Places columbus explored: Christopher Columbus | Biography, Nationality, Voyages, Ships, Route, & Facts

Christopher Columbus | Biography, Nationality, Voyages, Ships, Route, & Facts

Christopher Columbus

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Born Between:
August 26, 1451 and October 31, 1451
May 20, 1506
Notable Family Members:
son Diego Columbus
brother Bartholomew Columbus

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Top Questions

What is Christopher Columbus known for?

  • Christopher Columbus was a navigator who explored the Americas under the flag of Spain.
  • Some people think of him as the «discoverer» of America, but this is not strictly true.
  • His voyages across the Atlantic paved the way for European colonization and exploitation of the Americas.

Read more below:

Western colonialism

Read more about European expansion and colonialism.

European exploration

Read more about the history of European exploration.

What was Christopher Columbus looking for?

Columbus sailed in search of a route to Cathay (China) and India to bring back gold and spices that were highly sought in Europe. His patrons, Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Spain, hoped that his success would bring them greater status.

Read more below:
Life: Early career and preparation for the first voyage


Learn more about the region medieval Europeans knew as “Cathay.”

Where did Christopher Columbus go?

Columbus made four transatlantic voyages: 1492–93, 1493–96, 1498–1500, and 1502–04. He traveled primarily to the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Jamaica, and in his latter two voyages traveled to the coasts of eastern Central America and northern South America.

Read more below:
Life: The first voyage

Did Christopher Columbus discover America?

Some people say Columbus discovered America or the «New World,» but Vikings such as Leif Eriksson had visited North America centuries earlier, and Native American tribes had lived in the Americas for centuries before either Columbus or the Vikings arrived.

European exploration: The Age of Discovery

Read more about European exploration of North America.

Leif Erikson

Read more about Leif Eriksson.

What was the impact of Columbus’s travels?

  • Columbus’s journeys to the Americas opened the way for European countries to colonize and exploit those lands and their peoples.
  • Trade was soon established between Europe and the Americas. Plants native to the Americas (such as potatoes, tomatoes, and tobacco) were imported to Europe.
  • This trade route also paved the way for the slave trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
  • Explorers and settlers brought with them diseases that had a devastating effect on Native American populations. Many native peoples perished or were driven from their homes by colonizers.

18 Food Crops Developed in the Americas

Read more about the Columbian exchange and food crops that were transported from the Americas to Europe.


Read a brief summary of this topic

Christopher Columbus, Italian Cristoforo Colombo, Spanish Cristóbal Colón, (born between August 26 and October 31?, 1451, Genoa [Italy]—died May 20, 1506, Valladolid, Spain), master navigator and admiral whose four transatlantic voyages (1492–93, 1493–96, 1498–1500, and 1502–04) opened the way for European exploration, exploitation, and colonization of the Americas. He has long been called the “discoverer” of the New World, although Vikings such as Leif Eriksson had visited North America five centuries earlier. Columbus made his transatlantic voyages under the sponsorship of Ferdinand II and Isabella I, the Catholic Monarchs of Aragon, Castile, and Leon in Spain. He was at first full of hope and ambition, an ambition partly gratified by his title “Admiral of the Ocean Sea,” awarded to him in April 1492, and by the grants enrolled in the Book of Privileges (a record of his titles and claims). However, he died a disappointed man.

The period between the quatercentenary celebrations of Columbus’s achievements in 1892–93 and the quincentenary ones of 1992 saw great advances in Columbus scholarship. Numerous books about Columbus appeared in the 1990s, and the insights of archaeologists and anthropologists began to complement those of sailors and historians. This effort gave rise to considerable debate. There was also a major shift in approach and interpretation; the older pro-European understanding gave way to one shaped from the perspective of the inhabitants of the Americas themselves. According to the older understanding, the “discovery” of the Americas was a great triumph, one in which Columbus played the part of hero in accomplishing the four voyages, in being the means of bringing great material profit to Spain and to other European countries, and in opening up the Americas to European settlement. The more recent perspective, however, has concentrated on the destructive side of the European conquest, emphasizing, for example, the disastrous impact of the slave trade and the ravages of imported disease on the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean region and the American continents. The sense of triumph has diminished accordingly, and the view of Columbus as hero has now been replaced, for many, by one of a man deeply flawed. While this second perception rarely doubts Columbus’s sincerity or abilities as a navigator, it emphatically removes him from his position of honour. Political activists of all kinds have intervened in the debate, further hindering the reconciliation of these disparate views.


