Christopher Columbus was born in Italy 1451 to Domenico Colombo, a middle class wool-weaver, and Susanna Fontanarossa. Even with having an unknown childhood, it is apparent that he was well-educated because he was able to speak several languages as an adult and had considerable knowledge of classical literature Columbus first took to the sea when he was 14 years old and this continued throughout his younger life. During the 1470s, he went on numerous trading trips that took him to the Aegean Sea, Northern Europe, and possibly Iceland. In 1479, he met his brother Bartolomeo, a mapmaker, in Lisbon. He later married Filipa Moniz Perestrello and in 1480, his son Diego was born. The family stayed in Lisbon until 1485, when Columbus' wife Filipa died. From there, Columbus and Diego moved to Spain where he began trying to obtain a grant to explore western trade routes. He believed that because the earth was sphere, a ship could reach the Far East and set up trading routes in Asia by sailing west. After receiving significant funding from the Spanish monarchs, Columbus set sail on August 3, 1492 with three ships, the Pinta, Nina, and Santa Maria, and 104 men. After a short stop at the Canary Islands to resupply and make minor repairs, the ships set out across the Atlantic. This voyage took five weeks - much longer than Columbus expected, as he thought the world was smaller than it is. During this time, many of the crew members contracted diseases and died, or died from hunger and thirst. Columbus' final voyage began on May 9, 1502 and he arrived in Hispaniola in June. Once there, he was forbidden from entering the colony so he continued to explore further. On July 4, he set sail again and later found Central America. In January 1503, he reached Panama and found a small amount of gold but was forced out of the area by those who lived there. After numerous problems and a year of waiting on Jamaica after his ships had problems, Columbus set sail for...
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