Amazing Kids! Magazine

AK from History – Christopher Columbus, Adventurer

By Olivia Pineda, Assistant Editor

What were the beginnings of one of the world’s most famed explorers? What was it that led him to attain everlasting global recognition? Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, now part of modern Italy. He also came from a humble upbringing: his father was a wool weaver who later had a cheese stand but this didn’t stop Christopher from going to sea at an early age. By the tender age of ten, he’d already sailed on his first voyage. Additionally, Columbus was well-educated, able to speak several languages and had extensive knowledge of classical literature.

As a young adult, he went on numerous trading voyages which took him to the Aegean Sea, located adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea, near Greece and Turkey. He also visited Northern Europe and Iceland on similar trips. When Columbus’s wife died, he and his son, Diego, moved to Spain, where he began his famous attempts to obtain a grant to explore western trade routes. After years of propositions and rejections, Columbus, upon the promise to bring back invaluable resources from Asia, set sail on August 3rd, 1492. Unaware of the huge land mass which is today known as North and South America, he arrived in the present-day Bahamas and Cuba, thinking that it was a far-reaching Asian island. On a second voyage, he arrived closer to the South American mainland, mistakenly labeling the islands he happened upon as Japan. One voyage later, he finally sailed to South America, and, checking on a previously established Spanish colony in Hispaniola, found that it was in shambles. Of course, the Spanish government wasn’t too pleased with Columbus’s escapades, and Columbus found himself arrested and charged with treating the island locals and Spaniards poorly.

On a subsequent and his final voyage, Columbus found Central America, exploring the modern-day country of Panama, but was forced out by those who lived there. While Columbus wasn’t the first to happen upon the Americas, he was one of the first to document his voyages and make known what he had seen. He set precedence for all future explorations in the area, and brought Europe into a new era of geographic thought and exploration.