Early career and preparation for the first voyage

Little is known of Columbus’s early life. The vast majority of scholars, citing Columbus’s testament of 1498 and archival documents from Genoa and Savona, believe that he was born in Genoa to a Christian household; however, it has been claimed that he was a converted Jew or that he was born in Spain, Portugal, or elsewhere. Columbus was the eldest son of Domenico Colombo, a Genoese wool worker and merchant, and Susanna Fontanarossa, his wife. His career as a seaman began effectively in the Portuguese merchant marine. After surviving a shipwreck off Cape Saint Vincent at the southwestern point of Portugal in 1476, he based himself in Lisbon, together with his brother Bartholomew. Both were employed as chart makers, but Columbus was principally a seagoing entrepreneur. In 1477 he sailed to Iceland and Ireland with the merchant marine, and in 1478 he was buying sugar in Madeira as an agent for the Genoese firm of Centurioni. In 1479 he met and married Felipa Perestrello e Moniz, a member of an impoverished noble Portuguese family. Their son, Diego, was born in 1480. Between 1482 and 1485 Columbus traded along the Guinea and Gold coasts of tropical West Africa and made at least one voyage to the Portuguese fortress of São Jorge da Mina (now Elmina, Ghana) there, gaining knowledge of Portuguese navigation and the Atlantic wind systems along the way. Felipa died in 1485, and Columbus took as his mistress Beatriz Enríquez de Harana of Córdoba, by whom he had his second son, Ferdinand (born c. 1488).

In 1484 Columbus began seeking support for an Atlantic crossing from King John II of Portugal but was denied aid. (Some conspiracy theorists have alleged that Columbus made a secret pact with the monarch, but there is no evidence of this.) By 1486 Columbus was firmly in Spain, asking for patronage from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. After at least two rejections, he at last obtained royal support in January 1492. This was achieved chiefly through the interventions of the Spanish treasurer, Luis de Santángel, and of the Franciscan friars of La Rábida, near Huelva, with whom Columbus had stayed in the summer of 1491. Juan Pérez of La Rábida had been one of the queen’s confessors and perhaps procured him the crucial audience.

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Christian missionary and anti-Islamic fervour, the power of Castile and Aragon, the fear of Portugal, the lust for gold, the desire for adventure, the hope of conquests, and Europe’s genuine need for a reliable supply of herbs and spices for cooking, preserving, and medicine all combined to produce an explosion of energy that launched the first voyage. Columbus had been present at the siege of Granada, which was the last Moorish stronghold to fall to Spain (January 2, 1492), and he was in fact riding back from Granada to La Rábida when he was recalled to the Spanish court and the vital royal audience. Granada’s fall had produced euphoria among Spanish Christians and encouraged designs of ultimate triumph over the Islamic world, albeit chiefly, perhaps, by the back way round the globe. A direct assault eastward could prove difficult, because the Ottoman Empire and other Islamic states in the region had been gaining strength at a pace that was threatening the Christian monarchies themselves. The Islamic powers had effectively closed the land routes to the East and made the sea route south from the Red Sea extremely hard to access.

In the letter that prefaces his journal of the first voyage, the admiral vividly evokes his own hopes and binds them all together with the conquest of the infidel, the victory of Christianity, and the westward route to discovery and Christian alliance:

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…and I saw the Moorish king come out of the gates of the city and kiss the royal hands of Your Highnesses…and Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians…took thought to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the said parts of India, to see those princes and peoples and lands…and the manner which should be used to bring about their conversion to our holy faith, and ordained that I should not go by land to the eastward, by which way it was the custom to go, but by way of the west, by which down to this day we do not know certainly that anyone has passed; therefore, having driven out all the Jews from your realms and lordships in the same month of January, Your Highnesses commanded me that, with a sufficient fleet, I should go to the said parts of India, and for this accorded me great rewards and ennobled me so that from that time henceforth I might style myself “Don” and be high admiral of the Ocean Sea and viceroy and perpetual Governor of the islands and continent which I should discover…and that my eldest son should succeed to the same position, and so on from generation to generation forever.

Thus a great number of interests were involved in this adventure, which was, in essence, the attempt to find a route to the rich land of Cathay (China), to India, and to the fabled gold and spice islands of the East by sailing westward over what was presumed to be open sea. Columbus himself clearly hoped to rise from his humble beginnings in this way, to accumulate riches for his family, and to join the ranks of the nobility of Spain. In a similar manner, but at a more exalted level, the Catholic Monarchs hoped that such an enterprise would gain them greater status among the monarchies of Europe, especially against their main rival, Portugal. Then, in alliance with the papacy (in this case, with the Borgia pope Alexander VI [1492–1503]), they might hope to take the lead in the Christian war against the infidel.

