The amazing discoveries of Christopher Columbus made him one of the most well-known explorers in the history of humanity. His voyages have contributed immensely to the sociological and economic development of our society and certainly changed the course of history forever. The persona of Christopher Columbus, his travels, discoveries, and facts related to them are fascinating for many people nowadays. His voyages were filled with dangers, risks, and tragedies. The explorer faced many challenges in his way and was pressured by huge responsibilities.
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Some of the greatest obstacles Christopher Columbus had to deal with through his voyages were the issues with food supplies and diseases. In the times of Columbus, technologies were not as developed as they re now; this is why taking a lengthy journey by sea was often equal to committing suicide. First of all, it was hard to predict the exact length of the trip due to the lack of maps and navigational devices. So the ships could easily get lost. As a result, it was impossible to calculate the number of food supplies required needed to keep the whole crew alive. Besides, there was a very high risk of catching serious and deadly diseases in the sea. The factors causing that were multiple – rats, mosquitoes, unsanitary conditions, lack of medications, undercooling.
Moreover, there always was a risk of storm, which could easily kill the whole crew. One more quite meaningful challenge sea voyagers had to deal with at that period was the lack of knowledge of the underwater life. Due to the absence of information about what kind of creatures live under the surface of seas and oceans, the travelers genuinely believed that during their voyages they could have been attacked and killed by various beasts and sea monsters such as Kraken. One more danger in the open sea was represented by merciless and cruel pirates that often robbed the ships and murdered the crews. Another intimidating factor awaiting the explorer during his voyages was his age. Columbus turned out to be younger than the majority of his crew. This created some discipline issues. Columbus faced all of these challenges during his voyage. He decided to pursue his mission in spite of all these obstacles and dangers.
Columbus’ initial plan was to find a way to the Far East. As he believed that the Earth had a spherical shape, he was sure that it was possible to reach Asia by a ship sailing to the west of Spain, but the explorer had no idea that a whole new continent lied between him and Asia. Maps were quite imperfect in the times of Christopher Columbus; the Europeans did not know about the Americas and the Pacific Ocean. He presented his plan to the King and Queen of Spain. The ideas of the explorer were rejected many times before the monarchs finally approved the plan and granted him permission to travel; this is how Columbus started his voyages. His goal was to help his state improve its economy, find new ways for trading and discover a seaway to Asia with its various and rare goods such as silk, spices, porcelain, beautiful fine fabrics. In total, Christopher Columbus made four voyages. His initial crew included one hundred and four people and three ships. Eventually, as new lands were discovered, Columbus went on more missions, exploring them and encountering the native settlers, which were quite friendly in the beginning. Due to multiple misunderstandings and harsh attitude of the newcomers, the Indians turned hostile, and conflict occurred.
Columbus was born in a middle-class family in Genoa in 1451. His parents were neither rich nor famous. At the age of fourteen, he started to travel with trading ships and became passionate about voyages, exploring, and trading. His brother called Bartolomeo worked as a mapmaker, so the interest in exploring new territories was a part of Columbus’ legacy. He also was married and had a son named Diego. After his wife died, Columbus decided to pursue a life of an explorer and eventually became the national hero of Spain. After his mission was over and the explorer retired, he moved to Seville and lived there with his son.
Christopher Columbus’ voyages are a positive event and a great contribution to the history of humanity, and the world’s geographical knowledge. His discoveries also strongly improved the economic power of Spain. Of course, utter colonization of unknown lands and harsh attitude towards the local native settlers was a negative aspect of the explorer’s achievements, but at that time this was the only known way of improving the influence of states. Imperialistic and colonial moods were a part of European identity, this is why the first reaction the Spanish people had when they realized they discovered unknown lands was taking over them and occupying those territories to research the resources of those lands. Columbus was not only the explorer of the new territories but he also actively participated in the conquering of the new islands, establishing rules for the settlements of colonists, mining gold there and managing the resources.