Discovery: Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan

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CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (1451-1506)

Christopher Columbus is one of the best-known of all explorers. He is famous for his voyage in 1492, when he "discovered" America while he was looking for a way to sail to Asia.

Columbus was probably born in Genoa, Italy, around 1451. His real name was Christoforo Columbo. His wife, a Portuguese women who he married around 1480, was Felipa Perestrello e Moniz. They had one son named Diego.

He made several voyages to the New World, which he thought was Asia. His first voyage took place in 1492. He led an expedition of three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. On October 12, 1492, the expedition landed on a small island in the Caribbean Sea. Columbus was sure that he was close to Asia.

His second voyage was from 1493 to 1496. This time, he took 17 ships and 1200 sailors and colonists looking for riches in the New World and a quick route to Asia. On this trip, he explored Cuba and discovered the islands of Jamaica, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico.

He went again to the New World from 1498 to 1500. His final voyage was in 1502-1504. Christopher Columbus died in 1506.

He was not the first European to find North America. The Vikings had come to northern North America hundreds of years earlier. However, Columbus is important because his explorations made Europeans much more aware of the New World and helped to encourage more exploration of North and South America in the 1500s.

Ferdinand Magellan and his discovery of the Philippines

FERNÃO Magalhaes was born in Portugal around 1480, the son of the mayor of his native town. His interest in the nautical sciences started when he studied in the Court of Portugal. These studies filled him at an early age with enthusiasm for the great voyages of discovery which were being made at that period.

In 1505, he took part in the expedition of Francisco d’Almeida to establish the Portuguese viceroyalty in India. In 1511 he was in the Portuguese conquest of Malacca and...
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