At a more elevated level still, Franciscan brethren were preparing for the eventual end of the world, as they believed was prophesied in the Revelation to John. According to that eschatological vision, Christendom would recapture Jerusalem and install a Christian emperor in the Holy Land as a precondition for the coming and defeat of Antichrist, the Christian conversion of the whole human race, and the Last Judgment. Franciscans and others hoped that Columbus’s westward project would help to finance a Crusade to the Holy Land that might even be reinforced by, or coordinated with, offensives from the legendary ruler Prester John, who was thought to survive with his descendants in the lands to the east of the infidel. The emperor of Cathay—whom Europeans referred to as the Great Khan of the Golden Horde—was himself held to be interested in Christianity, and Columbus carefully carried a letter of friendship addressed to him by the Spanish monarchs. Finally, the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was known to have pressed southward along the coast of West Africa, beyond São Jorge da Mina, in an effort to find an easterly route to Cathay and India by sea. It would never do to allow the Portuguese to find the sea route first.

9 Real Stops On Christopher Columbus’s Voyages

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … and totally missed his mark. His journey may not have gone exactly as planned, but there were some interesting detours along the way. 


When Columbus set sail from the Spanish port of Palos on August 3, 1492, he already had his first pit stop planned. The Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria headed to the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco for last-minute preparations and restocking. It’s a good thing, too. By the time they arrived, the Pinta‘s rudder had disconnected and the ship was taking on water. (Columbus suspected some of the crew had second thoughts about the voyage and sabotaged the vessel.) There was talk of leaving the ship behind—but what were they going to do, order another one online? The men repaired the Pinta during the layover and officially headed west on September 6.  


We know Columbus—or perhaps a sailor on the Pinta named Rodrigo de Triana—first spotted land on October 12. But what we don’t know is where exactly they were. Not that there’s anything wrong with that—Columbus thought he was in the East Indies! The island was definitely in the Bahamas and already inhabited by the Taino people, who called it Guanahani. Columbus named it San Salvador and recorded that it was «very flat and with very green trees» with a surrounding reef and laguna in the middle. A number of islands fit the description, but many scholars later agreed that it was probably what used to be known as Watling Island. The Bahamanian government renamed it San Salvador Island in 1925. 

3. CUBA 

Columbus didn’t stay put for long. After naming the small surrounding islands Santa Maria de la Concepcion, Fernandina, Isabela, and Las Islas de Arena, the fleet took off again. On October 28, Columbus and his men arrived in what they believed to be China—but was, in fact, Cuba—most likely through the Bay of Bariay. Columbus christened the island Juana after Queen Isabella’s son and soon discovered the joys of tobacco. Long before Cuban cigars, the Arawaks smoked with Y-shaped nostril pipes.


After China, which was actually Cuba, Columbus set off for Japan. The trip was no pleasure cruise: On Christmas Day, the Santa Maria ran aground after hitting a reef. Columbus ordered his men to dismantle the ship and build a temporary fort called Villa de la Navidad with some «help» from the locals. Columbus headed back to Spain on the Niña a few weeks later, leaving 39 sailors behind on La Isla Española, with his mistress’s cousin Diego de Arana acting as governor. When Columbus returned a year later, the fort was destroyed and all of the men were dead. Today, Hispaniola is one of only two shared Caribbean islands, split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  


The journey back to Spain was miserable. After a number of storms, the crews of the Niña and Pinta disembarked in the Baía dos Anjos on Portugal’s Santa Maria Island around February 15. Columbus set off seeking boat repairs while half his crew went to church (presumably to thank God they were still alive). Alas, the locals were wary of strangers after numerous pirate attacks and quickly arrested the sailors. So first Columbus lost the ship Santa Maria, and then he almost lost half his crew on Santa Maria. Fortunately, he was able to reason with the Portuguese to get the sailors released, plus to get some boat repairs. Then they finally headed home.   


Columbus didn’t have much to show for his adventures when he returned to Spain, but he quickly secured funding for a second voyage. Returning to the fort on Hispaniola was his first priority, but he got a little distracted. On November 3, 1493, Columbus spotted a heavily forested island and had to take a look-see. The Kalinago natives weren’t very welcoming—and the Europeans thought they were cannibals—so Columbus quickly named the island Dominica and headed out to explore the neighboring tiny islands, including modern-day Antigua and Montserrat. Why did he call this new place Dominica? Because it was Sunday (Domingo in Spanish) and, if you haven’t noticed by now, Columbus wasn’t especially original in the naming department. 


