interesting facts about Christopher Colombus

17 Interesting Facts about Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was the man who ‘discovered’ the ‘new world’ – America, who crossed the ocean, and who showed that the world wasn’t flat. Or was he?

In just a few minutes you’ll have all the trivia you need to know about history’s most famous explorer with these 17 interesting facts about Christopher Columbus…

  1. Christopher Columbus never set out to prove the Earth wasn’t flat because Pythagoras and Aristotle had done it nearly 2,000 years earlier.
  2. He wasn’t the first European to cross the Atlantic – the Norse Viking Leif Eriksson did it in 1000 A.D.
  3. Columbus had to spend 10 years lobbying for the money he needed for his voyage, with Portugal, England and France all sending him away empty handed.
facts about Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus illustration from Grand voyages (1596) by Theodor de Bry (1528-1598).

  1. His famous ship, Santa Maria, was nicknamed “La Gallega” after Galicia where it was built.
  2. 40 crew stayed behind in North America to start the first settlement, but when Columbus returned for them 1 year later in 1493 no signs of life could be found.
  3. Rather than a one trick wonder, he completed the voyage 2 more times after that, giving him a total of 4 transatlantic crossings to his name.
  1. After his third voyage the locals complained of his brutal government style and he was arrested and returned to Spain in chains, before being pardoned and allowed to make the crossing for the fourth and final time.
  2. In 1504 he became stranded in Jamaica without half his crew or any of his food and supplies.
  3. He was able to save himself by predicting a lunar eclipse and putting the fear of god into the islanders.
facts about Christopher Colombus

The Tomb of Christopher Columbus, Seville, Spain

  1. Christopher Columbus died in 1506 and was buried in Valladolid, Spain.
  2. His daughter in-law then had him exhumed and shipped to Hispaniola.
  3. In 1795 Spanish soldiers exhumed him once more and reburied him in Cuba.
  1. Followed by another exhumation in 1898 where he was returned to Spain.
  2. Legal proceedings between his family and the Spanish monarchy lasted for nearly 300 years!
  3. Columbus often referred to himself as Xpoual de Coló.

interesting facts about Christopher Columbus

  1. It’s rumoured he took his far more famous name from a well known pirate.
  2. His questionable maths skills lead him to frequently underestimate the circumference of the Earth by as much as 25%.

Do you know any interesting facts about Christopher Columbus that we’ve missed?  Share them here in the comments section below!

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