The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus

by Valerie I. J. Flint

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After Columbus' first trip, how many more American places did he visit?

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On November 3, 1493, Columbus' second voyage reached an island he named Dominica, the most northerly of the Windward Islands, now a small independent nation in the Caribbean. He then proceeded to visit several islands in the Guadeloupe Archipelago and the Lesser and Greater Antilles. He landed at Puerto Rico on November 19th. On the 22nd he discovered that Fuerte de la Navidad on the north coast of Haiti, which he had founded on his first voyage, had been destroyed by native people, so he moved about 100 km east and set up another settlement in what is now the Dominican Republic. On April 30th of the next year, 1494, he visited and explored Cuba, and on May 5 he landed in Jamaica. He returned to Spain in the autumn of that year.
On his third voyage in 1498, Columbus first made landfall in Trinidad, on July 31. After exploring the island of Trinidad and part of the neighbouring South American coast and its islands, including Tobago and Grenada, he went back to his base in Haiti (Hispaniola), reaching there August 19th and from there sailing back to Europe.
On his fourth and last voyage, Columbus first landed in Martinique on June 15, 1502. On June 29, he reached Santo Domingo, and after being delayed by a huge storm, went briefly to Jamaica and then on July 30th to Guanaja, one of the Bay Islands off the coast of the present Honduras. He made landfall in Honduras on August 14th, and spent the next two months exploring Central America, visiting parts of the present Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. He did not attempt to return to Hispaniola until April 16th of the following year, 1503, sighting the Cayman Islands on May 10 and finally reaching Jamacia on June 25, 1503, where his damaged ships had to be beached. Due to the intense hostility of the local Spanish governor to Columbus, he did not succeed in arranging his return to Spain for a year, finally arriving there on November 7, 1504.
The list of places discovered or visited by Columbus in his three later voyages would thus run something like this (all names are modern):

  • Bay Islands (off Honduras)
  • Cayman Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Guadeloupe Archipelago
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Lesser and Greater Antilles Islands
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Puerto Rico
  • Tobago
  • Trinidad
  • Venezuala
  • Windward Islands

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