discovery,weblink 2013, Yale University Press, 978-0-300-17028-3, harv, bot: unknown,weblink" title="">weblink 27 June 2015,

Geographical considerations

Washington Irving's 1828 biography of Columbus popularized the idea that Columbus had difficulty obtaining support for his plan because many Catholic theologians insisted that the Earth was flat.BOOK, Paul F, Boller, Not So!: Popular Myths about America from Columbus to Clinton, 1995, 978-0-19-509186-1, Oxford University Press, New York,weblink In fact, nearly all educated Westerners had understood, at least since the time of Aristotle, that the Earth is spherical.Russell, Jeffrey Burton 1991. Inventing the Flat Earth. Columbus and modern historians, Praeger, New York, Westport, London 1991;Zinn, Howard 1980. A People's History of the United States, HarperCollins 2001. p. 2 The sphericity of the Earth is also accounted for in the work of Ptolemy, on which medieval astronomy was largely based. Christian writers whose works clearly reflect the conviction that the Earth is spherical include Saint Bede the Venerable in his Reckoning of Time, written around AD 723. In Columbus's time, the techniques of celestial navigation, which use the position of the sun and the stars in the sky, together with the understanding that the Earth is a sphere, had long been in use by astronomers and were beginning to be implemented by mariners.See, e.g. "Mariner's Astrolabe", Navigation Museum, Institute of NavigationAs far back as the 3rd century BC, Eratosthenes had correctly computed the circumference of the Earth by using simple geometry and studying the shadows cast by objects at two remote locations.BOOK, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Universe, Ridpath, Ian, Watson-Guptill, 2001, 978-0-8230-2512-1, New York, NY, 31, Sagan, Carl. Cosmos; the mean circumference of the Earth is {{convert|40041.47|km|0|abbr=on}}. In the 1st century BC, Posidonius confirmed Eratosthenes's results by comparing stellar observations at two separate locations. These measurements were widely known among scholars, but confusion about the old-fashioned units of distance in which they were expressed led to some debate about the size of the Earth.{{citation needed|date=October 2018}}File:ColombusMap.jpg|thumb|upright=1.6|left|"Columbus map", drawn c. 1490 in the 978-2-35404-007-9}}From Pierre d'Ailly's Imago Mundi Columbus learned of Alfraganus's estimate that a degree of latitude (or a degree of longitude along the equator) spanned 56{{frac|2|3}} Arabic miles (which works out to {{convert|66.2|nmi|km}}), but did not realize that this was expressed in the Arabic mile rather than the shorter Roman mile with which he was familiar.Morison (1942, pp. 65, 93). He therefore would have estimated the circumference of the Earth to be about {{convert|30200|km|nmi}} at the equator and {{convert|26200|km|nmi}} at 30 degrees north (around where he was sailing), whereas the correct value is {{convert|40075|km|nmi}} at the equator and {{convert|34735|km|nmi}} at 30 degrees north.{{citation needed|date=October 2018}}Furthermore, most scholars accepted Ptolemy's estimate that Eurasia spanned 180° longitude, rather than the actual 130° (to the Chinese mainland) or 150° (to Japan at the latitude of Spain). Columbus, for his part, believed an even higher estimate, leaving a smaller percentage for water. Some people have suggested he followed the estimate of Marinus of Tyre, which put the longitudinal span of the Eurasian landmass at 225°.{{citation needed|date=May 2019}} Other people have suggested he followed Esdras's statement that "six parts [of the globe] are habitable and the seventh is covered with water."Samuel Eliot Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea: The Life of Christopher Columbus, (Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown, 1942). Reissued by the Morison Press, 2007. {{ISBN|1-4067-5027-1}} He also believed that Japan (which he called "Cipangu", following Marco Polo) was much larger, farther to the east from China ("Cathay"), and closer to the equator than it is, and that there were inhabited islands even farther to the east than Japan, including the mythical Antillia, which he thought might lie not much farther to the west than the Azores. In this, he was influenced by the ideas of Toscanelli.Columbus therefore would have estimated the distance from the Canary Islands west to Japan to be about {{convert|9800|km|nmi}} or {{convert|3700|km|nmi}}, depending on which estimate he used for Eurasia's longitudinal span. The true figure is now known to be vastly larger: about {{convert|20000|km|nmi}}.{{sfn|Phillips, Jr|Phillips|1992|p=110}}{{efn|About 10,600 nautical miles}} No ship in the 15th century could have carried enough food and fresh water for such a long voyage, and the dangers involved in navigating through the uncharted ocean would have been formidable. Most European navigators reasonably concluded that a westward voyage from Europe to Asia was unfeasible. The Catholic Monarchs, however, having completed an expensive war in the Iberian Peninsula, were eager to obtain a competitive edge over other European countries in the quest for trade with the Indies. Columbus's project, though far-fetched, held the promise of such an advantage.{{citation needed|date=October 2018}}

Nautical considerations

Though Columbus was wrong about the number of degrees of longitude that separated Europe from the Far East and about the distance that each degree represented, he did possess valuable knowledge about the trade winds, which would prove to be the key to his successful navigation of the Atlantic Ocean. During his first voyage in 1492, the brisk trade winds from the east, commonly called "easterlies", propelled Columbus's fleet for five weeks, from the Canary Islands to The Bahamas. The precise first land sighting and landing point was San Salvador Island. To return to Spain against this prevailing wind would have required several months of an arduous sailing technique, called beating, during which food and drinkable water would probably have been exhausted.Instead, Columbus returned home by following the curving trade winds northeastward to the middle latitudes of the North Atlantic, where he was able to catch the "westerlies" that blow eastward to the coast of Western Europe. There, in turn, the winds curve southward towards the Iberian Peninsula.WEB,weblink The First Voyage Log,weblink" title="">weblink 7 March 2012, 18 April 2008, WEB,weblink Trade Winds and the Hadley Cell, 18 April 2008, It is unclear whether Columbus learned about the winds from his own sailing experience or if he had heard about them from others. The corresponding technique for efficient travel in the Atlantic appears to have been exploited first by the Portuguese, who referred to it as the Volta do mar ("turn of the sea"). Columbus's knowledge of the Atlantic wind patterns was, however, imperfect at the time of his first voyage. By sailing directly due west from the Canary Islands during hurricane season, skirting the so-called horse latitudes of the mid-Atlantic, Columbus risked either being becalmed or running into a tropical cyclone, both of which, by chance, he avoided.

Quest for financial support for a voyage

{{more citations needed|section|date=October 2018}}File:Columbus offers his services to the King of Portugal - Daniel Nicholas Chodowiecki (cropped).png|thumb|upright=0.75|Columbus offers his services to the King of Portugal; Chodowiecki, 17th c.]]In 1485, Columbus presented his plans to King John II of Portugal. He proposed that the king equip three sturdy ships and grant Columbus one year's time to sail out into the Atlantic, search for a western route to the Orient, and return. Columbus also requested he be made "Great Admiral of the Ocean", appointed governor of any and all lands he discovered, and given one-tenth of all revenue from those lands. The king submitted Columbus's proposal to his experts, who rejected it. It was their considered opinion that Columbus's estimation of a travel distance of {{convert|2400|mi|km|-1}} was, in fact, far too low.In 1488, Columbus again appealed to the court of Portugal, resulting in John II again inviting him for an audience. That meeting also proved unsuccessful, in part because not long afterwards Bartolomeu Dias returned to Portugal with news of his successful rounding of the southern tip of Africa (near the Cape of Good Hope). With an eastern sea route to Asia apparently at hand, King John was no longer interested in Columbus's far-fetched project.File:Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze - Columbus Before the Queen.JPG|thumb|left|Columbus before the Queen, as imaginedThe Brooklyn Museum catalogue notes that the most likely source for Leutze's trio of Columbus paintings is Washington Irving's best-selling Life and Voyages of Columbus (1828). by Emanuel Gottlieb LeutzeEmanuel Gottlieb LeutzeColumbus traveled from Portugal to both Genoa and Venice, but he received encouragement from neither. He had also dispatched his brother Bartholomew to the court of Henry VII of England to inquire whether the English crown might sponsor his expedition, but also without success.Columbus had sought an audience from the monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, who had united several kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula by marrying and were ruling together. On 1 May 1486, permission having been granted, Columbus presented his plans to Queen Isabella, who, in turn, referred it to a committee. After the passing of much time, the savants of Spain, like their counterparts in Portugal, replied that Columbus had grossly underestimated the distance to Asia. They pronounced the idea impractical and advised their Royal Highnesses to pass on the proposed venture.However, to keep Columbus from taking his ideas elsewhere, and perhaps to keep their options open, the Catholic Monarchs gave him an annual allowance of 12,000 maravedis and, in 1489, furnished him with a letter ordering all cities and towns under their domain to provide him food and lodging at no cost.Durant, Will The Story of Civilization vol. vi, "The Reformation". Chapter XIII, p. 260.

