Columbus’ Voyages (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The beginnings of major European colonization of the Western Hemisphere, accompanied by the decline of indigenous peoples.
Summary of Event
Although not the first European to set foot in the New World, Christopher Columbus is credited with opening it to European settlement. His first voyage brought the area to the attention of Europe, and his second began the colonization by Spain.
Details of the birth and early life of Columbus are not definitely known. He was probably born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. He had little schooling and went to sea as a young man. About 1476, he went to Portugal and settled in Lisbon, the center of Portuguese maritime activities. There Columbus received an education, sailed on several voyages, married a Portuguese lady of the lower nobility, and became a prosperous ship captain.
Columbus became convinced that the East Indies could be reached by sailing west. The idea was not new, but most experts agreed that the voyage was too long and difficult. When Columbus offered the plan to King John II of Portugal in 1484, the king rejected it in favor of the route around the tip of South Africa. Three years later, Bartolomeu Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope and seemed to justify the king’s decision.
In 1485, Columbus moved to Spain, and the Duke of Medina Celi introduced him to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Isabella showed interest in...
(The entire section is 1612 words.)
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