Essays on Christopher Columbus

Essay About Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus is vastly recognized for “discovering” America. While in search of Asia, Columbus’ had unknowingly landed upon North America. The “Admiral of the Sea” had used what is known as dead reckoning, which is using one’s previous position to calculate the current position by using estimated speed over a certain amount of time (Wikipedia). Dead reckoning is only useful if one actually knows where they are; in this case, Columbus had no clue. He also had experimented with celestial navigation but had no luck due to his ignorance using the tools; all of his results were flawed. Still believing he had landed in Asia, he then led three more voyages to the Caribbean. 

Columbus led four voyages in total: in 1492, 1493, 1498, and 1502. Before his first voyage, Columbus had gained the support of the Spanish monarchs Queen Isabel and King Fernando. Columbus had lavish demands which the monarchs had agreed to if he was to succeed on the first expedition. Columbus had come up with a different idea to sail across the Atlantic instead of around the enormous African continent. His argument sounded ideal, but his math was flawed. On August 3, 1492, 3 ships set sail. The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria made landfall on one of the Bahamian islands on October 12. In March 1493, Columbus left 40 men behind in present-day Haiti and returned to Spain (History). 

In September of 1493, Columbus began his second expedition. He returned to the settlement he had left and found it destroyed. As a result, he left his two brothers behind to rebuild with part of his crew and hundreds of enslaved natives. As he had promised, he sent Queen Isabella part of the “riches” he had found: nearly 500 slaves. She was horrified and returned the “gift.” In May 1948, Columbus sailed west for the third time. He visited a couple of southern lands before returning to the settlement. In his absence, a deadly riot had risen against his brothers. After this, the Admiral of the Sea was arrested and taken back to Spain in shackles. In 1502, Columbus had no honorable nobility but convinced the King to fund one last expedition. Making it all the way to Panama, he had to abandon two of his ships due to an attack. He then returned to Spain where he passed at an elderly age four years later (History). 

Many classify the navigator as the discoverer of America; but if one takes a closer look, that’s not all true. In 1492, there were as many as 112 million native americans living in North America (UW Press). These lands were anything but unknown to some, they had been inhabited for 15,000 years (The New York Times). Categorizing Christopher Columbus’ voyages as discoveries would be erroneous, the expeditions just provided knowledge previously unknown to Europeans.

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