Agreement with the Spanish crown

File:Columbus Fleet 1893 Issue.jpg|thumb|upright=1.5|The Flagship of Columbus and the Fleet of Columbus. 400th Anniversary Issues of 1893. (On ships.)]]After continually lobbying at the Spanish court and two years of negotiations, he finally had success in January 1492. Ferdinand and Isabella had just conquered Granada, the last Muslim stronghold on the Iberian Peninsula, and they received Columbus in Córdoba, in the Alcázar castle. Isabella turned him down on the advice of her confessor. Columbus was leaving town by mule in despair when Ferdinand intervened. Isabella then sent a royal guard to fetch him, and Ferdinand later claimed credit for being "the principal cause why those islands were discovered".{{sfn|Phillips, Jr|Phillips|1992|p=132}}In the April 1492 "Capitulations of Santa Fe", King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella promised Columbus that if he succeeded he would be given the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and appointed Viceroy and Governor of all the new lands he could claim for Spain. He had the right to nominate three persons, from whom the sovereigns would choose one, for any office in the new lands. He would be entitled to 10 percent of all the revenues from the new lands in perpetuity. Additionally, he would also have the option of buying one-eighth interest in any commercial venture with the new lands and receive one-eighth of the profits.Columbus was later arrested in 1500 and dismissed from his posts. He and his sons, Diego and Fernando, then conducted a lengthy series of court cases against the Castilian crown, known as the pleitos colombinos, alleging that the Crown had illegally reneged on its contractual obligations to Columbus and his heirs. The Columbus family had some success in their first litigation, as a judgment of 1511 confirmed Diego's position as Viceroy, but reduced his powers. Diego resumed litigation in 1512, which lasted until 1536, and further disputes continued until 1790.Mark McDonald, "Ferdinand Columbus, Renaissance Collector (1488–1539)", 2005, British Museum Press, {{ISBN|978-0-7141-2644-9}}


(File:Viajes de colon en.svg|thumb|upright=1.6|The voyages of Christopher Columbus)Between 1492 and 1503, Columbus completed four round-trip voyages between Spain and the Americas, each voyage being sponsored by the Crown of Castile. On his first voyage, he independently discovered the Americas and magnetic declination.{{efn|That is, Columbus was unaware that others had already discovered each of these before he did.}}Shen Kuo discovered 400 years earlier, in Asia, the concept of true north in terms of magnetic declination towards the north pole, with experimentation of suspended magnetic needles and "the improved meridian determined by Shen's [astronomical] measurement of the distance between the polestar and true north". For more see Sivin, Nathan (1984). "Why the Scientific Revolution Did Not Take Place in China – Or Didn't It?" in Transformation and Tradition in the Sciences: Essays in Honor of I. Bernard Cohen, 531–555, ed. Everett Mendelsohn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|0-521-52485-7}}. Vol. III, p. 22.Peter J. Smith & Joseph Needham, "Magnetic Declination in Mediaeval China", Nature 214, 1213–1214 (17 June 1967); {{doi|10.1038/2141213b0}}. These voyages marked the beginning of the European exploration and colonization of the American continents, and are thus of enormous significance in Western history.Columbus always insisted, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that the lands that he visited during those voyages were part of the Asian continent, as previously described by Marco Polo and other European travelers. Columbus's refusal to accept that the lands he had visited and claimed for Spain were not part of Asia might explain, in part, why the American continent was named after the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci and not after Columbus.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 29 October 2013, The Naming of America,, 10 April 2011,

First voyage

(File:Columbus first voyage.jpg|thumb|upright=1.6|First voyage. Modern place names in black, Columbus's place names in blue)On the evening of 3 August 1492, Columbus departed from Palos de la Frontera with three ships. The largest was a carrack (Spanish: nao), the Santa María ex-Gallega ("Galician"){{explain|date=June 2018}}. The other two were smaller caravels. The name of one is lost: it is known today only by the nickname Pinta, which in Castilian of the time meant "painted one".BOOK, Diccionario de autoridades, Real Academia Española, 5, 1737
author-link=Real Academia Española, The Santa Clara was nicknamed affectionately the Niña ("the little one"), a pun on the name of her owner, Juan Niño of Moguer.WEB,weblink The Original Niña, The Niña & Pinta, The Columbus Foundation, British Virgin Islands, 12 October 2013, The monarchs forced the citizens of Palos to contribute to the expedition. The Santa María was owned by Juan de la Cosa and captained by Columbus. The Pinta and the Niña were piloted by the Pinzón brothers (Martín Alonso and Vicente Yáñez).Columbus first sailed to the Canary Islands, which belonged to Castile. He restocked provisions and made repairs in Gran Canaria, then departed from San Sebastián de La Gomera on 6 September, for what turned out to be a five-week voyage across the ocean. At about 2:00 in the morning of 12 October (21 October, Gregorian Calendar New Style), a lookout on the Pinta, Rodrigo de Triana (also known as Juan Rodríguez Bermeo), spotted land, and immediately alerted the rest of the crew with a shout. Thereupon, the captain of the Pinta, Martín Alonso Pinzón, verified the discovery and alerted Columbus by firing a lombard.Morison (1942, p. 226); Lopez, (1990, p. 14); Columbus & Toscanelli (2010, p. 35) Columbus later maintained that he himself had already seen a light on the land a few hours earlier, thereby claiming for himself the lifetime pension promised by Ferdinand and Isabella to the first person to sight land.Lopez, (1990, p. 15)Columbus called the island (in what is now the Bahamas) San Salvador (meaning "Holy Savior"); the natives called it Guanahani. Exactly which island in the Bahamas this corresponds to is unresolved. Based on primary accounts and on what one would expect from the geographic positions of the islands given Columbus's course, the prime candidates are San Salvador Island (so named in 1925 on the theory that it was Columbus's San Salvador),William D. Phillips Jr., 'Columbus, Christopher', in David Buisseret (ed.), The Oxford Companion to World Exploration, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, online edition 2012). Samana Cay, and Plana Cays.File:Landing of Columbus (2).jpg|thumb|left|Landing of Columbus (12 October 1492), painting by John VanderlynJohn VanderlynThe indigenous people he encountered, the Lucayan, Taíno, and Arawak, were peaceful and friendly. He called the inhabitants of the lands that he visited indios (Spanish for "Indians").BOOK, Hoxie, Frederick, Encyclopedia of North American Indians, Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston, 1996, 978-0-395-66921-1, 568,weblink BOOK, Philip, Herbst, The Color of Words: An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Ethnic Bias in the United States,weblink 1997, Intercultural Press, 978-1-877864-97-1, 116, 28 February 2016, BOOK, David, Wilton, Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends,weblink 2004, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-517284-3, 164–165, Noting their gold ear ornaments, Columbus took some of the Arawaks prisoner and insisted that they guide him to the source of the gold.BOOK, Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 2003, HarperCollins, New York, 978-0-06-052837-9, 1–22,weblink From the entry in his journal of 12 October 1492, in which he wrote of them: "Many of the men I have seen have scars on their bodies, and when I made signs to them to find out how this happened, they indicated that people from other nearby islands come to San Salvador to capture them; they defend themselves the best they can. I believe that people from the mainland come here to take them as slaves. They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them. I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. If it pleases our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highnesses when I depart, in order that they may learn our language."Robert H. Fuson, ed., The Log of Christopher Columbus, Tab Books, 1992, International Marine Publishing, {{ISBN|0-87742-316-4}}. Columbus noted that their primitive weapons and military tactics made them susceptible to easy conquest, writing, "these people are very simple in war-like matters … I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased."Columbus (1991, p. 87). Or "these people are very simple as regards the use of arms … for with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them." (Columbus & Toscanelli, 2010, p. 41)Columbus also explored the northeast coast of Cuba, where he landed on 28 October. On 22 November, Martín Alonso Pinzón took the Pinta on an unauthorized expedition in search of an island called "Babeque" or "Baneque", which the natives had told him was rich in gold. Columbus, for his part, continued to the northern coast of Hispaniola, where he landed on 5 December.WEB,weblink The First Voyage of Columbus, Keith A. Pickering,weblink" title="">weblink 7 March 2012, There, the Santa María ran aground on Christmas Day 1492 and had to be abandoned. The wreck was used as a target for cannon fire to impress the native peoples. Columbus was received by the native cacique Guacanagari, who gave him permission to leave some of his men behind. Columbus left 39 men, including Luis de Torres, the converso interpreter, who spoke Hebrew and Arabic,{{citation needed|date=June 2018}} and founded the settlement of La Navidad at the site of present-day Bord de Mer de Limonade, Haiti.MAGAZINE, Maclean, Frances, The Lost Fort of Columbus,weblink Smithsonian Magazine, January 2008, 24 January 2008, Columbus took more natives prisoner and continued his exploration. He kept sailing along the northern coast of Hispaniola with a single ship, until he encountered Pinzón and the Pinta on 6 January.File:WC Delacroix,Eugene The Return of Christopher Columbus.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|The return of Christopher Columbus; his audience before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, painting by Eugène DelacroixEugène Delacroix{{listen| filename = The Letter of Christopher Columbus on the Discovery of America - Read by Availle for LibriVox's Short Nonfiction Collection Vol. 015 (2010).ogg| title = "The Letter of Columbus on the Discovery of America"Read by Availle for LibriVox| description = Audio 00:20:05 (full text)| pos = right| type = speech70px)}}On 13 January 1493, Columbus made his last stop of this voyage in the New World, in the Bay of Rincón at the eastern end of the Samaná Peninsula in northeast Hispaniola.Fuson, Robert. The Log of Christopher Columbus (Camden, International Marine, 1987) 173. There he encountered the warlike Cigüayos, the only natives who offered violent resistance during his first voyage to the Americas.BOOK,weblink Confronting Columbus: An Anthology, McFarland & Company, Yewell, John, Chris Dodge, 1992, Jefferson, NC, 33, 978-0-89950-696-8, 28 February 2016, The Cigüayos refused to trade the amount of bows and arrows that Columbus desired; in the ensuing clash one Ciguayo was stabbed in the buttocks and another wounded with an arrow in his chest.BOOK,weblink The Journal of Christopher Columbus, Hakluyt Society, Markham, Clements R., 1893, London, 159–160, 28 February 2016, Because of this and because of the Cigüayos' use of arrows, he called the inlet where he met them the Bay of Arrows (or Gulf of Arrows).Oliver Dunn and James Kelly. The Diario of Christopher Columbus's First Voyage to America (London: University of Oklahoma Press), 333–343. Columbus kidnapped about 10 to 25 natives and took them back with him (only seven or eight of the natives arrived in Spain alive).{{sfn|Loewen|1995}}Columbus headed for Spain on the Niña, but a storm separated him from the Pinta, and forced the Niña to stop at the island of Santa Maria in the Azores. Half of his crew went ashore to say prayers in a chapel to give thanks for having survived the storm. But while praying, they were imprisoned by the governor of the island, ostensibly on suspicion of being pirates. After a two-day standoff, the prisoners were released, and Columbus again set sail for Spain.JOURNAL, Columbus in the Azores, 41104900, Portuguese Studies, 1 January 1990, 17–23, 6, Rebecca, Catz, Another storm forced him into the port at Lisbon. He anchored next to the King's harbor patrol ship on 4 March 1493 in Portugal. There, he was interviewed by Bartolomeu Dias, who had rounded the Cape of Good Hope a few years earlier, in 1488–1489. Dias's success had complicated Columbus's attempts to secure funding from the Portuguese court because the sure route to the Indies that Dias pioneered made a risky, conjectural western route unnecessary. Not finding King John II of Portugal in Lisbon, Columbus wrote a letter to him and waited for John's reply. John asked Columbus to go to Vale do Paraíso north of Lisbon to meet him. Relations between Portugal and Castile were poor at the time. Columbus went to meet with John at Vale do Paraíso. Hearing of Columbus's discoveries, John told him that he believed the voyage to be in violation of the 1479 Treaty of Alcáçovas.After spending more than a week in Portugal, and paying his respects to Eleanor of Viseu, Columbus again set sail for Spain. Ferdinand Magellan was a young boy and a ward of Eleanor's court; it is likely he saw Columbus during this visit. After departing, and after reportedly being saved from assassins by King John, Columbus crossed the bar of Saltes and entered the harbor of Palos de la Frontera on 15 March 1493. Word of his finding new lands rapidly spread throughout Europe.

