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  • Christopher Columbus

    By Anthony Parente

    There are many books and many articles written on the life of Christopher Columbus. History books tell us how In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Much of what we know about Columbus is centered around his voyages to Asia, which unknowingly turned out to be America. Instead of repeating what we already know and what we can easily find I decided to focus on the life of Columbus before and after his voyages.

    In 1451 Susanna Fontanarossa, wife of Domenico Colombo, gave birth to their first child named Cristoforo in the city of Genoa. Cristoforo Colombo was the eldest of five children. He had three brothers, Giovanni, Bartolomeo, and Giacomo, and a sister, Bianchinetta. Columbus learned a lot about the sea growing up in the major port city of Genoa. In 1476 Columbus got his first taste at how treacherous the sea could be. While sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar they were attacked by the French. It was a horrible battle with both sides suffering much loss. It proved to be an experience that Columbus would not forget. The vessel Columbus was on sunk, forcing Columbus to swim for his life and his safety. He was fortunate to reach land in Portugal.

    In 1479 Columbus married Felipa Perestrelo an aristocrat from Portugal. It was a short marriage due to the untimely death of his wife in the mid 1480's. During their marriage Felipa gave birth to a son named Diego in 1480. Diego became second Admiral of the Indies. His marriage to Felipa was two fold. First, it was a marriage of love. Second, Columbus married into nobility, which would be important in his quest to sail the open seas. Before his famous voyage Columbus and his female friend, Beatriz Enrique de Arana, conceived his second child named Fernando. Fernando grew up to be Columbus' biographer and historian charting the life and times of his father.

    Columbus had a notion that if he sailed west he would find an easier route to Asia. On August 3, 1492 Columbus set sail on his voyage to Asia. It turned out to be his most famous voyage. After his discovery of what he thought was Asia, Columbus made three other journeys back and forth from Spain and his new found land, which was called Hispaniola. His second voyage left Spain in September of 1493 and returned to Spain in 1496. His third voyage did not end up the way he had planned. Certain people in the colony of Hispaniola did not like the way he was running the commune. When news reached Spain they sent someone to see what the problem was. When they arrived they placed Columbus in chains and sent him to jail. When news reached the Queen that this was done she immediately sent for Columbus and had him returned to Spain. He later cleared himself and set sail on his fourth and final voyage.

    On May 20, 1506 Columbus died in the city of Valladolid, Spain. Over the centuries there have been many myths surrounding the life of Columbus. To this day there is uncertainty as to where his remains lie. Initially, the remains were placed in the city of Valladolid, then moved to Seville, Santo Domingo, Havana, and finally back to Seville where they rest in the Catedral de Sevilla. Many feel that the body of his son, whose remains were also in Santo Domingo, was the one sent to Havana thus leaving his remains in Santo Domingo. The people of Spain feel they have the true remains.

    The irony of it all is that Columbus died not even realizing that he had discovered new and uncharted land, which came to be known as America.

    Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to your comments and/or suggestions. Please do so by sending me an Email or posting a message on our forum.

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