Born in 1451 - Died in 1506
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa (JEN oh uh), Italy.
He was the oldest of five children in his family. His
father was a wool weaver. He helped his father with the weaving, but he
always wanted to sail the seas.
He didn't get to go to school very much, but he learned to read and write
Spanish during his travels. He also taught himself Latin because all the
geography books were written in Latin.
Some people thought he was trying to prove the world was round, but
this is not true. Most people already knew the earth was round.
He wanted to find a short way to get to the Indies by ship.
He was a Christian and wanted to tell the story of Christ to the people
he would find in the far-away lands. He also wanted wealth for himself
and for Spain, and he wanted to be famous.
He tried for eight years to get King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella
to supply him with ships and money. Finally they agreed, but he made
He wanted to be made a knight,
admiral of the Ocean Sea. He wanted to be the
viceroy and governor general of all lands he would discover. Also he
wanted one-tenth of everything he found of value in the new lands.
He even boldly told them he wanted all of this in writing. This
was rather brave of him because they could have had him killed because
of his demands.
They finally agreed and he got three ships ready to sail;
the Santa Maria
two smaller ships, the Pinta
and the Nina
He took enough food for a year. In four months he was ready to sail.
They left Spain on August 3, 1492. They made one stop, then sailed on
toward the west. After many days, the sailors were ready to turn around
and start back home.
"Just three more days," he said. "Then if we don't
see land, we'll turn around and go back home."
Two days later they saw land; an island
Columbus named San Salvador. He thought he had found the Indies
and called the people he saw there "Indians".
When they got to Cuba, he thought he was in China. The world was a lot
larger than he thought.
On Christmas Eve, the Santa Maria was wrecked near Haiti. Columbus
built a fort and left 40 men to hunt for gold. Then he returned to
Spain on the Nina
. The Pinta
The people of Spain welcomed him as a hero.
He made three more voyages across the ocean. His 13-year-old son,
Ferdinand went with him on the fourth voyage.
Columbus did not become rich as he had hoped. At the end of his life
he only had a pension the king and queen had given him because he
was the first to reach the New World. He spent the last few months of
his life in bed because of the pain of arthritis.
Columbus not only discovered a New World, but he led the way for other
This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2001.
Play an Online Game at Quia
From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster
(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by ə)
1 a : a warrior of olden times who fought on horseback,
king, held a special military rank, and swore to behave in a noble
b : a man honored by a sovereign for merit and in Great
Britain ranking below a baronet...
Pronunciation: 'ad-mə-rəl, -mrəl
1 : a naval commissioned officer with a rank above that of
especially : an officer with a rank just above that of vice
1 : the governor of a country or province who represents the
Pronunciation: 'gəv(-ə)-nər also 'gəv-ər-nər
: one that governs; especially : an official elected or appointed
to act as ruler,
chief executive, or head of a political unit (as a
colony, state, or province)...
: a military officer with a rank above that of a colonel; especially :
an officer with the rank just above that of a lieutenant general...
Research Links Christopher Columbus
at Bio 4 Kids
The Round Earth and Christopher Columbus
Eye Witness to History
story and quiz with cartoon pictures
A Story About Columbus
The Lincoln Readers Book 4
Famous Explorers Lesson Plan
(You must register to access lessons.)
Columbus Day Coloring Pages
The Round Earth (audio)
Discovering America (audio)
Amerigo Vespucci (audio)
Amerigo Vespucci (audio)
Engines of Our Ingenuity.
At biography.com search for Christopher Columbus.
Scroll the panel for the "Video & Audio Results".
(There is short ad before the video presentation.)
Press "Go" to search for books about Christopher Columbus
A LIBRARY OF
Discovering Christopher Columbus: how history is invented
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS
Order the following books from Amazon.
by Kathy Pelta (selected pages) Order here
by Peggy Pancella (selected pages) Order here
Christopher Columbus, Explorer of the New World
by Robin Santos Doak (selected pages) Order here
If You Were There in 1492: Everyday Life in the Time of Columbus
by Barbara Brenner (selected pages) Order here
Christopher Columbus: To the New World
by James Lincoln Collier (selected pages) Order here
Christopher Columbus: the life of a master navigator and explorer (Graphic Nonfiction)
by David West, Jackie Gaff (selected pages) Order here
Christopher Columbus: master Italian navigator in the Court of Spain
by Martha Kneib (selected pages) Order here
by Mervyn D. Kaufman (selected pages) Order here
by Kristin Petrie (selected pages) Order here
Pedro's journal: a voyage with Christopher Columbus (Fiction)
by Pam Conrad (selected pages) Order here
Christopher Columbus: A Primary Source Biography
by Lynn Hoogenboom (selected pages) Order here
Animals Christopher Columbus Saw: An Adventure in the New World
by Sandra Markle (selected pages) Order here
Christopher Columbus, Across the Ocean Sea
by Janet Benge, Geoff Benge (selected pages) Order here
Christopher Columbus and the Voyage of 1492 (Graphic)
by Dan Abnett (selected pages) Order here
by Wendy Conklin (selected pages) Order here
Christopher Columbus: The Voyage That Changed the World
by Emma Carlson Berne (selected pages) Order here
The Life of Christopher Columbus from his own letters and journals
by Edward Everett Hale (full view ) Order here
The True Story of Christopher Columbus
by Elbridge Brooks for youngest readers
(choose HTML version 180KB) (public domain, 1892, full view)
Christopher Columbus and The New World of His Discovery
online book by Filson Young
HTML version (950KB) has color illustrations.
A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus
book by Alexandra Wallner, John C. Wallner (selected pages)
Admiral of the Ocean Sea - A Life of Christopher Columbus
by Samuel Eliot Morison (selected pages)
Christopher Columbus: Famous Explorer
by Mary Dodson Wade, Rod Whigham, Charles Barnett, III (selected pages)
book by Lola M. Schaefer (selected pages)
Christopher Columbus and the Voyage of 1492
by Dan Abnett (selected pages)
Christopher Columbus, History Maker Bios
by Susan Bivin Aller (selected pages)
Credits and Solutions
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