20th May 1506 Christopher Columbus Died.

Christopher Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa Italy on the 31st of October 1451. (He was 54 years old when he died) He became an explorer and navigator. Between 1492 and 1503, Columbus completed four round-trip voyages between Spain and the Americas, all of them under the sponsorship of the Crown of Castile. These voyages marked the beginning of the European exploration and colonization of the American continents, and are thus of enormous significance in Western history.


Columbus and Queen Isabella. Columbus monument in Madrid (1885)

Columbus’s far-fetched proposal to reach the East Indies by sailing westward received the support of the Spanish crown, which saw in it a promise, however remote, of gaining the upper hand over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade with Asia. During his first voyage in 1492, instead of reaching Japan as he had intended, Columbus landed in the Bahamas archipelago, at a locale he named San Salvador. Over the course of three more voyages, Columbus visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Caribbean coast of Venezuela and Central America, claiming them for the Spanish Empire.

 
Flagship of Columbus Anniversary Issues of 1893               US Postage Issue of 1893

U.S. stamps reflecting the most commonly held view as to what Columbus’ first fleet might have looked like. The Santa Maria, the flagship of Columbus’ fleet, was a carrack—a merchant ship of between 400 and 600 tons, 75 feet (23 m) long, with a beam of 25 feet (7.6 m), allowing it to carry more people and cargo. It had a deep draft of 6 feet (1.8 m). The vessel had three masts: a mainmast, a foremast, and a mizzenmast. Five sails altogether were attached to these masts. Each mast carried one large sail. The foresail and mainsail were square; the sail on the mizzen was a triangular sail known as a lateen mizzen. The ship had a smaller topsail on the mainmast above the mainsail and on the foremast above the foresail. In addition, the ship carried a small square sail, a spritsail, on the bowsprit.
Columbus himself always insisted, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that the lands that he visited during those voyages were part of the Asian continent, as previously described by Marco Polo and other European travelers. Columbus’ refusal to accept that the lands he had visited and claimed for Spain were not part of Asia might explain, in part, why the American continent was named after the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci and not after Columbus.


Voyages of Christopher Columbus (Click on map to enlarge)

Columbus produced two books during his later years: a Book of Privileges (1502), detailing and documenting the rewards from the Spanish Crown to which he believed he and his heirs were entitled, and a Book of Prophecies (1505), in which passages from the Bible were used to place his achievements as an explorer.

                      
Columbus’ coat of arms                      Columbus monument in Denver, Colorado

In his later years,  Columbus demanded that the Spanish Crown give him 10% of all profits made in the new lands, as stipulated in the Capitulations of Santa Fe. Because he had been relieved of his duties as governor, the crown did not feel bound by that contract and his demands were rejected. After his death, his heirs sued the Crown for a part of the profits from trade with America, as well as other rewards. This led to a protracted series of legal disputes known as the “Columbian lawsuits”.  At his death, he was still convinced that his journeys had been along the east coast of Asia.

Learn more in Wikipedia

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7 Responses to 20th May 1506 Christopher Columbus Died.

  1. travelrat says:

    Well, you know what they say … Didn’t know where he was going; didn’t know where he was when he got there, and did it all on borrowed money.

    These days, he’d probably have been a politician!

  2. Pingback: Fantastic Photos: Fellow Blogger | Magsx2's Blog

  3. niasunset says:

    How great story of him. World changed with him… Whenever I think of his travels hits me again. But also I remember “1453” the film and the soundtrack by Vangelish… They are great too. Thank you dear Mags, with my love, nia

  4. Fascinating and I found it just in time!

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