Meet Christopher Columbus

Meet Christopher Columbus

by Charles Margerison

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Meet Christopher Columbus by Charles Margerison

Get to know Christopher Columbus in a truly unique way through BioViews®. This great explorer, colonizer and navigator, reveals his own incredible story. Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean four times for the Spanish Monarchy, opening the American continents, which would become the ‘New World' of colonization from Europe and heading expeditions to ‘find Asia'!! These voyages spread Christian religion, made great leaps forward in the field of navigation and had an enormous effect on the history of the Western World. Christopher Columbus' story comes to life through BioViews® which are short biographical narratives, similar to interviews. These inspirational stories from Amazing People Worldwide® provide a new way of learning about amazing people who made major contributions and changed our world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781921752896
Publisher: Amazing People Worldwide
Publication date: 06/01/2012
Series: Amazing People Worldwide - Inspirational
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 16
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Educational psychologist and entrepreneur, Dr Charles Margerison, created the concept for the Amazing People series during a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, when he wondered what Shakespeare might say if he was interviewed about his life achievements. The series now features the stories of over 500 amazing people.As well as working in educational institutions for many years, Dr Margerison has consulted widely for global organizations. He was previously Professor of Management at Cranfield University, UK, and the University of Queensland, Australia. The author of numerous books, Dr Margerison is a member of the Royal Institution and the Royal Society of Literature.

Read an Excerpt

Meet Christopher Columbus

By Charles Margerison

Viewpoint Resources Ltd

Copyright © 2017 Charles Margerison
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-921752-89-6


Christopher Columbus

1451 – 1506

They said we would not return
Doomed before we started
Seeking fool's gold, beyond the known world
A voyage to nowhere, other than hell
That is what the 'flat-earth' believers told us
They said we would come to the end of the ocean
Then, we would crash, like a waterfall, into an abyss
Who were these know it alls, who had been nowhere?
Priests with their scriptures
Academics with their theories
The bar room opinion-makers
Armchair clairvoyants who only saw fear and dread
I was of a different breed than those flat-earth worms
The sights, sounds and smell of the sea, were with me from birth
Born in Genoa, the sea was part of my childhood
With my four brothers, many hours were spent fishing
At the age of ten, I had already made one sea-going voyage
My father, in contrast, was a wool weaver
He was concerned about my fascination with ships
It was an itinerant life, subject to great danger
By the age of 19, I was in the service of René of Anjou
As pirates, we attacked ships belonging to the Moors
Another task was to conquer Naples
It was the start of a seafaring life
A life of service to powerful and wealthy sponsors
Most of my education came from my apprenticeship
In 1473, I began training as a business agent
The Centurione family employed me
Various voyages were required to export and import goods
Trips to the Aegean Sea, and later, to England and Ireland
They all gave me a wider understanding of the world
In 1476, my ship was sunk in a battle
Fortunately, I was able to swim ashore
On one of the voyages, I visited Lisbon, Portugal
My brother, Bartholomew, lived there
We talked about the opportunities
I promised to return
It was to be a place that would be important in my life
The following years, I sailed to Iceland, and also to Guinea
The cold and the heat were both challenging
Traveling north and south, I learnt a lot
It was a time of discovery
Returning to Portugal, I was introduced to a young lady
She charmed me, after all my years at sea
Filipa Moniz Perestrelo became my wife
She came from a seafaring family
In 1480, we had a son who we named Diego Colon
With family responsibilities, I looked for opportunities
My knowledge, until that point, came from travel and action
My wife gave me navigation charts that her father had drawn
They were of the Atlantic Ocean, and proved very helpful
In the fifth year of our marriage, disaster struck
My wife died of consumption
Making arrangements for my son, I moved to Cadiz
It gave me time to think
There, I met Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, a lady from a noble family
We enjoyed each other's company
In 1488, we had a son, Ferdinand
During that time, I made plans for a voyage of discovery
My ambition was to explore new destinations
The sea route to China was quite well-known
Silks, spices and opiates regularly arrived in Europe
The Indies, however, were a mystery
The King of Portugal would not support the plan
Traveling to Spain, I found the King and Queen more positive
Ferdinand and Isabella were willing to sponsor an exploration
The Capitulations of Santa Fe was an agreement we signed
They believed new lands, with great riches, lay to the west
My task was to claim them for Spain
It was a position of great trust
After all, I was an Italian leading a Spanish expedition
A voyage to the New World
New people to meet
New spices to find
New lands to conquer
Gold and silver
Riches beyond imagination
It was the first of four such journeys in just over ten years
Small ships and big storms
Battling huge waves and surviving to tell the tale

