Professor Peter Cash 23 July 2010
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, navigator and colonizer from Genoa, Italy. His voyages across the Atlantic led to the discovery of America while trying to find an all water route to India and China. “In the 19th century, Christopher Columbus was regarded as one of the most heroic and significant figures of his or any age. The Admiral of the Ocean Seas was celebrated throughout the Americas as a visionary who braved the unknown on a mission of discovery that created a New World” (The American journey p18). He had four voyages that where all funded by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Although Christopher Columbus was not the first to reach America from Europe, the voyage of 1492 occurred at a critical time of economic competition between countries seeking wealth by establishing an all water trade route to Asia. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand bought into the idea and funded his journeys. He followed his planned course to India but instead landed in the Bahamas mistaking it for India. Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa in 1451; this is part of modern day Italy. His father was a middle-class wool weaver, who also had a cheese stand where Christopher would help. Christopher Columbus also had become a chart maker for a period of time. In 1473 Columbus began his apprenticeship becoming a business agent for the important Centurion families of Genoa. In 1476 Christopher was part of an armed convoy sent by Genoa to bring valuables to Europe. He still continued trading for Centurion families and later married Filipa Moniz Perestrello, who was well off in life, daughter of the Porto Santo governor. Columbus had become a great sailor and was working for the Portuguese merchant service by his early thirties. “By the time he was 31 or 32, Columbus had become a master mariner in the Portuguese merchant service”. (Christopher Columbus p2) European merchants always had fairly easy and safe land travel to Asia until the “Fall of Constantinople” to the Turks in 1453 the land route to Asia became much more difficult and dangerous to carry goods because there was a high chance they would be stolen and the person transporting them killed. By 1480 Columbus thought of a plan to sail due west across the Atlantic Ocean and hit the east coast of Asia. In 1485 Columbus presented his idea to John II, the King of Portugal. He asked the King for three sturdy ships and to give him one year to sail the Atlantic ocean as far west to find a all water route to Asia. Columbus also requested to be made “Great Admiral of the Ocean” made governor of any land discovered and given 10 percent of revenue from those lands discovered. The king submitted the proposition to his experts and the turned it down. The king’s experts thought that the distance Columbus estimated of 2,400 miles was muchto short of a distance. Three years later Columbus went before the king and court of Portugal again this visit turned out to be the same as the last three years earlier. This time it failed to be approved because a man named Bartholomeu Dias returned to Portugal with news of success rounding the Southern most tip of Africa to make a route to Asia. Columbus also made his proposition to Venice and Genoa but they gave no interest in return. Columbus also tried to see if England would be interested in his proposition of finding a westward route to Asia. But by the time England had considered it, the invitation to come talk had come to late. Columbus had already made contract with Spain. Spain’s royal advisers thought that Columbus had...
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