Christopher Columbus

Columbus in an 1892 Print by Girsch & Roehsler
Columbus in an 1892 Print by Girsch & Roehsler. Public Domain; Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Christopher Columbus was also known as:

Cristoforo Colombo; Crostóbal Colón

Christopher Columbus was noted for:

Discovering America when he was seeking a westward route to India. Columbus was also a remarkable navigator and gutsy sailor, navigating by the stars to sail across the uncharted sea as no other was known to have done.

Occupations and Role in Society:

Explorer

Places of Residence and Influence:

Italy
Spain

Important Dates:

Born: 1451
Sets sail from Spain: Aug. 3, 1492
Discovered America: Oct. 12, 1492
Died: May 21, 1506

About Christopher Columbus:

Christopher Columbus discovered America when he was seeking a westward route to India. To his dying day, the master mariner and navigator believed he had achieved his quest, and denied discovering a new continent. While Columbus was not the first European to encounter America, he did achieve what no known previous explorer had: he sailed directly across the uncharted sea, without staying in sight of land, navigating by the stars.

It would be a decade before Europeans realized that the lands Columbus had reached were not part of Asia but an entirely different continent. This was due to astronomical observations made by Amerigo Vespucci off the coast of South America.

In light of Vespucci's calculations, Columbus' own denials, and the earlier voyage of Leif Ericsson, the achievement of the 1492 expedition is sometimes erroneously dismissed as insignificant.

But it is important to remember that without the voyages of Christopher Columbus, Vespucci would have had no opportunity to conclude a "new continent" had been discovered, and the Americas would not have been opened to European incursion -- for good or for ill -- at that time in history. The development of American civilization, and perhaps even world civilization, could therefore have proceeded along entirely different lines.

Christopher Columbus Resources:

Christopher Columbus Image Gallery
Christopher Columbus in Print
Christopher Columbus on the Web


Exploration, Expansion & Discovery
Medieval Italy
Medieval Iberia



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