The First Voyage

In my 42nd year, we set sail from Palos, Spain
There were three ships
It was August 3rd 1492
However, problems arose with the vessels
Repair work required us to spend a month at Gomera Island
From the north-east coast of Africa, we sailed west
A meteorite hit the ocean ahead, causing concern from the crew
They had heard the doom-mongers and were anxious
Fortunately, no major damage fell upon us
For 35 days we sailed, often through lots of seaweed
Serious trouble arose with crew members
Some threatened to throw me overboard if we did not turnabout
On Wednesday October 10th there was open talk of mutiny
Fortunately, on the 11th, land was spotted
We had traveled about 3400 nautical miles
The crew were delighted not to be falling off the Earth
A Spanish flag was raised on San Salvador
Within a short time, some tribal natives arrived
Most were under 30 years of age
All were naked and their skin was dark in color
Some wore gold jewellery
On October 28th, following their directions, we set sail for Cuba
The people there ran away when they saw us
I ordered that not one thing of their belongings be touched
We moved on and arrived in Hispaniola by December 5th
It was later renamed as Haiti
The other part became the Dominican Republic
It was a beautiful place and we stayed to explore it
On Sunday December 16th, there was a surprise
The local King arrived with 500 men
I sent him a gift and told my men not to harm anyone
We stayed a month, searching for gold
On Christmas Day, our ship the Santa Maria ran aground
From the wreckage, we built the first settlement in the New World
The 40 men of the Santa Maria crew were left to guard it
On January 16th, with two ships, we sailed for Spain
It was a tough voyage, with storms and large ocean waves
Our ships became separated
Eventually, the Nina arrived in Lisbon on March 3rd
The Pinta arrived on March 15th 1493
There was much celebration and many stories to tell
Much drink was consumed and passions fulfilled
The King and Queen were pleased with the land acquired
I assumed that we had found a passage to India and China
Another voyage was needed to exploit our gains
After time to recover and plan, the next expedition was ready

The Second Voyage

It did not take too much to persuade their Highnesses
They could see the benefits of another voyage
On September 25th 1493, we sailed from Cadiz
The aim this time was colonization
Instead of doom and gloom, there was talk of gold
So, 17 ships with over 1500 men set forth
Riches lay in store at what became known as Puerto Rico
The natives showed us how to find gold
Sailing onwards, we returned to Hispaniola
Devastation faced us
All the men, we had left behind, on the first voyage were dead
It was said they took women from one of the tribes
The tribesmen retaliated
We moved on, to establish our first colony
La Isabella was the name I gave to it, on December 8th
Following that, on April 24th 1494, I took three ships
The aim was to make landfall in China
Instead, we found Cuba, once more, and then Jamaica
The Indians were hostile and we had to leave
Eventually, by September, we returned to La Isabella
It had been a very long voyage to find little
In addition, I became seriously ill
Days and nights of fever gripped me
On recovering, I tried to develop the colony
Not everyone accepted my role as the monarch's Viceroy
Many of the young sons of nobility resented my authority
To them, I was an Italian foreigner and always would be
But, there were external threats
The Indians commenced a war and suffered badly in defeat
Victory assured, it was time to return once more to Spain
On March 10th 1496, we set sail, arriving in early June
The voyage, in total, had taken us nearly three years
The crew celebrated their homecoming in great style
Many wasting much of their pay in a few days
The King and Queen were delighted to hear that Spain had a new colony
However, I wondered, how would the colonists survive?
Would they be there when the next voyage was made?

The Third Voyage

On May 30th 1498, I set sail once again
In the two years on land, we had made detailed plans
Six ships were made ready for the voyage
Three would return to Hispaniola, with supplies for the colonists
The other three ships I led on a voyage of exploration
Near the equator, on the African coast, we entered the doldrums
The heat was oppressive and there was no wind
Water supplies ran very low
Sailing north by east, I saw an island with three hills
It reminded me of the Holy Trinity, for I was a religious person
Trinidad was the name I gave to the island
There we gained water on the south coast, in early August
Our explorations showed we had arrived in South America
We were the first Europeans to see that great new continent
Landfall was made to the great delight of all
The freshwater River Orinoco was a welcome sight
However, I became very ill
It was essential to rest and try to recover
After recuperating, my decision was to go north to revisit Hispaniola
En route seeing Margarita Island and naming Tobago and Grenada
Our arrival in Hispaniola was not welcomed
The colonists in Santa Domingo staged a revolt against my rule
Firm decisions had to be made and I took charge
Colonists were punished for their insurrection
Some crew members were hanged for ill-discipline
In the process, I made many enemies
The bad news drifted back to Spain
The monarchs sent Bobadilla, a Royal Commissioner
In October 1500, he had me arrested and sent back to Spain
Tied in shackles, it was a humiliating end to my voyages
The captain wanted to free me
I told him only the King could do that
The Monarch released me, following my letter to him
But, he removed my titles
However, it was not the end of my voyages