Second voyage

(File:Columbus second voyage.jpg|thumb|upright=1.6|Columbus's second voyage)Columbus left the port of Cádiz on 24 September 1493, with a fleet of 17 ships carrying 1,200 men and the supplies to establish permanent colonies in the New World. The passengers included priests, farmers, and soldiers, who would be the new colonists. This reflected the new policy of creating not just "colonies of exploitation", but also "colonies of settlement" from which to launch missions dedicated to converting the natives to Christianity.Baccus, M. Kazim Utilization, Misuse, and Development of Human Resources in the Early West Indian Colonies, Wilfrid Laurier University Press (2 January 2000) {{ISBN|978-0-88920-982-4}} pp. 6–7 Modern studies suggest that, as reported by the Washington Post, "crew members may have included free black Africans who arrived in the New World about a decade before the slave trade began.""Who Went With Columbus? Dental Studies Give Clues.". The Washington Post. 18 May 2009.As in the first voyage, the fleet stopped at the Canary Islands, from which it departed on 13 October, following a more southerly course than on the previous expedition. On 3 November, Columbus sighted a rugged island that he named Dominica (Latin for Sunday); later that day, he landed at Marie-Galante, which he named Santa María la Galante. After sailing past Les Saintes (Los Santos, "The Saints"), he arrived at the island of Guadeloupe, which he named Santa María de Guadalupe de Extremadura, after the image of the Virgin Mary venerated at the Spanish monastery of Villuercas, in Guadalupe, Cáceres, Spain. He explored that island from 4 to 10 November.Michele da Cuneo, Columbus's childhood friend from Savona, sailed with Columbus during the second voyage and wrote: "In my opinion, since Genoa was Genoa, there was never born a man so well equipped and expert in the art of navigation as the said lord Admiral."Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Columbus, Oxford Univ. Press, (1991) pp. 103–104 Columbus named the small island of "Saona ... to honor Michele da Cuneo, his friend from Savona."Paolo Emilio Taviani, Columbus the Great Adventure, Orion Books, New York (1991) p. 185The same childhood friend reported in a letter that Columbus had provided one of the captured indigenous women to him. He wrote, "While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked—as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores."BOOK, Cohen, J.M., The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus, 1969, Penguin, NY, 978-0-14-044217-5, 139, File:Inspiración de Cristóbal Colón, por José María Obregón.jpg|thumb|upright|The Inspiration of Christopher Columbus by José María ObregónJosé María ObregónPedro de las Casas, father of the priest Bartolomé de las Casas, also accompanied Columbus on this voyage.BOOK, Traboulay, David M., Columbus and Las Casas, 1994, University Press of America, 978-0-8191-9642-2, 48,weblink 28 February 2016, The exact course of Columbus's voyage through the Lesser Antilles is debated, but it seems likely that he turned north, sighting and naming several islands, including:
  • Montserrat (for Santa María de Montserrate, after the Blessed Virgin of the Monastery of Montserrat, which is located on the Mountain of Montserrat, in Catalonia, Spain),
  • Antigua (after a church in Seville, Spain, called Santa María la Antigua, meaning "Old St. Mary's"),
  • Redonda (Santa María la Redonda, Spanish for "St. Mary the Round", owing to the island's shape),
  • Nevis (derived from the Spanish Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, "Our Lady of the Snows", because Columbus thought the clouds over Nevis Peak made the island resemble a snow-capped mountain),
  • Saint Kitts (for St. Christopher, patron of sailors and travelers),
  • Sint Eustatius (for the early Roman martyr, St. Eustachius),
  • Saba (after the Biblical Queen of Sheba),
  • Saint Martin (San Martín), and
  • Saint Croix (from the Spanish Santa Cruz, meaning "Holy Cross").WEB,weblink Saint Croix {{!, island, United States Virgin Islands|website=Encyclopedia Britannica|language=en|access-date=5 January 2019}}
Columbus also sighted the chain of the Virgin Islands, which he named Islas de Santa Úrsula y las Once Mil Vírgenes, "Islands of Saint Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins" (shortened, both on maps of the time and in common parlance, to Islas Vírgenes). He also named the islands of Virgin Gorda ("Fat Virgin"), Tortola, and Peter Island (San Pedro).One of the first skirmishes between Native Americans and Europeans since the time of the Vikings occurred on 14 November, when at Saint Croix, Columbus's men rescued two native boys from several cannibalistic Island Caribs.{{sfn|Phillips, Jr|Phillips|1992|pp=197–98}} Columbus's men pursued the Carib canoe, which met them with arrows. Several Europeans were wounded, but they killed all of the Caribs, and learned that the two boys had recently been castrated by their captors. Columbus continued to the Virgin Islands, and landed in Puerto Rico, which he named San Juan Bautista{{sfn|Phillips, Jr|Phillips|1992|p=198}} in honor of Saint John the Baptist (a name that was later given to the capital city of San Juan).On 22 November, Columbus returned to Hispaniola, where he intended to visit the fort of La Navidad, built during his first voyage and located on the northern coast of Haiti. Columbus found the fort in ruins, destroyed by the native Taino people.WEB,weblink The Spanish Conquest of the Tainos, Antonio de la Cova, Latin American Studies, Dr. Antonio Rafael de la Cova, 10 July 2011, Among the ruins were the corpses of 11 of the 39 Spaniards who had stayed behind as the first colonists in the New World.Columbus then sailed more than {{convert|100|km|mi|abbr=off}} eastwards along the northern coast of Hispaniola, establishing a new settlement, which he called La Isabela, in the present-day Dominican Republic."Teeth Of Columbus's Crew Flesh Out Tale Of New World Discovery". ScienceDaily. 20 March 2009. However, La Isabela proved to be poorly located and the settlement was short-lived.

