Christopher Columbus In 1451, a boy named Christopher Columbus (See Appendix A), who was born in Genoa, became a sailor and discoverer of a new continent.
He spoke Castilian with a little Portuguese. Although he received little education, he worked with his father, who was a weaver and had a wine shop. During Columbus’ youth, he sailed in between his looming duties, shipping and receiving wool and wine for his father. When Columbus was in his twenties, he joined other exporting fleets, traveling around Spain, to England, Portugal, the Mediterranean Sea, and to West Africa (see Appendix B).
In his youth he wanted to find easier ways to trade. Columbus thought of reaching Asia by sailing West. He worked with a map maker, and “Became obsessed with the idea of reaching the Spice Islands via Western route”, (Sources of the West, 187). This is a goal he hoped to accomplish when he became a sailor.
During his youthful sailing days, his ship was sunk by pirates on a trip to Portugal (Parry, 344)! . He took refuge in Portugal where he was left poor.After his youth days had ended, it was time to find his profession as a man. In the 15th Century Spain, trade was a primary source of their economy.
The Turks conquered Constantinople and the Eastern Mediterranean. Land routes were restricted from Europe to Asia. Spaniards knew that the Earth was round, and scientists backed the idea.Spain was in need of new sources of wealth. With 98% of Spain poor peasant (Zinn, 2), the idea of finding a western sea trade route was not improbable. It would open up a new trade route, and bring wealth to the suffering country. When Columbus was in Portugal, he decided to propose his idea of sailing West to monarchs. He brought his ideas to Portugal first.
They rejected his idea because of his underestimates of the size of the ocean.Columbus thought it was 25% smaller than what it really was. Next, Columbus brought his ideas to Spain. Here they turned him down for seven years because ships were already rounding Africa. Finally, in April, 1492, he was contracted by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain (see Appendix C). The idea seemed logical.
They already knew the Earth was round. There was no thought of a continent in-between, and the winds and currents all flowed West. His purpose (see Appendix D) was to find the legendary Isle Antilla, and find a western route to Cipangno and Cathay(China, Japan). Columbus demanded to be knighted, become Admiral of the Ocean Sea, be viceroy of new lands, and receive ten percent of the wealth (see Appendix E).
In August 3, 1492, at the port of Palos, Columbus started his first voyage (see Appendix F).The fleet of three ships (see Appendix G), sailed West under 35* North halfway, then they shifted Southwest. On October 12, 1492, they landed on Guanahan, which Spaniards latter named San Salvador(Our Savior), (see Appendix H). He later went to Cuba, Juana, and Hispaiola (see Appendix H and I).
Columbus believed it could have been a chain of islands off the coast of China or Japan. They established a colony off the coast of Hispaiola (see Appendix J). Columbus did not, however, find Asia, or what they hoped, the Spice Island Trade ports.They did come in contact with inhabitants of the islands, whom they brought back to Spain, proving they found Indians from Asia.
Columbus’ purpose was to find a trade route to Asia, he did not achieve this. In the following three voyages, he failed to achieve the purpose. Although there were some benefits, most factors of the voyages were failures.
The Western expeditions were failures. The purpose of Columbus’ voyages was to find a western route to the Spice Islands of what we call Japan and China, he did not accomplish this. They landed on what the Spaniards named San Salvador.Columbus knew, however, that this was an island, only he thought it was part of Japan. He also discovered Hispaiola which he thought was an Island off China.
Columbus was convinced that there was a mainland somewhere (see Appendix I). He traveled ten days in search of Cuba, but had to turn back because one of the ships grounded. They were forced to return to Spain.Columbus returned to Spain with seized natives to prove that he reached Asia, he called them Indians. Columbus returned to the Indies, with a purpose of founding a colony that would also serve as a base for future exploration in search of the China, Japan, and India, which Columbus did not find. They voyaged ten days past San Salvador expecting to find mainland. However, a landing on Cuba was made of which Columbus d! eclared was a peninsula of mainland Asia . He still had not found the real Mainland on this voyage.
Again, Columbus returned looking for the Spice Island Trade ports. He found what he was looking for, the Mainland, only it was of South America! The again found additional islands which they stopped at. Hispaiola, originally discovered from the first voyage, had the benefit of serving as a base for future exploration. The islands from the second, third, and fourth voyages had no benefits of being discovered. Columbus claimed they were Asia, but he also knew that there were no benefits of traveling there.
They did not find a Western sea trade route leading to the Asian Mainland. Economic failures of the voyages started when Columbus landed on the islands, because even though finding gold for Spain was the goal, Columbus became greedy. Even when they first sighted land on October 12, 1492 on the first voyage, Columbus took the credit of sighting land and receiving 10,000 maravidas per year from Juan Rodriguez Bermejo who discovered it from the crows nest (Zinn, 2). The Spaniards greed began when they killed some Tanos natives because they refused to trade as many bows and arrows as they wanted. Columbus took native prisoners to guide them to source of gold (see Appendix K).
The goal of the Spaniards was to find as much gold as they could. If the inhabitants hid gold, they were tortured. Columbus ordered fourteen year-olds and older natives to collect a certain amount of gold every three months. When the natives did, they received a token to wear around their necks. If the Spaniards caught a native without a token, they would cut the hands off of ! that person as a punishment.Columbus also took the inhabitants into slavery.
“They would make fine servants,” Columbus first thought about them(Zinn, 1). The Spaniards took 1,500 men, women, and children. Five hundred were taken to Spain as slaves. Unfortunately, two hundred died en route. The remaining slaves were sold to work on nobles’ estates. The selling of slaves brought little profit to the debt that the trip caused.Columbus attempted to create a wealthy empire for Spain, repay the costs of the trips, and receive riches for himself.
Spain hoped to receive wealth from the trade route Columbus was expected to find. They did no …