Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was a famous explorer from the late 15th century to the early 16th.

He was born on 31 October 1451 in Genoa, Italy. As a boy, Columbus worked at his father cheese stand. In 1476, when he was just 25 years old, he set sail. His first voyages took him to the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. He even sailed down the coast of West Africa.

In the 15th century, Europeans started sending explorers to Asia in search of Indian and Chinese spices, tea, and other goods. Columbus know the Earth was round and thought that if he travelled west from Europe he could find a new, faster route to the Asia.

In 1492, Columbus began his first voyage to try out this new route. Instead of reaching Asia, he landed on the Bahamas in the Caribbean Sea. Even after finding no spices or tea, Columbus thought that he had found the part of the Indies, near India. He even called the native people he found ‘indios’, which is Spanish for Indians.

After his first voyage Columbus made three more. His second voyage took him to Cuba, his third to Trinidad, and his fourth took him to Central America.

No one actually knows what he looked like. The most famous painting of Columbus was created after he died on 20 May 1506, so it is probably not very accurate. However, Columbus’ image lives on in history books.

Text by Sara El-Behiri.
Portrait of Christophorus Columbus c. 1520, artist unknown.