Everybody knows the Americas. The continent in world consists of North and South America. As the third-largest continent, the Americas has an interesting back story, including how and by whom it was found. One name always shows up when we talked about it, Christopher Columbus.
Who Is Christopher Columbus?
Christopher Columbus is the one who has been credited with opening North and South America. He was born in Italy in 1451. He was a sailor who was on his journey to find a new way to Asia when he found the continent. But, did you know that he never realized, even until he died, that he had found two continents? Because he believed that he had landed in China, not a new unknown land.
How Was It Happen?
Because Muslims controlled the trade routes from Europe to India and Asia, he found it very difficult to travel to places on land. Columbus thought that if he sailed across the Atlantic to the west, he could somehow find a better, safer, and faster way to reach the East.
Columbus and his brother, Bartholomew, knew that the great riches of China and East Asia they can find there. However, traveling by the Silk Road was dangerous and a sea route through Africa seemed longer. Columbus thought, at that time, he could sail straight to China by crossing the Atlantic Ocean. But, it would turn out not like what he expected. He was wrong because the world is so much larger and there’s another land between Europe and Asia, which is the Americas.
On October 12, 1492 land was spotted. It was a small island in the Bahamas that Columbus named San Salvador. He met the natives there and he called them Indians. It was because he thought and believed that he had landed on islands off the coast of East Asia. He also visited other islands in the Caribbean.
Interesting Christopher Columbus Facts for Kids
- Like it was mentioned before, Christopher Columbus was born on October 31, 1451, in Genoa, Italy.
- His parents were Susanna and Domenico Columbus. His father was a weaver by trade.
- Christopher worked in his father’s shop when he was young, but he always wanted to be a sailor.
- He began sailing when he was just a teenager when he went on trading voyages around the Mediterranean Sea.
- In 1476, when Columbus was 25 years old, the ships that he was sailing with were attacked by French Pirates.
- He moved in with his brother Bartholomew in Portugal and ran a small shop that sold maps for sailors.
- In Portugal, Columbus met and married his wife, Dona Felipa Moniz de Perestrello, and had a son named Diego.
- In 1492, the king and queen of Spain agreed to help to fund his journey to Asia. They gave him three ships which called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
- He and his crew set sail in August in search of the Indies, the land of spices.
- In October, his crew sighted land. Columbus claimed that they had reached the Indies. But, in reality, it was an island off the coast of Florida, which he named San Salvador.
- There they met friendly natives who traded beads, spears, and parrots with them.
- Columbus left 39 men behind to build a settlement on the coast of Hispaniola before returning to Europe.
- The king and queen of Spain were very happy and agreed to finance two more trips. When Columbus settled in Hispaniola, he discovered that the settlement had been destroyed.
- When Columbus died in 1506, he still believed he had discovered a trade route through China.
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