11 Adventurous Facts about Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was easily one of the most famous figures in history. Known for making world-changing discoveries and for playing a significant role in the conquering of the Americas, he is not someone history will soon forget. But how much do you know about this famous explorer? Here are some fun facts about Christopher Columbus.

1. He was born in Italy.

Christopher Columbus was born between August 25th and October 31st, 1451. He was born in Genoa, Italy, and is well-known for being one of Europe’s most successful explorers and sailors.

2. He began sailing at a young age.

Christopher Columbus began his maritime career as a teenager. He initially worked as a sailor and later as a business agent involved in the spice trade – which, naturally, took him to the high seas more than a few times!

3. He explored the Atlantic multiple times.

Before crossing the Atlantic completely, Columbus undertook several voyages within the region, gaining experience in navigation and exploring routes to the west.

facts about Christopher Colombus
The tomb of Christopher Columbus, Seville, Spain

4. His goal was to travel to and explore the East.

Christopher Columbus famously believed he could reach Asia by sailing westward. It was a theory that was met with skepticism by many scholars and mariners of the time – he would have ended up there eventually, on a technicality!

5. He was sponsored by the Royals.

Christopher Columbus sought support for his plan from various European monarchs. Eventually, he managed to gain the sponsorship of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, leading to his famous voyages across the Atlantic.

6. He set sail on his first major voyage in 1492.

On August 3rd, 1492, one of the most famous dates in history, Columbus set sail from Spain with three ships – the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Niña. On October 12th, 1492, he reached the Bahamas. However, he initially believed he had arrived in Asia.

7. He returned three more times!

Christopher Columbus made a total of four voyages to the Americas. He explored the Caribbean, parts of Central and South America, and the coast of Central America.

8. He coined the term “Indians,” though he was a way off what we refer to as India.

When Christopher Columbus encountered the indigenous people of the Americas, he mistakenly referred to them as “Indians”, thinking he had reached the Indian Ocean. That is why Native Americans were long wrongfully referred to as American Indians.

9. He changed European exploration forever.

In revealing a new part of the world for the Europeans, Columbus’s voyages opened the door to further European exploration of the Americas. They also marked the beginning of the Age of Exploration.

an oil painting of Christopher columbus’ voyage
Christopher Columbus illustration from Grand voyages (1596) by Theodor de Bry (1528-1598).

10. He died in 1506.

Christopher Columbus died on May 20th, 1506, in Valladolid, Spain. He actually died believing he had reached Asia and was unaware of the extent of his impact on world history and countless people’s lives.

11. He left a controversial legacy.

While Columbus is still celebrated in some parts of the world for his explorations and primarily for his role in connecting the Old World and the New World, his legacy remains controversial.

This is largely due to the impact of European colonization on indigenous populations and his role in effectively kick-starting it. That is why today, Columbus Day is often the subject of debate and criticism in what it means and whether or not such a figure should be celebrated.

interesting facts about Christopher Columbus

FAQs about Christopher Columbus

What did Columbus bring back to Spain?

Christopher Columbus brought back gold, certain native plants and birds, and even some Native American people back to Spain with him after his travels to the Americas.

Did Columbus actually discover America?

Since the Americas were not lost and were in fact already inhabited, no, Christopher Columbus did not technically discover them. In fact, he was not even the first European to stumble upon them, as Viking explorers had achieved this centuries before! He did, however, help to inspire Western colonization there.

Was Christopher Columbus Italian or Spanish?

While he was strongly linked with the Spanish royal family, Christopher Columbus was indeed Italian by birth.

Further reading

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This page was last modified on February 19, 2024. Suggest an edit

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