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Added: Lc Jenkins - Date: However, he died a disappointed man. Columbus made four transatlantic voyages: —93, —96, —, and — He traveled primarily to the Caribbean, including the BahamasCubaSanto Domingoand Jamaicaand in his latter two voyages traveled to the coasts of eastern Central America and northern South America.

Some people say Columbus discovered America or the "New World," but Vikings such as Leif Eriksson had visited North America centuries earlier, and Native American tribes had lived in the Americas for centuries before either Columbus or the Vikings arrived. Numerous books about Columbus appeared in the s, and the insights of archaeologists and anthropologists began to complement those of sailors and historians.

This effort gave rise to considerable debate. There was also a major shift in approach and interpretation; the older pro-European understanding gave way to one shaped from the perspective of the inhabitants of the Americas themselves.

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The more recent perspective, however, has concentrated on the destructive side of the European conquest, emphasizing, for example, the disastrous impact of the slave trade and the ravages of imported disease on the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean region and the American continents.

The sense of triumph has diminished accordingly, and the view of Columbus as hero has now been replaced, for many, by one of a man deeply flawed. Political activists of all kinds have intervened in the debate, further hindering the reconciliation of these disparate views. Columbus was the eldest son of Domenico Colombo, a Genoese wool worker and merchant, and Susanna Fontanarossa, his wife. His career as a seaman began effectively in the Portuguese merchant marine. After surviving a shipwreck off Cape Saint Vincent at the southwestern point of Portugal inhe based himself in Lisbontogether with his brother Bartholomew.

In he sailed to Iceland and Ireland with the merchant marine, and in he was buying sugar in Madeira as an agent for the Genoese firm of Centurioni. In he met and married Felipa Perestrello e Moniz, a member of an impoverished noble Portuguese family. Their son, Diegowas born in Some conspiracy theorists have alleged that Columbus made a secret pact with the monarch, but there is no evidence of this. After at least two rejections, he at last obtained royal support in January A direct assault eastward could prove difficult, because the Ottoman Empire and other Islamic states in the region had been gaining strength at a pace that was Seeking an amazing Columbus with the Christian monarchies themselves.

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The Islamic powers had effectively closed the land routes to the East and made the sea route south from the Red Sea extremely hard to access. In the letter that prefaces his journal of the first voyage, the admiral vividly evokes his own hopes and binds them all together with the conquest of the infidel, the victory of Christianity, and the westward route to discovery and Christian alliance:. Thus a great of interests were involved in this adventure, which was, in essence, the attempt to find a route to the rich land of Cathay Chinato Indiaand to the fabled gold and spice islands of the East by sailing westward over what was pd to be open sea.

Columbus himself clearly hoped to rise from his humble beginnings in this way, to accumulate riches for his family, and to the ranks of the nobility of Spain. In a similar manner, but at a more exalted level, the Catholic Monarchs hoped that such an enterprise would gain them greater status among the monarchies of Europe, especially against their main rival, Portugal. Then, in alliance with the papacy in this case, with the Borgia pope Alexander VI [—]they might hope to take the lead in the Christian war against the infidel. At a more elevated level still, Franciscan brethren were preparing for the eventual end of the world, as they believed was prophesied in the Revelation to John.

According to that eschatological vision, Christendom would recapture Jerusalem and install a Christian emperor in the Holy Land as a precondition for the coming and defeat of Antichristthe Christian conversion of the whole human raceand the Last Judgment. The emperor of Cathay—whom Europeans referred to as the Great Nea Kydonia personal ads wfm of the Golden Horde —was himself held to be interested in Christianity, and Columbus carefully carried a letter of friendship addressed to him by the Spanish monarchs.

It would never do to allow the Portuguese to find the sea route first. Christopher Columbus. Learning Guides. Videos Images Interactives. Additional Info.

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Print print Print. Table Of Contents. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites.

Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires. External Websites. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Valerie I. Flint G. Below is the full article. For the article summary, see Christopher Columbus summary. Top Questions. Christopher Columbus was a navigator who explored the Americas under the flag of Spain.

Some people think of him as the "discoverer" of America, but this is not strictly true. His voyages across the Atlantic paved the way for European colonization and exploitation of the Americas.

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Western colonialism. European exploration.

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Columbus's journeys to the Americas opened the way for European countries to colonize and exploit those lands and their peoples. Trade was soon established between Europe and the Americas. Plants native to the Americas such as potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco were imported to Europe. This trade route also paved the way for the slave trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Explorers and settlers brought with them diseases that had a devastating effect on Native American populations.

Many native peoples perished or were driven from their homes by colonizers. Christopher Columbus with his sons, Diego and Ferdinand, and a woman; engraving by I. Stockdale, Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. Christopher Columbus second from right planning his expedition to the New World.

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