Third voyage

(File:Columbus third voyage.jpg|thumb|upright=1.6|Third voyage)According to the abstract of Columbus's journal made by Bartolomé de Las Casas, the objective of the third voyage was to verify the existence of a continent that King John II of Portugal suggested was located to the southwest of the Cape Verde Islands. King John reportedly knew of the existence of such a mainland because "canoes had been found which set out from the coast of Guinea [West Africa] and sailed to the west with merchandise."BOOK, Journals & Other Documents on the Life & Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Heritage Press, 1963, New York, 262–263, BOOK, Christopher Columbus: his life, his work, his remains, as revealed by original printed and manuscript records, together with an essay on Peter Martyr of Anghera and Bartolomé De Las Casas, the first Historians of America, Thacher, John Boyd, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1903, New York, 379–380, On 30 May 1498, Columbus left with six ships from Sanlúcar, Spain, for his third trip to the New World. Three of the ships headed directly for Hispaniola with much-needed supplies, while Columbus took the other three in an exploration of what might lie to the south of the Caribbean islands he had already visited, including a hoped-for passage to continental Asia.Christopher Minster, "The Third Voyage of Christopher Columbus"Columbus led his fleet to the Portuguese island of Porto Santo, his wife's native land. He then sailed to Madeira and spent some time there with the Portuguese captain João Gonçalves da Camara, before sailing to the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. As he crossed the Atlantic, Columbus discovered that the angle between North as indicated by a magnetic compass and North as measured by the position of the pole star changed with his position (a phenomenon now known as "compass variation"). He would later use his previous measurements of the compass variation to adjust his reckoning.After being becalmed for several days in the doldrums of the mid-Atlantic, Columbus's fleet regained its wind and, dangerously low on water, turned north in the direction of Dominica, which Columbus had visited in his previous voyage. The ships arrived at King John's hypothesized continent, which is South America, when they sighted the land of Trinidad on 31 July approaching from the southeast.Joseph 1838, p. 124 The fleet sailed along the southern coast and entered Dragon's Mouth, anchoring near Soldado Rock where they made contact with a group of native Amerindians in canoes.Joseph 1838, p. 125 Columbus then landed on Trinidad at Icacos Point (which he named Punta de Arenal) on 2 August.Joseph 1838, p. 126 After resupplying with food and water, from 4 to 12 August Columbus explored the Gulf of Paria, which separates Trinidad from what is now Venezuela, near the delta of the Orinoco River. He then touched the mainland of South America at the Paria Peninsula.{{citation needed|date=October 2018}}Exploring the new continent, Columbus correctly interpreted the enormous quantity of fresh water that the Orinoco delivered into the Atlantic Ocean as evidence that he had reached a large landmass rather than another island. He also speculated that the new continent might be the location of the biblical Garden of Eden. He then sailed to the islands of Chacachacare and Margarita. He sighted Tobago (which he named "Bella Forma") and Grenada (which he named "Concepción".WEB,weblink Christopher Columbus Voyage on Tripline,, 5 January 2019, In poor health, Columbus returned to Hispaniola on 19 August, only to find that many of the Spanish settlers of the new colony were in rebellion against his rule, claiming that Columbus had misled them about the supposedly bountiful riches of the New World. A number of returning settlers and sailors lobbied against Columbus at the Spanish court, accusing him and his brothers of gross mismanagement. Columbus had some of his crew hanged for disobedience. He had an economic interest in the enslavement of the Hispaniola natives and for that reason was not eager to baptize them, which attracted criticism from some churchmen.Varela (2006, p. 111) An entry in his journal from September 1498 reads: "From here one might send, in the name of the Holy Trinity, as many slaves as could be sold ..."MAGAZINE, Columbus And Genocide, American Heritage, American Heritage Publishing Company, Stone, Edward T.,weblink 1975, 26, 6, Columbus was eventually forced to make peace with the rebellious colonists on humiliating terms.WEB,weblink The Third Voyage of Columbus, 1498–1500, Keith A. Pickering,weblink" title="">weblink 26 September 2011, In 1500, the Crown had him removed as governor, arrested, and transported in chains to Spain (see "Accusations of tyranny" section below). He was eventually freed and allowed to return to the New World, but not as governor.{{citation needed|date=October 2018}}

Fourth voyage

{{more citations needed|section|date=October 2018}}(File:Columbus fourth voyage.jpg|thumb|upright=1.6|Columbus's fourth voyage)File:House of Colon COA (2).svg|thumb|upright=0.9|Coat of Arms granted to Christopher Columbus and the (:es:Colón (familia)|House of Colon) by Pope Alexander VI motu propriomotu proprioBefore leaving for his fourth voyage, Columbus wrote a letter to the Governors of the Bank of Saint George, Genoa, dated at Seville, 2 April 1502.BOOK,weblink Letter from Christopher Columbus to the Governors of the Bank of St. George, Genoa. Dated at Seville, April 2nd, 1502, 10 April 2011, 1894, Columbus, Christopher, Curtis, William Eleroy, He wrote "Although my body is here my heart is always near you."BOOK,weblink The authentic letters of Columbus, 29 July 2010, 1894, Columbus, Christopher, Curtis, William Eleroy, Columbus made a fourth voyage nominally in search of the Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean. Accompanied by his brother Bartolomeo and his 13-year-old son Fernando, he left Cádiz on 11 May 1502, with his flagship Santa María and the vessels Gallega, Vizcaína, and Santiago de Palos. He sailed to Arzila on the Moroccan coast to rescue Portuguese soldiers whom he had heard were under siege by the Moors.On 15 June, they landed at Carbet on the island of Martinique (Martinica). A hurricane was brewing, so he continued on, hoping to find shelter on Hispaniola. He arrived at Santo Domingo on 29 June, but was denied port, and the new governor refused to listen to his storm prediction. Instead, while Columbus's ships sheltered at the mouth of the Rio Jaina, the first Spanish treasure fleet sailed into the hurricane. Columbus's ships survived with only minor damage, while 29 of the 30 ships in the governor's fleet were lost to a storm on 1 July. In addition to the ships, 500 lives (including that of the governor, Francisco de Bobadilla) and an immense cargo of gold were surrendered to the sea.After a brief stop at Jamaica, Columbus sailed to Central America, arriving at Guanaja (Isla de Pinos) in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras on 30 July. Here Bartolomeo found native merchants and a large canoe, which was described as being "long as a galley" and filled with cargo. On 14 August, he landed on the continental mainland at Puerto Castilla, near Trujillo, Honduras. He spent two months exploring the coasts of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, before arriving in Almirante Bay in Panama on 16 October.On 5 December 1502, Columbus and his crew found themselves in a storm unlike any they had ever experienced. In his journal Columbus writes,File:Eclipse Christophe Colomb.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Columbus awes the Jamaican natives by predicting the lunar eclipselunar eclipseIn Panama, Columbus learned from the Ngobe of gold and a strait to another ocean, but was told by local leader Quibían not to go past a certain point down the river. After much exploration, in January 1503, he established a garrison at the mouth of the Belén River. On 6 April, one of the ships became stranded in the river. At the same time, the garrison was attacked by Quibían and the other ships were damaged. Shipworms also damaged the ships in tropical waters.The History Channel. Columbus: The Lost Voyage.Columbus left for Hispaniola on 16 April heading north. On 10 May he sighted the Cayman Islands, naming them "Las Tortugas" after the numerous sea turtles there. His ships next sustained more damage in a storm off the coast of Cuba. Unable to travel farther, on 25 June 1503 they were beached in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica.For one year Columbus and his men remained stranded on Jamaica. A Spaniard, Diego Méndez, and some natives paddled a canoe to get help from Hispaniola. The governor, Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres, detested Columbus and obstructed all efforts to rescue him and his men. In the meantime Columbus, in a desperate effort to induce the natives to continue provisioning him and his hungry men, won their favor by predicting a lunar eclipse for 29 February 1504, using Abraham Zacuto's astronomical charts.Joy Jakim, The First Americans: Prehistory – 1600 A History of US Oxford University Press 2005Clayton J., Drees, The Late Medieval Age of Crisis and Renewal: 1300–1500 a Biographical Dictionary, 2001, p. 511Djelal, Kadir, Columbus and the Ends of the Earth: Europe's Prophetic Rhetoric As Conquering Ideology, University of California Press, 1992, pp. 67–68 Help finally arrived, no thanks to the governor, on 29 June 1504, and Columbus and his men arrived in Sanlúcar, Spain, on 7 November.

