Christopher Columbus was born on October 31, 1451. Columbus was an explorer and navigator of the 14th Century who came from the Republic of Genoa. He was of Italian descent and his father was a wool weaver, while his mother was a housewife. Columbus had four siblings and was a Scorpio by design. He began an apprenticeship in 1473 for noble houses of Genoa like Spinola, Centurione, and Di Negro. Columbus learned Latin, Castilian, and Portuguese before his voyages. He is best known for his contributions to European exploration and America’s colonization and is one of the most celebrated men of the 14th Century. Join us as we celebrate his birthday today!
Christopher Columbus proposed his planned voyages to several kings and noblemen, seeking financial support, but was rejected each time. He finally got help from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The explorer completed four round-trip voyages between Spain and the Americas, with each voyage sponsored by the Crown of Castille. These four voyages were completed between 1492 and 1504.
On his first voyage in 1492, Columbus discovered the Bahamas, previously called San Salvador. The land was inhabited by Indians, whom he claimed he could conquer with 50 men. Columbus also explored Cuba’s northeast coast and made his last stop in the Americas in 1493. He returned to Castille in early 1493 and soon departed for his second voyage with 17 ships and 1,500 men. Columbus stopped at an island he named Dominica before anchoring at Mariagalante. After a successful second voyage which featured the enslavement of indigenous people and shipment of over 500 enslaved people to Spain, Columbus returned to Spain. He left for his third voyage in May 1498 and explored Trinidad, Venezuela, and others. However, reports of his tyranny and incompetence reached King Ferdinand, and Columbus was jailed six weeks before his release. He resumed his fourth voyage in 1502, sailing to Central America. He explored Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras for two months. Columbus and his men got stranded in Jamaica before being rescued by the Spanish king in 1504. He returned to Sanlucar, Spain, in November.
Columbus suffered recurring illnesses that left him bedridden, temporarily blind, and feverish for months during his voyages. Columbus thought this illness to be gout, but modern scientists claim it is reactive arthritis. After unsuccessful pleas to the crown to defend his privileges, the explorer died on May 20, 1506. His remains lay in the Columbus Lighthouse. His two sons survived him.
Columbus departs for the Americas with three ships.
Columbus departs for the Americas, once again, this time with 17 ships.
Columbus explores both Cuba and Jamaica.
Columbus departs Spain with six ships.
Columbus sails to Arzila and then Central America.
Why We Love Christopher Columbus
His work was vital
Columbus’ voyages inaugurated periods of exploration, conquest, and colonization, which lasted centuries. Through his expeditions, maps got created, and paths were paved.
He was hardworking
Even in sickness, Columbus still traveled the wild seas to discover America. His work ethic is commendable.
He loves his sons
Columbus was a leader who prioritized family. He took his sons on some of his voyages.
5 Surprising Facts
He had a mistress
Columbus kept a mistress named Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, who was an orphan.
He traveled with a cartographer
Columbus made his voyages with cartographer Juan de la Cosa, who made the first world map of the New World.
He named many islands
Columbus named the islands of Montserrat, Saint Martin, the Virgin Islands, Antigua, and many others.
He used dismemberment as punishment
Columbus used dismemberment as a form of punishment for Spanish colonists.
He enslaved indigenes
Columbus enslaved the indigenous people, including children of the countries he visited.
Christopher Columbus FAQs
When was Christopher stripped of his titles?
Columbus was stripped of his titles when he was arrested and jailed for six weeks.
What did Christopher Columbus look like?
Columbus had an aquiline nose, a ruddy complexion, and bright-colored eyes.
Did Christopher Columbus have red hair?
Yes, the explorer was a redhead.
Christopher Columbus’s birthday dates