The Historical Life of Christopher Columbus

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In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. This childhood rhyme taught to me by my mother nearly 16 years ago to remember the year Christopher Columbus discovered America. This rhyme along with the names of his three ships: The Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria served me well all through grade school, high school, and part of college when studying this valiant explorer. I say part of college, because now here in 2012 I have learned new truths about Christopher Columbus and his expeditions. Christopher Columbus, a masterful seaman, portrayed as honorable and dedicated to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand was in reality an egotistical, self promoting, calculating, crafty, and brutal sailor. Columbus made four major voyages, each more exposing than the last. Christopher Columbus was born 1451 in Genoa, Italy to Domenico and Susanna Colombo. His mother and father were both from a long lineage of weavers, so it is assumed that Christopher and his siblings would also become weavers. Christopher attended school for the children of weavers operated by the professional weaver’s guild. School was rigorous and lasted 13 hours per day. When not at school, Christopher would work at his father’s shop carding wool. This is an extremely monotonous procedure. At the age of 14 Christopher left school and the family business to attain fame and wealth, his two primary objectives in life. Columbus apprenticed himself to a merchant on a trading ship, and at the young age of 19 sailed on his first long voyage to the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. This is where Columbus learned to navigate. Drive and determination characterized Columbus’ life. Money, fame and fortune were his motivating forces through each phase, hurdle, and voyage. Columbus was living in Lisbon. Full of passion and a quest for knowledge and exploration, Columbus immersed himself in all the city had to offer. Many of the sharpest minds of the time gathered in Lisbon; scientists,...
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