{{anchor|Accusations of tyranny}} Accusations of tyranny and brutality

Following his first voyage, Columbus was appointed Viceroy and Governor of the Indies under the terms of the Capitulations of Santa Fe. In practice, this primarily entailed the administration of the colonies in the island of Hispaniola, whose capital was established in Santo Domingo. By the end of his third voyage, Columbus was physically and mentally exhausted, his body wracked by arthritis and his eyes by ophthalmia. In October 1499, he sent two ships to Spain, asking the Court of Spain to appoint a royal commissioner to help him govern.{{citation needed|date=October 2018}}By this time, accusations of tyranny and incompetence on the part of Columbus had also reached the Court. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand responded by removing Columbus from power and replacing him with Francisco de Bobadilla, a member of the Order of Calatrava. Bobadilla, who ruled as governor from 1500 until his death in a storm in 1502, had also been tasked by the Court with investigating the accusations of brutality made against Columbus.Arriving in Santo Domingo while Columbus was away during the explorations of his third voyage, Bobadilla was immediately met with complaints about all three Columbus brothers: Christopher, Bartolomeo, and Diego. Bobadilla reported to Spain that Columbus regularly used torture and mutilation to govern Hispaniola. The 48-page report, found in 2006 in the national archive in the Spanish city of Simancas, contains testimonies from 23 people, including both enemies and supporters of Columbus, about the treatment of colonial subjects by Columbus and his brothers during his seven-year rule.NEWS, Giles Tremlett, Lost document reveals Columbus as tyrant of the Caribbean,weblink The Guardian, UK, 7 August 2006, 16 May 2013, Giles Tremlett, According to the report, Columbus once punished a man found guilty of stealing corn by having his ears and nose cut off and then selling him into slavery. Testimony recorded in the report stated that Columbus congratulated his brother Bartolomeo on "defending the family" when the latter ordered a woman paraded naked through the streets and then had her tongue cut out for suggesting that Columbus was of lowly birth. The document also describes how Columbus put down native unrest and revolt: he first ordered a brutal crackdown in which many natives were killed, and then paraded their dismembered bodies through the streets in an attempt to discourage further rebellion.WEB, Columbus Controversy,weblink A&E Television Networks, 12 August 2013, "Columbus's government was characterised by a form of tyranny," Consuelo Varela, a Spanish historian who has seen the document, told journalists. "Even those who loved him had to admit the atrocities that had taken place."Because of their gross misgovernance, Columbus and his brothers were arrested and imprisoned upon their return to Spain from the third voyage. They lingered in jail for six weeks before King Ferdinand ordered their release. Not long after, the king and queen summoned the Columbus brothers to the Alhambra palace in Granada. There, the royal couple heard the brothers' pleas; restored their freedom and wealth; and, after much persuasion, agreed to fund Columbus's fourth voyage. But the door was firmly shut on Columbus's role as governor. Henceforth Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres was to be the new governor of the West Indies.Noble, David Cook. "Nicolás de Ovando" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol.4, p. 254. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.

Later life

File:ColumbusHouseOfValladolid.jpg|thumb|upright|Replica of the Santa María, Columbus's flagship during his first voyage, at his (Valladolid]] houseWEB,weblink Columbus Monuments Pages: Valladolid, 3 January 2010, )Columbus had always claimed the conversion of non-believers as one reason for his explorations, but he grew increasingly religious in his later years. Probably with the assistance of his son Diego and his friend the Carthusian monk Gaspar Gorricio, Columbus produced two books during his later years: a Book of Privileges (1502), detailing and documenting the rewards from the Spanish Crown to which he believed he and his heirs were entitled, and a Book of Prophecies (1505), in which he considered his achievements as an explorer but a fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the context of Christian eschatology.{{sfn|Froom|1950|p=2}}In his later years, Columbus demanded that the Spanish Crown give him 10 percent of all profits made in the new lands, as stipulated in the Capitulations of Santa Fe. Because he had been relieved of his duties as governor, the crown did not feel bound by that contract and his demands were rejected. After his death, his heirs sued the Crown for a part of the profits from trade with America, as well as other rewards. This led to a protracted series of legal disputes known as the pleitos colombinos ("Columbian lawsuits").

Illness and death

(File:The death of Columbus.jpg|thumb|The death of Columbus, lithograph by L. Prang & Co., 1893)During a violent storm on his first return voyage, Columbus, then 41, suffered an attack of what was believed at the time to be gout. In subsequent years, he was plagued with what was thought to be influenza and other fevers, bleeding from the eyes, temporary blindness and prolonged attacks of gout. The suspected attacks increased in duration and severity, sometimes leaving Columbus bedridden for months at a time, and culminated in his death 14 years later.File:Tumba de Colon-Sevilla.jpg|thumb|upright|left|Tomb in Seville Cathedral. The remains are borne by kings of Castile, Leon, Aragon, and (Kingdom of Navarre|Navarre]].WEB,weblink Columbus Monuments Pages: Sevilla, 3 January 2010, )Based on Columbus's lifestyle and the described symptoms, modern doctors suspect that he suffered from reactive arthritis, rather than gout.JOURNAL, Hoenig, LJ, The arthritis of Christopher Columbus, Archives of Internal Medicine, February 1992, 152, 2, 1472175, 10.1001/archinte.1992.00400140028008, 274–277, Reactive arthritis, previously known as Reiter's syndrome, is a joint inflammation caused by intestinal bacterial infections or after acquiring certain sexually transmitted diseases (primarily chlamydia or gonorrhea). "It seems likely that [Columbus] acquired reactive arthritis from food poisoning on one of his ocean voyages because of poor sanitation and improper food preparation," writes Dr. Frank C. Arnett, a rheumatologist and professor of internal medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.WEB, Christopher Columbus Suffered From a Fatal Form of Arthritis,weblink University of Maryland School of Medicine, 22 January 2018, On 20 May 1506, aged probably 54, Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain. His remains were first interred at Valladolid, then at the monastery of La Cartuja in Seville (southern Spain) by the will of his son Diego Colón, who had been governor of Hispaniola. In 1542, the remains were transferred to Colonial Santo Domingo, in the present-day Dominican Republic. In 1795, when France took over the entire island of Hispaniola, Columbus's remains were moved to Havana, Cuba. After Cuba became independent following the Spanish–American War in 1898, the remains were moved back to Spain, to the Cathedral of Seville,WEB,weblink Cristóbal Colón: traslación de sus restos mortales a la ciudad de Sevilla at Fundación Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes,, 29 July 2009, where they were placed on an elaborate catafalque.(File:Silver Caravel. Ashes of Christopher Columbus.png|thumb|upright|Silver Caravel containing a small portion of Christopher Columbus's remainsBOOK, Christopher Columbus: his life, his works, his remains: as revealed by original printed and manuscript records, together with an essay on Peter Martyr of Anghera and Bartolomé de las Casas, the first historians of America, John Boyd Thacher,weblink 1904, G.P. Putnam & Sons, 573, 27 December 2011, )However, a lead box bearing an inscription identifying "Don Christopher Columbus" and containing bone fragments and a bullet was discovered at Santo Domingo in 1877. To lay to rest claims that the wrong relics had been moved to Havana and that Columbus's remains had been left buried in the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, DNA samples of the corpse resting in Seville were taken in June 2003 (History Today August 2003) as well as other DNA samples from the remains of his brother Diego and younger son Fernando Colón. Initial observations suggested that the bones did not appear to belong to somebody with the physique or age at death associated with Columbus.NEWS, Tremlett, Giles, Young bones lay Columbus myth to rest,weblink The Guardian, 26 October 2014, 11 August 2004, DNA extraction proved difficult; only short fragments of mitochondrial DNA could be isolated. The mitochondrial DNA fragments matched corresponding DNA from Columbus's brother, giving support that both individuals had shared the same mother.NEWS, DNA verifies Columbus' remains in Spain,weblink Associated Press, 19 May 2006, 26 October 2014, File:Columbus Tomb Dominican Republic 01 2018 6805.jpg|thumb|left|upright|Tomb in Columbus Lighthouse, Santo Domingo Este, Dominican RepublicDominican RepublicSuch evidence, together with anthropologic and historic analyses, led the researchers to conclude that the remains found in Seville belonged to Christopher Columbus.JOURNAL, Álvarez-Cubero, MJ, Martínez-González, LJ; Saiz, M; Álvarez, JC; Lorente, JA, 8 March 2010, New applications in genetic identification, Cuadernos de Medicina Forense, 16, 1–2, 5–18, 1135-7606, 10.4321/S1135-76062010000100002, The authorities in Santo Domingo have never allowed the remains there to be exhumed, so it is unknown if any of those remains could be from Columbus's body as well. The Dominican remains are located in "The Columbus Lighthouse" (Faro a Colón), in Santo Domingo.


