Columbus Diary Essay Research Paper ColumbusBrief HistoryChristopher

Columbus Diary Essay, Research Paper


Brief History:

Christopher Columbus was an Italian-Spanish navigator who

sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia

but achieved fame by making landfall, instead, in the Caribbean Sea.

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. His father was a weaver, and it

is believed that Christopher entered this trade as a young man. In the

mid-1470s he made his first trading voyage to the island of Kh os in

the Aegean Sea. In 1476 he sailed with a convoy bound for England.

Legend has it that the fleet was attacked by pirates off the coast of

Portugal, where Columbus s ship was sunk, but he swam to shore

and took refuge in Lisbon. Settling there, where his brother

Bartholomew Columbus was working as a cartographer, he was

married in 1479 to the daughter of the governor of the island of Porto

Santo. Diego Columbus, the only child of this marriage, was born in

1480. Based on information acquired during his travels, and by

reading and studying charts and maps, Christopher concluded that the

earth was 25 percent smaller than was previously thought, and

composed mostly of land. On the basis of these faulty beliefs, he

decided that Asia could be reached quickly by sailing west. In 1484

he submitted his theories to John II, king of Portugal, petitioning

him to finance a westward crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. His

proposal was rejected by a royal maritime commission because of his

miscalculations. Soon after, Columbus moved to Spain, where his

plans won the support of several influential persons, and he secured an

introduction, in 1486, to Isabella I, queen of Castile. About this

time, Columbus, then a widower, met Beatriz Enriquez, who became

his mistress and the mother of his second son, Ferdinand Columbus.

In Spain, as in Portugal, a royal commission rejected his plan.

Columbus continued to seek support, however, and in April 1492 his

persistence was rewarded: Ferdinand V, king of Castile, and Queen

Isabella agreed to sponsor the expedition. The signed contract

stipulated that Columbus was to become viceroy of all territories he

located; other rewards included a hereditary peerage and one-tenth of

all precious metals found within his jurisdiction.

3August 1492:

I set sail today with high hopes and lofty

expectations. We left shore at 8 o clock and set

our course for the Canary Islands. My three

ships are the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

I am going to make new maps and pay close

attention to the navigation of the voyage. I also

plan to correctly map all that I pass in correct

locations by latitude and longitude. The purpose

of my venture into the seas is to reach the Indies.

24 August 1492:

On the third day of our voyage there were

already signs of sabotage. I believe Gomez

Rascon deliberately caused damage to the Pinta s

rudder. Repairs were made and I am hopeful

that no more trouble will arise. Our course to

the Grand Canary is looking good and we are

making steady progress. I plan to leave the

Pinta there, for she is leaking and needs repairs.

I hope to obtain another ship there. On the 9th

day of August we reached Grand Canary and I

left the Pinta there while the rest of my ships

continued to Gomera where we will wait for the

other ship s arrival. After no word from Grand

Canary we set sail to there to check on the rest of

the crew. On the way we saw a volcano erupt on

a nearby island, many of the men had never seen

anything like it before. I calmed them by telling

them of the many eruptions I had witnessed.

15 September 1492:

It took quite a while to repair the Pinta but

we finally got on the water. We have used up

many supplies during our stay on land. We

obtained more on our way past Gomera. The

waters were calm and halted our progress a

couple of days. I have begun to record less

miles to keep the crew at ease. After we lost

sight of land many men wept because they did not

know when they would next see land. Today we

saw a meteorite fall into the water approximately

12 miles from our location which was taken by

some men to be a bad omen. I quieted their fears

by recounting all the meteorites I have seen with

my own eyes.

19 October 1492:

Crew moral is up and our progress is steady.

Our course was off by a little so we had to

correctly alter our path. I have become aware of

Martin Pinson s independence and I am a little

troubled by it. Due to alleged sightings of land

the crew has grown more irritable than ever.

Some fearing they will not ever get home again.

My feelings of Pinzon are correct for it is he

who wants all the glory and consistently races

aged of the fleet so as to spot land first. He in

my opinion cannot be trusted. I have observed

many new exciting birds that fly near the ships.

I don t want to waste my time with traveling to

islands for I do not deem it to be beneficial to

our journey. We saw naked people with darker

skin and broader foreheads on the 12 of October.

Seeing this we went ashore. I think these

people can easily be converted Christianity. I

can t get over the generosity of these simple

people. They are so giving. I see no signs of

gold so far but I am keeping my eyes open. I

claimed many islands in a matter of a week.

18 November 1492:

The Guanahani Indians that are traveling

with us are very useful. For they know the area

very well and can communicate with the other

indigenous tribes of the region. I appreciate the

unique beauty of all the villages I have visited so

far. I have seen nothing like these small, quaint,

simple communities. At every island that I

have visited, I have planted crosses in the name

of the Lord. I planted the biggest of the crosses

at the mouth of Puerto del Principe. We did not

sail today so as to obey the Sabbath.

5 December 1492:

Martin Pinzon continues to disobey my

commands, and in his most outrageous show of

truancy took leave without my command in hopes

of finding many treasures. I reached a group of

islands. There I found a great abundance of

timber which could be made into a mighty fleet of

ships and a great river as well. This island is

perfect for a sawmill. A little farther along the

coast, I encountered Indians who wished to kill

me. With this I was not pleased, I threatened

them and went along on my way. I left the area

and I am hopeful of the land I can see just


1 January 1493:

On the day our lord was born the ship I

was aboard could not be saved. By night she

found herself on a rocky ground and sunk herself.

Me and my crew will go aboard the Nina. The

Indian village up ahead will hopefully provide us

with canoes and assistance in unloading the other


They did do this and in a most gracious way.

On one of the other islands visited by my men

and me a king crowned me with his own crown.

In order to repay his generosity I bestowed upon

him my own, necklace, ring, cloak, and boots. He

was overwhelmed and loved everything. I

continue to search for abundances of gold but have

not been able to complete this task up to now.

25 September 1492:

Very calm waters did not make for good

sailing today. At sunset Martin Alonzo

called out with great joy from his vessel that he

saw land, and demanded a reward for his

intelligence. When I heard him declare this, I

fell on my knees and returned thanks to God, and

Martin Alonzo with his crew repeated cties of

joy, as did my crew. Those on board the Nina

ascended the ship, and all declared they saw land.

I changed the actual distance to the land and I

kept two journals to keep the men at ease. The

shorter one falsified, and the other being the true

account. The sea was very smooth and many of

the sailors went in it to bathe.

7 October 1492:

At sunrise, Nina, who kept ahead on

account of her swiftness in sailing. All the

vessels were in constant competition trying to

outsail one another, and gain the reward promised

by the King and Queen by first discovering land

erected a flag at her mast head, as a signal that

she had discovered land. For I had given orders

to that effect. I also ordered that the ships

should keep in close company at sunrise and

sunset, as the air was more favorable at those

times for seeing at a distance. Towards evening

seeing nothing of the land which the Nina had

made signals for, and observing large flocks of

birds coming from the North and making for the

southwest, I concluded that they were either

going to land to pass the night, or abandoning the

countries of the north, on account of the

approaching winter, I determined to alter the



1. Morison, Samuel Eliot. Admiral of the Ocean Sea.

Little, 1942.

2. Encarta 98. Christopher Columbus. 1998.

3. !999.


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