The Fourth Voyage

On May 11th 1502, I set sail once more
My son, Ferdinand, aged 13, was with me
Also, Bartholomew, my brother, joined the crew
I was aged 51, experienced, but feeling my years, on such a hard voyage
Leaving Cadiz, with four ships, we searched for the Western Passage
In total, there were 140 men under my command
At Arzila, in Morocco, we rescued Portuguese sailors
Moving on, we reached Martinique
A hurricane was brewing, so we continued towards Hispaniola
The seas were very rough and dangerous
On arriving in Santa Domingo, the Governor refused to let us dock
Feelings, from my last visit, were running high
He also refused to heed my hurricane storm warning
A Spanish treasure fleet left port against my advice
Only one ship survived
My enemies went to the depths, and also some friends
With my crew, we rode out the hurricane on the Jaina River
Then, we set sail and arrived at Jamaica
By the end of July, we were near Honduras
On August 14th we landed near Trujillo
For the next two months, we spent time exploring Central America
Nicaragua and Costa Rica were beautiful, but dangerous places
On October 16th 1502 we arrived in Panama
All these lands had incredible riches
Yet, the people were dirt poor
They survived from day-to-day, not planning for the future
My view was that they needed Catholicism and strong rule
However, they had their own ways and beliefs, and did not like ours
When we were attacked, it was necessary to leave
On April 16th 1503, we sailed, suffering storm damage off Cuba
The ships had to be beached in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica
As a result, we were stranded there for a year
The natives reluctantly provided food when I predicted an eclipse
On June 29th, a relief ship arrived
Despite the idyllic surroundings, we were pleased to be rescued
But, we were still a long way from home
Once again, we braved the ocean waves
Eventually, we arrived in Sanlúcar, Spain, on November 7th 1504


It was time to reflect
I realized illness was upon me, and there were only a few weeks left
What had been achieved on my four voyages?
Visits had been made to magic places in the sun
Hispaniola, Trinidad, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Cuba, Panama
Barbados, Guadeloupe, Margarita Island, Honduras and South America
With my crew, I set up colonies and brought back riches for Spain
However, there was one place I did not go
It was said that I discovered America
But I never set foot north of Panama
My so-called discovery of North America was a myth
Just like the wild stories of the Flat Earthists.

Christopher Columbus

1451 – 1506


Christopher was an Italian-born trader and explorer. He was the eldest of five children. He grew up in Genoa, which is the most important seaport in Italy. Living by the water, established Christopher's early passion for a seafarer's life.

By the age of 10, he had already made one sea-going voyage. In 1470, his family moved to Savona. In the years that followed, Christopher went on numerous trading voyages. He sailed the seas as a privateer and attacked ships belonging to the Moors. However, an early, long voyage in 1476, across the Atlantic Ocean, nearly cost him his life. While working as a business agent for the Centurione family, the ship was attacked by French privateers off the coast of Portugal and Christopher had to swim ashore. A year later, he joined his brother, Bartholomew, who worked as a cartographer in Lisbon. In 1479, he met and married, Filipa, with whom he had a son, Diego. Sadly, Christopher's wife died around 1484.


Christopher made arrangements for his son and travelled in search of funds, to support his Atlantic ventures. In 1485, he eventually settled in Cadiz, Spain. Two years later, he met Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, who became his mistress. In 1488, they had a son, Ferdinand.

After several years, he won the support of Queen Isabella and her husband Ferdinand. They initially offered him three ships, crew and money, accepting the promise that he would bring Spain wealth and claim new lands, in return for their generosity. The first official voyage took Christopher to the west and he discovered an island in the Bahamas. He landed in the New World on October 12th1492. In 1493, he and his crew set sail on the second voyage, taking 17 ships with them. That voyage took him to Puerto Rico and Navidad. On the third voyage, he left Spain with six ships and landed on the island of Trinidad, in July 1498. He then travelled on to the mainland and discovered South America, followed by Jamaica. In 1502, Christopher set sail on his fourth and final voyage and was accompanied by his 13 year old son, Ferdinand. He found Guanaja Island and Honduras in Central America.

Christopher was the first European, since the Vikings, to discover the New World, without the assistance of a compass or an accurate map. He was a passionate pioneer who led the way for other explorers that followed in his footsteps.


Christopher is recognized for discovering the coast of South America, the West Indies, Central America, the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti.

In 1892, The World Columbian Exposition, in Chicago, commemorated the 400th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus. The US Post Office issued a series of commemorative postage stamps depicting the stages of the voyages. In 1905, Colorado became the first state to observe a Columbus Day. In 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed every October 12th, as Columbus Day. In 1992, Christopher was featured on a commemorative gold coin (five dollars) as well as a silver dollar and half dollar.

There are over 400 memorials, scattered all over the world, dedicated to Christopher. In addition, there are numerous places named in his honour, in celebration of the life of this remarkable leader.

Even though he reached the end of his life without a great deal of wealth, Christopher died rich, in the knowledge that his name would be immortalized in the history of the world.


Excerpted from Meet Christopher Columbus by Charles Margerison. Copyright © 2017 Charles Margerison. Excerpted by permission of Viewpoint Resources Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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