The anniversary of Columbus's 1492 landing in the Americas is usually observed on 12 October in Spain and throughout the Americas, except Canada. In Spain it is called the Fiesta Nacional de España y Día de la Hispanidad, while a number of countries in Latin America celebrate it as Día de la Raza. In the United States it is called Columbus Day and is observed annually on the second Monday in October. There are efforts in the US to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples' Day.Historically, the English had downplayed Columbus and emphasized the role of the Venetian John Cabot as a pioneer explorer, but for the emerging United States, Cabot made for a poor national hero. Veneration of Columbus in America dates back to colonial times. The name Columbia for "America" first appeared in a 1738 weekly publication of the debates of the British Parliament.The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. 8, June 1738, p. 285. The use of Columbus as a founding figure of New World nations and the use of the word "Columbia", or simply the name "Columbus", spread rapidly after the American Revolution. Columbus's name was given to the federal capital of the United States (District of Columbia), the capital cities of two U.S. states (Ohio and South Carolina), and the Columbia River. Outside the United States the name was used in 1819 for the Gran Colombia, a precursor of the modern Republic of Colombia. Numerous cities, towns, counties, streets, and plazas (called Plaza Colón or Plaza de Colón throughout Latin America and Spain) have been named after him. A candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church in 1866, celebration of Columbus's legacy perhaps reached a zenith in 1892 with the 400th anniversary of his first arrival in the Americas. Monuments to Columbus like the Columbian Exposition in Chicago and Columbus Circle in New York City were erected throughout the United States and Latin America extolling him.The World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893, commemorated the 400th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.WEB,weblink Bird's-Eye View of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, World Digital Library, 1893, 17 July 2013, Over 27 million people attended the exposition during its six-month duration.{{multiple image
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The United States Postal Service participated in the celebration issuing the first US ''commemorative postage stamps, a series of 16 postage issues called the Columbian Issue depicting Columbus, Queen Isabella and others in the various stages of his several voyages. The issues range in value from the 1-cent to the 5-dollar denominations. Under Benjamin Harrison and his Postmaster General John Wanamaker the Columbian commemorative stamps were made available and were first issued at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893. Wanamaker originally introduced the idea of issuing the nation's first commemorative stamp to Harrison, the Congress and the U.S. Post Office. To demonstrate his confidence in the new Columbian commemorative issues Wanamaker purchased $10,000 worth of stamps with his own money. The Columbian Exposition lasted several months, and over $40 million in commemorative postage stamps had been sold.WEB,weblink United States Postal Service, John Wanamaker, Postmaster General, 19 January 2011,weblink" title="">weblink 9 May 2009, The 400th anniversary Columbian issues were very popular in the United States. A total of two billion stamps were issued for all the Columbian denominations, and 72 percent of these were the two-cent stamps, "Landing of Columbus", which paid the first-class rate for domestic mail at the time.Haimann, Alexander T., "2-cent Landing of Columbus", Arago: people, postage & the post, National Postal Museum online, viewed 18 April 2014.In 1992, a second Columbian issue was released that was identical to the first to commemorate the 500th anniversary, except for the date in the upper right hand corner of each stamp. These issues were made from the original dies of which the first engraved issues of 1893 were produced. The United States issued the series jointly for the first time with three other countries, Italy in lire, Portugal in escudos and Spain in pesetas."Columbian Exposition Souvenir Sheets", Arago: people, postage & the post, National Postal Museum online, viewed 18 April 2014.In 1909, descendants of Columbus undertook to dismantle the Columbus family chapel in Spain and move it to Boalsburg near State College, Pennsylvania, where it may now be visited by the public.WEB,weblink Columbus Monuments Pages: Boalsburg, 3 January 2010, At the museum associated with the chapel, there are a number of Columbus relics worthy of note, including the armchair that the "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" used at his chart table.


{{Further|Columbian Exchange|List of places named for Christopher Columbus}}Columbus's voyages are considered some of the most important events in world history, kickstarting modern globalism and resulting in major demographic, commercial, economic, social, and political changes.Allen, R.C. (2011). Global economic history: a very short introduction (Vol. 282). Oxford University Press. pp. 16–19.Boivin, N., Fuller, D.Q., & Crowther, A. (2012). Old World globalization and the Columbian exchange: comparison and contrast. World Archaeology, 44(3), 452–469. These explorations resulted in the permanent contact between the two hemispheres. There was a massive exchange of animals, plants, fungi, diseases, technologies, mineral wealth and ideas.Grennes, T. (2007). The Columbian exchange and the reversal of fortune. Cato J., 27, 91.Earle, R. (2012). The columbian exchange. In The Oxford Handbook of Food History (p. 341). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Crosby, A.W. (2003). The Columbian exchange: biological and cultural consequences of 1492 (Vol. 2). Greenwood Publishing Group.Nunn, N., & Qian, N. (2010). The Columbian exchange: A history of disease, food, and ideas. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(2), 163–88. Exposed to old world diseases, the indigenous populations of the New world collapsed and were largely replaced by Europeans and Africans who brought with them new methods of farming, business, governance, and religious worship.NEWS,weblink Columbian Exchange – The Old World Meets The New World, WorldAtlas, 6 September 2018, en, Verano, J.W. (1992). Disease and Demography in the Americas. Smithsonian Inst Pr.


File:Faro colon.jpg|thumb|Columbus Lighthouse (Faro a Colón), (Santo Domingo]]WEB,weblink Columbus Monuments Pages: Santo Domingo, 3 January 2010, )Though Christopher Columbus came to be considered the discoverer of America in US and European popular culture, his historical legacy is more nuanced. America had been discovered and populated by its indigenous population. Columbus was not even the first European to reach its shores, having been preceded by Erik the Red in 10th-century Greenland and Leif Erikson in 11th-century Vinland at L'Anse aux Meadows.WEB,weblink History – Leif Erikson (11th century), BBC, 12 October 2015, MAGAZINE,weblink Why Do We Celebrate Columbus Day and Not Leif Erikson Day?, National Geographic (magazine), National Geographic, 11 October 2015, 12 October 2015, However, Columbus's efforts brought the Americas to the attention of Europe at a time ripe for Europe to act upon. Thus, Columbus was able to initiate the enduring association between the Earth's two major landmasses and their inhabitants. "Columbus's claim to fame isn't that he got there first," explains historian Martin Dugard, "it's that he stayed."Dugard, Martin. The Last Voyage of Columbus. Little, Brown and Company: New York, 2005.Historians have traditionally argued that Columbus remained convinced to the very end that his journeys had been along the east coast of Asia,BOOK, North America: the historical geography of a changing continent, Thomas F. McIlwraith, Edward K. Muller, Rowman & Littlefield, 2001, 978-0-7425-0019-8,weblink 35, 28 February 2016, but writer Kirkpatrick Sale argues that a document in the Book of Privileges indicates Columbus knew he found a new continent.Sale, Kirkpatrick (1991). The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy, pp. 204–209 Furthermore, his journals from the third voyage call the "land of Paria" a "hitherto unknown" continent.BOOK, Terra cognita: the mental discovery of America, Eviatar Zerubavel, Transaction Publishers, 2003, 978-0-7658-0987-2, 90–91,weblink 28 February 2016, On the other hand, his other writings continued to claim that he had reached Asia, such as a 1502 letter to Pope Alexander VI where he asserted that Cuba was the east coast of Asia.{{sfn|Phillips, Jr|Phillips|1992|p=227}} He also rationalized that the new continent of South America was the "Earthly Paradise" that was located "at the end of the Orient". Thus, it remains unclear what his true beliefs were.The term "pre-Columbian" is usually used to refer to the peoples and cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus and his European successors.

Flat Earth mythology

Columbus is often credited with refuting a prevalent belief in a flat Earth. However, this legacy is a popular misconception. To the contrary, the spherical shape of the Earth had been known to scholars since antiquity, and was common knowledge among sailors. Coincidentally, the oldest surviving globe of the Earth, the Erdapfel, was made in 1492, just before Columbus's return to Europe. As such it contains no sign of the Americas and yet demonstrates the common belief in a spherical Earth.BOOK, Jeffrey Burton Russell, Inventing the Flat Earth: Columbus and modern historians, Praeger, 1991, New York, 978-0-275-95904-3, Jeffrey Burton Russell,

America as a distinct land

File:1893 Nina Pinta Santa Maria replicas.jpg|thumb|Replicas of Niña, Pinta and Santa María sailed from Spain to the Chicago Columbian ExpositionChicago Columbian ExpositionFile:Christopher Columbus monument, Denver, CO IMG 5575.JPG|thumb|Columbus monument near the state capitol in (Denver]], ColoradoWEB,weblink Columbus Monuments Pages: Denver, 3 January 2010, )The scholar Amerigo Vespucci, who sailed to America in the years following Columbus's first voyage, was the first to speculate that the land was not part of Asia but in fact constituted some wholly new continent previously unknown to Eurasians. His travel journals, published 1502–04, convinced German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller to reach the same conclusion, and in 1507—a year after Columbus's death—Waldseemüller published a world map calling the new continent America from Vespucci's Latinized name "Americus". According to Paul Lunde, "The preoccupation of European courts with the rise of the Ottoman Turks in the East partly explains their relative lack of interest in Columbus's discoveries in the West.""Piri Reis and the Columbus Map {{Webarchive|url= |date=25 March 2009 }}". Paul Lunde. Saudi Aramco World. May/June 1992.

