Christopher Columbus

The great explorer

Before his journey

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451. He later lived in Lisbon where he worked as a trader. He learned how to make maps and navigate a ship.
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A shortcut to China

Columbus and his brother, Bartholomew, knew that there were great riches to be had in China . However, travelling overland was dangerous and a sea route around Africa seemed much too long. Columbus thought he could sail straight to China by crossing the Atlantic Ocean. It would turn out that Columbus was wrong. The Earth was much larger than he thought and there was another land, the Americas, between Europe and Asia.

Three ships

Columbus spent years trying to convince someone to pay for his voyage. He first tried to get the King of Portugal to pay for his journey, but he was not interested. Finally, he persuaded the king and queen of Spain to pay for the trip.


He set sail on August 3, 1492 with three ships named the Nina (which is the name of my mum!), the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.


The voyage was long and difficult. At one point his men wanted to turn back. Columbus promised them he would turn back in two days if they didn't find land. In his journal, however, he wrote that he had no intention of turning back


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Finding land

On October 12, 1492 land was spotted. It was a small island that Columbus would name San Salvador. He met natives there that he called Indians because he was convinced that he had landed on islands off the coast of East Asia.

Returning home

After making his discovery, Columbus returned home to Spain to claim his riches. Only the Pinta and the Nina were able to return to Spain, however, as the Santa Maria was wrecked.


Columbus left 43 men behind. Upon returning home, Columbus was treated like a hero. He presented some of the things he had found including turkeys, pineapples, and some natives he had captured. The King of Spain was pleased enough to give Columbus money for future journeys of discovery.

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