The Voyages of Columbus
Christopher Columbus started off on his first voyage from the port of Palos (near Huelva) in southern Spain, on August 3, 1492, in command of three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. His crew mostly came from surrounding towns such as Lepe and Moguer. Columbus called first at the Canary Islands, the westernmost Spanish possessions. He was delayed there for four weeks by calm winds and the need for repair and refit. Columbus left the island of Gomera on September 6, 1492, but calms again left him within sight of the western island of Hierro until September 8. Columbus had expected the voyage to take four weeks, but that deadline came and went without sighting land. The crews of his ships became restless and some argued that a return to Spain was in order. On October 10, Columbus struck a deal with his men: if no land was found in the next three days, they would turn back for Spain. At two hours past midnight on October 12, land was sighted by Rodrigo de Triana (also known as Juan Rodriguez), a sailor aboard the Pinta. Columbus went ashore the next morning at an island he called San Salvador, which the natives called Guanahani. The identity of his landfall island is in dispute, but it was most likely one of the Plana Cays in the Bahamas. At Guanahani, Columbus met and traded with the Native Americans of the Lucayan tribe. He also kidnapped several of the natives to act as guides before leaving two days later. He stopped at three other islands in the Bahamas over the next two weeks, which he named Santa Maria de la Concepción, Fernandina, and Isabela. These are most likely the Crooked-Acklins group, Long Island, and Fortune Island, respectively. His final stop in the Bahamas was at the Ragged Islands, which he called the Islas de Arena (Sand Islands). Following the directions of his native guides, he arrived at Bariay Bay, Cuba on October 28. Columbus spent fruitless weeks in Cuba searching for gold, or for the Chinese...
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