Criticism and defense in modern scholarship

{{See also|Taíno genocide}}Since the late 20th century, historians have criticized Columbus for initiating colonization and for abuse of natives.Bigelow, B. (1992). Once upon a Genocide: Christopher Columbus in Children's Literature.WEB,weblink Christopher Columbus and the Indians, Howard Zinn,, 5 September 2008,weblink" title="">weblink 29 July 2008, WEB,weblink Jack Weatherford, Examining the reputation of Christopher Columbus,, 20 April 2001, 29 July 2009, WEB,weblink Pre-Columbian Hispaniola – Arawak/Taino Indians,, 15 September 2001, 29 July 2009, Among reasons for this criticism is the poor treatment of the native Taíno people of Hispaniola, whose population declined rapidly after contact with the Spanish. Columbus required the natives to pay tribute in gold and cotton.NEWS,weblink Opinion: Slavery and Colonialism Make Up the True Legacy of Columbus, 4 August 2018, en, Modern estimates for the pre-Columbian population of Hispaniola are around 250,000–300,000.{{Citation needed|date=July 2019}} According to the historian Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes, by 1548, 56 years after Columbus landed, and 42 years after he died, fewer than 500 Taíno were living on the island.Crosby (1972), The Columbian Exchange, p. 45. The indigenous population declined rapidly, due primarily to the first pandemic of European endemic diseases, which struck Hispaniola after 1519. The natives had no acquired immunity to these new diseases and suffered high fatalities. There is also documentation that they were overworked.Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange, Westport, 1972, pp. 39, 47.BOOK, Austin Alchon, Suzanne,weblink A Pest in the Land: New World Epidemics in a Global Perspective, University of New Mexico Press, 2003, 62, 978-0-8263-2871-7, 28 February 2016, Martin, D.L., & Goodman, A.H. (2002). Health conditions before Columbus: paleopathology of native North Americans. Western Journal of Medicine, 176(1), 65. "Old World diseases that were not present in the Americas until contact include bubonic plague, measles, smallpox, mumps, chickenpox, influenza, cholera, diphtheria, typhus, malaria, leprosy, and yellow fever.19 Indians in the Americas had no acquired immunity to these infectious diseases, and these diseases caused what Crosby referred to as "virgin soil epidemics," in which all members of a population would be infected simultaneously." Historian Andrés Reséndez of University of California, Davis, pushes back against this narrative, and says the available evidence suggests "slavery has emerged as major killer" of the indigenous populations of the Caribbean between 1492 and 1550 more so than diseases such as smallpox, influenza and malaria.BOOK, Reséndez, Andrés, 2016, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America,weblink Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 17, 978-0547640983, Andrés Reséndez, He says that indigenous populations did not experience a rebound like European populations did following the Black Death because unlike the latter, the former were subjected to deadly forced labor in gold and silver mines on a massive scale.NEWS,weblink The new book 'The Other Slavery' will make you rethink American history, Treuer, David, 13 May 2016, The Los Angeles Times, 21 June 2019,

Slavery and serfdom

The natives of the island were systematically subjugated via the encomienda system implemented by Columbus.JOURNAL, Yeager, Timothy J., 1995, Encomienda or Slavery? The Spanish Crown's Choice of Labor Organization in Sixteenth-Century Spanish America, The Journal of Economic History, 55, 4, 842–859, 2123819, 10.1017/S0022050700042182, Adapted to the New World from Spain, it resembled the feudal system in Medieval Europe, as it was based on a lord offering "protection" to a class of people who owed labor.Lyle N. McAlister (1984). Spain and Portugal in the New World, 1492–1700. University of Minnesota Press. p. 164. {{ISBN|0-8166-1218-8}}. In addition, Spanish colonists under his rule began to buy and sell natives as slaves, including children.Olson, Julius E. and Edward G. Bourne (editors). "The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 985–1503", in The Voyages of the Northmen; The Voyages of Columbus and of John Cabot. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906), pp. 369–383.When natives on Hispaniola began fighting back against their oppressors in 1495, Columbus's men captured 1,500 Arawak men, women, and children in a single raid. The strongest were transported to Spain to be sold as slaves;BOOK, Dyson, John, Columbus: For Gold, God and Glory,weblink Madison Press Books, 978-0-670-83725-0, 183, 1991, 40 percent of the 500 shipped died en route. Historian James W. Loewen asserts that "Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves—about five thousand—than any other individual."{{sfn|Loewen|1995|pp=57–58}}According to Spanish colonist and Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas's contemporary A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, when slaves held in captivity began to die at high rates, Columbus ordered all natives over the age of thirteen to pay a hawk's bell full of gold powder every three months. Natives who brought this amount to the Spanish were given a copper token to hang around their necks. The Spanish cut off the hands of those without tokens, and left them to bleed to death.BOOK,weblink Columbus, Koning, Hans, 1976, Monthly Review Press, 978-0-85345-600-1, 86, Koning, 1 May 2015, Thousands of natives committed suicide by poison to escape their persecution.Columbus' s forced labor system was also described by his son, Ferdinand: "In the Cibao, where the gold mines were, every person of fourteen years of age or upward was to pay a large hawk's bell of gold dust; all others were each to pay twenty-five pounds of cotton. Whenever an Indian delivered his tribute, he was to receive a brass or copper token which he must wear about his neck as proof that he had made his payment; any Indian found without such a token was to be punished." BOOK,weblink The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by His Son, Ferdinand, Colón, Fernando, Keen, Benjamin, 61 'How the Admiral Completed the Conquest of Española, and What He Did to Make It Yield Revenue', 1976, Folio Society, 16 October 2019,

Violence towards Natives and Spanish colonists

During his brief reign, Columbus executed Spanish colonists for minor crimes, and used dismemberment as another form of punishment.WEB,weblink Five myths about Christopher Columbus, Lane, Kris, 8 October 2015, Washington Post, en, 4 August 2018, Columbus's soldiers killed and enslaved with impunity at every landing. When Columbus fell ill in 1495, "what little restraint he had maintained over his men disappeared as he went through a lengthy period of recuperation. The troops went wild, stealing, killing, raping, and torturing natives, trying to force them to divulge the whereabouts of the imagined treasure-houses of gold."BOOK, Stannard, David E., David Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, 1993, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-508557-0, 69,weblink 21 November 2018, Stannard, According to Las Casas, 50,000 natives perished during this period. Upon his recovery, Columbus organized his troops' efforts, forming a squadron of several hundred heavily armed men and more than twenty attack dogs. Dogs were used to hunt down natives who attempted to flee. Columbus's men tore across the land, killing thousands of sick and unarmed natives. Soldiers would use their captives for sword practice, attempting to decapitate them or cut them in half with a single blow.BOOK, Stannard, David E., American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, 1993, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-508557-0, 70,weblink 1 May 2015, Stannard, The Arawaks attempted to fight back against Columbus's men but lacked their armor, guns, swords, and horses. When taken prisoner, they were hanged or burned to death. Desperation led to mass suicides and infanticide among the natives. In just two years under Columbus's governorship, over 125,000 of the 250,000–300,000 natives in Haiti were dead, many died from lethal forced labor in the mines, in which a third of workers died every six months.BOOK, Hickel, Jason, 2018, The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions, Windmill Books, 70, 978-1786090034, Within three decades, the surviving Arawak population numbered only in the hundreds. "Virtually every member of the gentle race ... had been wiped out." Disease, warfare and harsh enslavement contributed to the depopulation.Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange Westport, 1972, p. 47.{{sfn|Abbot|2010}}{{sfn|Chrisp|2006|p=34}} Within indigenous circles, Columbus is often viewed as a key agent of genocide.JOURNAL, 10.1093/poq/nfi001, Elite Revisionists and Popular Beliefs: Christopher Columbus, Hero or Villain?, Public Opinion Quarterly, 69, 2–29, 2005, Schuman, H., Schwartz, B., d'Arcy, H., Samuel Eliot Morison, a Harvard historian and author of a multivolume biography on Columbus writes, "The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide."BOOK, Morison, Samuel Eliot, Christopher Columbus, Mariner,weblink registration, 1955, Little Brown & Co (T); First edition, 978-0-316-58356-5, Loewen laments that while "Haiti under the Spanish is one of the primary instances of genocide in all human history", only one major history text he reviewed mentions Columbus's role in it.{{sfn|Loewen|1995|pp=63–64}}

Black Legend, relativism, and disease

Some of these accounts may be part of the Black Legend, an intentional defamation of Spain,Hanke, Lewis, "A Modest Proposal for a Moratorium on Grand Generalizations: Some Thoughts on the Black Legend", The Hispanic American Historical Review 51, No. 1 (Feb. 1971), pp. 112–127Keen, Benjamin, "The Black Legend Revisited: Assumptions and Realities", Hispanic American Historical Review 49, no. 4 (November 1969): 703–719.Keen, Benjamin, "The White Legend Revisited: A Reply to Professor Hanke's 'Modest Proposal,'" Hispanic American Historical Review 51, no. 2 (May 1971): 336–355. while others challenge the genocide narrative.NEWS,weblink Christopher Columbus XX: Hey America, my ancestor didn't cause your failings, USA Today, 4 August 2018, en, NEWS,weblink American Holocaust, Elliott, J. H., 21 October 1993, 4 February 2019, Stannard, David E., en, 0028-7504, Noble David Cook, writing about the Black Legend and the conquest of the Americas wrote, "There were too few Spaniards to have killed the millions who were reported to have died in the first century after Old and New World contact". He instead estimates that the death toll was caused by diseases like smallpox,BOOK, Noble David Cook, Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest, 1492–1650,weblink 13 February 1998, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-62730-6, 9–14, which according to some estimates had an 80–90% fatality rate in Native American populations.Arthur C. Aufderheide, Conrado Rodríguez-Martín, Odin Langsjoen (1998). The Cambridge encyclopedia of human paleopathology. Cambridge University Press. p. 205. {{ISBN|0-521-55203-6}} Disease played a significant role in the destruction of the natives. Indirect evidence suggests that some serious illness may have arrived with the 1500 colonists who accompanied Columbus's second expedition in 1493.By the end of 1494, disease and famine had claimed two-thirds of the Spanish settlers.Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange, Westport, 1972, pp. 39, 45, 47. A native Nahuatl account depicted the social breakdown that accompanied the pandemics: "A great many died from this plague, and many others died of hunger. They could not get up to search for food, and everyone else was too sick to care for them, so they starved to death in their beds."BOOK, Born to Die: Disease and the New World Conquest, Cook, Noble David, Cambridge University Press, 1998, Cambridge, 202, When the pandemic finally struck in 1519 it wiped out much of the remaining native population.BOOK,weblink Caciques and Cemí idols : the web spun by Taíno rulers between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, Oliver, José R., 2009, University of Alabama Press, 978-0-8173-5515-9, [Online-Ausg.]., Tuscaloosa, 192, 25 December 2017, NEWS,weblink Deadly Diseases: Epidemics throughout history, 25 December 2017, CNN, Charles C. Mann wrote "It was as if the suffering these diseases had caused in Eurasia over the past millennia were concentrated into the span of decades."BOOK, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, Mann, Charles C., Alfred A. Knopf, 2011, New York, 12, Some historians have argued that, while brutal, Columbus was simply a product of his time, and being a figure of the 15th century, should not be judged by the morality of the 20th century.NEWS,weblink In Person; In Defense Of Columbus, Fusco, Mary Ann Castronovo, 8 October 2000, The New York Times, 9 August 2018, en,

Physical appearance

File:Christopher Columbus Face.jpg|thumb|left|upright|In The Virgin of the NavigatorsThe Virgin of the NavigatorsAlthough an abundance of artwork involving Christopher Columbus exists, no authentic contemporary portrait has been found.Alden, Henry Mills. Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Volume 84, Issues 499–504. Published by Harper & Brothers, 1892. Originally from Harvard University. Digitized on 16 December 2008. 732. Retrieved on 8 September 2009. 'Major, Int. Letters of Columbus, ixxxviii., says "Not one of the so-called portraits of Columbus is unquestionably authentic." They differ from each other, and cannot represent the same person.' James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, believes the various posthumous portraits have no historical value.{{sfn|Loewen|1995|p=55}}Sometime between 1531 and 1536, Alejo Fernández painted an altarpiece, The Virgin of the Navigators, that includes a depiction of Columbus. The painting was commissioned for a chapel in Seville's Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) and remains there, as the earliest known painting about the discovery of the Americas.John Noble, Susan Forsyth, Vesna Maric, Paula Hardy. Andalucía. Lonely Planet, 2007, p. 100Linda Biesele Hall, Teresa Eckmann. Mary, mother and warrior, University of Texas Press, 2004, p. 46At the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, 71 alleged portraits of Columbus were displayed; most did not match contemporary descriptions.Morison, Samuel Eliot Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus, pp. 47–48, Boston 1942. These writings describe him as having reddish or blond hair, which turned to white early in his life, light colored eyes,Bartolomé de Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, ed. Agustín Millares Carlo, 3 vols. (Mexico City, 1951), book 1, chapter 2, 1:29. The Spanish word garzos is now usually translated as "light blue," but it seems to have connoted light grey-green or hazel eyes to Columbus's contemporaries. The word rubio can mean "blonde," "fair," or "ruddy." The Worlds of Christopher Columbus by William D. and Carla Rahn Phillips, p. 282. as well as being a lighter-skinned person with too much sun exposure turning his face red. Accounts consistently describe Columbus as a large and physically strong man of some {{convert|6|ft|m|2|spell=in|abbr=off}} or more in height, easily taller than the average European of his day.WEB,weblink DNA Tests on Christopher Columbus' bones, on his relatives and on Genoese and Catalan claimants, 9 February 2009, The most iconic image of Columbus is a portrait by Sebastiano del Piombo, which has been reproduced in many textbooks. It agrees with descriptions of Columbus in that it shows a large man with auburn hair, but the painting dates from 1519 and cannot, therefore, have been painted from life. Furthermore, the inscription identifying the subject as Columbus was probably added later, and the face shown differs from other images, including that of the "Virgin of the Navigators.""Portrait of a Man, Said to be Christopher Columbus (born about 1446, died 1506)", Metropolitan Museum of Art{{-}}

See also


  • Cohen, J.M. (1969) The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narrative Drawn from the Life of the Admiral by His Son Hernando Colon and Others. London UK: Penguin Classics.
  • BOOK, Christopher, Columbus, Major, Richard Henry, Select Letters of Christopher Columbus: With Other Original Documents, Relating to His Four Voyages to the New World, The Hakluyt Society, London,weblink 1847, 28 February 2016
  • EB1911, Columbus, Christopher, 6, 741–746, Charles Raymond, Beazley, Raymond Beazley,
  • BOOK, Christopher, Columbus, Paolo, Toscanelli, Markham, Clements R., The Journal of Christopher Columbus (During His First Voyage), Cambridge University Press,weblink 2010, 1893, 978-1-108-01284-3, harv, 28 February 2016,
  • BOOK, Christopher, Columbus, First Voyage to America: From the log of the "Santa Maria", Dover,weblink 1991, 1938, 978-0-486-26844-6, harv, 28 February 2016
  • BOOK, A History of the Life and Actions of Adm. Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand, Columbus, 1571, in BOOK, A Collection of voyages and travels, 2, 1732, Awnsham, Churchill, Awnsham Churchill, 501–624,weblink London : Printed by assignment from Messrs. Churchill for John Walthoe ..., Tho. Wotton ..., Samuel Birt ..., Daniel Browne ..., Thomas Osborn ..., John Shuckburgh ... and Henry Lintot ...,
  • Crosby, A.W. (1987) The Columbian Voyages: the Columbian Exchange, and their Historians. Washington, DC: American Historical Association.
  • BOOK

, Columbus then and now: a life reexamined
, Miles H.
, Davidson
, 1997
, University of Oklahoma Press
, Norman, OK
, harv
, 978-0-8061-2934-1
, 28 February 2016
  • BOOK, Froom, LeRoy, Le Roy Froom, The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, 1, 1950, harv,weblink {{DjVulink, and PDF}}
  • Fuson, Robert H. (1992) The Log of Christopher Columbus. International Marine Publishing
  • Wey, Gómez Nicolás (2008). The tropics of empire: Why Columbus sailed south to the Indies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. {{ISBN|978-0-262-23264-7}}
  • BOOK

, Joseph
, Edward Lanzar
, History of Trinidad
, A.K. Newman & Co.
, 1838
, 28 February 2016,
  • BOOK, A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Irving, Washington, Washington Irving, 1828, John Murray (UK), G. & C. Carvill (US), A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Links to scans on the Internet Archive: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4.
  • BOOK, harv, Loewen, James W., James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me, 1995, The New Press, Lies My Teacher Told Me,
  • BOOK

, The Rediscovery of North America
, Barry
, Lopez
, University Press of Kentucky
, Lexicon, KY
, 1990
, harv
, 978-0-8131-1742-3
, 28 February 2016,
  • BOOK

, Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus
, Samuel Eliot
, Morison
, Samuel Eliot Morison
, Little, Brown and Company
, Boston
, 1942
, harv
, 978-1-4067-5027-0
, 28 February 2016,
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot, Christopher Columbus, Mariner, Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1955
  • BOOK

, The worlds of Christopher Columbus
, William D.
, Phillips, Jr
, Carla Rahn
, Phillips
, 1992
, Cambridge University Press
, Cambridge, UK
, harv
, 978-0-521-35097-6
, 28 February 2016
  • Sale, Kirkpatrick The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy, Plume, 1991
  • BOOK

, La Caída de Cristóbal Colón
, Varela
, Consuelo
, Madrid
, Marcial Pons
, 2006
, harv
, 978-84-96467-28-6
, 28 February 2016
  • Wilford, John Noble (1991), The Mysterious History of Columbus: An Exploration of the Man, the Myth, the Legacy, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Further reading

{{Library resources box}}
  • BOOK, Keen, Benjamin, Benjamin Keen, 1978, 1959, The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by His Son Ferdinand, Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, 978-0-313-20175-2,
  • BOOK, Winsor, Justin, 1891, Christopher Columbus and How He Received and Iimparted the Spirit of Discovery, Houghton Mifflin, Boston,weblink 28 February 2016,

External links

{{Wikisource author}}{{Commons|Christophorus Columbus|Christopher Columbus}} {{History of the Americas}}{{Spanish Empire}}{{Authority control}}

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