Columbus was horrified when he finally returned to Hispaniola and found La Navidad in shambles. He and his men built a new settlement called La Isabela, which was later struck by two of the earliest hurricanes ever observed in North America in 1494 and 1495. But before the natural disasters, Columbus made his own trouble by mistreating the locals and alienating his fellow sailors, who were hungry, sick, and mutinous. When they failed to find gold, Columbus headed back to Cuba and soon found his way to St. Ann’s Bay in Jamaica. The Taino natives were hostile, so Columbus continued exploring and landed at Discovery Bay, Montego Bay, and Portland Bight. He didn’t find gold in Jamaica, either, so he went back to Hispaniola before returning to Spain.

Columbus later returned to—well, was shipwrecked in—Jamaica on his fourth voyage in 1503 after losing his four-boat fleet in a series of storms. He and his men were stranded for a year, until captain Diego Mendez rowed a canoe to Hispaniola. By that point, Columbus wasn’t even allowed to visit Hispaniola, and it took months of negotiations before Mendez could charter a rescue caravel.


Back to the chronology! The King and Queen allowed Columbus to go on a third voyage in May 1498 to resupply the colonists on Hispaniola (before he was blacklisted) and find a new trade route. The six-ship fleet split up: three went to Hispaniola and three went to new islands. Columbus chose the latter, of course. He and his men had almost run out of drinking water when they spied three peaks in the distance. Columbus named the land Trinidad and quenched his thirst in the Moruga River.


Contrary to what many people believe, Columbus did not discover America. But he did reach South America on August 1, 1498. As he and his men gathered water in Trinidad, they spotted the coast of South America. They explored the Gulf of Paria for eight days, discovering the «Pearl Islands» of Cubagua and Margarita and reaching the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Ever wrong about geography, Columbus admired this verdant new land and concluded he’d reached the Garden of Eden. Sigh.

Discovery of America by the expedition of Christopher Columbus

520 years ago, on October 12, 1492, the famous European navigator and cartographer Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. On this day, the expedition of Christopher Columbus reached the island of San Salvador (San Salvador) in the Bahamas, which was later considered to be the official date of the discovery of America.

The Columbus expedition began on August 3, 1492, when the ships Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina left the bay of the Spanish city of Palos de la Frontera. September 16 1492 years on the way of the expedition began to appear bunches of green algae. The ships sailed through this body of water for three weeks. This is how the Sargasso Sea was discovered.

On October 7, 1492, at the request of the crew, who believed that the flotilla passed Japan without noticing its islands, the ships changed course to the west-southwest.

October 12, 1492 Columbus expedition came across one of the Bahamas, which the navigator called the island of San Salvador — in honor of the divine savior Jesus Christ. Rodrigo de Triana, the watchman of the Pinta caravel, was the first to notice the land, but he did not receive the reward of 10,000 maravedis promised by the royal couple of Spain. Since the Bahamas archipelago stretches for 1200 kilometers from the Florida peninsula to Haiti and there are about 3 thousand large and small islands in it, the exact location of the island discovered by Columbus is unknown. The main contenders for this title are several islands of the Bahamas archipelago: Watling Island, modern San Salvador Island and an island 120 km southeast of Watling — Samana Cay. The natives themselves called him Guanahani.

On October 13, 1492, Columbus landed, hoisted the Castilian banner on it, formally took possession of the island and drew up a notarial deed about this. For two weeks, Columbus gradually moved south, discovering new islands from the Bahamas — Cuba and Haiti. Christopher Columbus considered these new lands to be East Asia — the outskirts of China, Japan or India. In the future, for quite a long time, these newly discovered territories were called by the Europeans the West Indies.

On the night of December 26, 1492 years the flagship «Santa Maria» sat on the reef. With the help of local residents, guns, supplies and valuable cargo were removed from the ship. A fort was built from the wreckage of the ship — the first European settlement in America, named «Navidad» on the occasion of the Christmas holiday.

On March 15, 1493, Columbus returned to Spain on the Nina. He brought with him the natives (who were called Indians in Europe), some gold, plants (corn, potatoes, tobacco), fruits and feathers of birds that had never been seen before in Europe. Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile gave Columbus a solemn reception.

Later, Christopher Columbus made three more expeditions, as a result of which the islands of Dominica, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, as well as the lands of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica were discovered.

Six years after, in 1497, another legendary pioneer Vasco da Gama really discovered India, it turned out that Columbus had reached the shores of the New World. This was later confirmed by the expedition of Amerigo Vespucci. The name of Columbus is carried by the District of Columbia of the same name in the USA, the cities of Columbus, Colombia and Colon, the Latin American state of Colombia.

On October 12, Americans celebrate the landing of the navigator Christopher Columbus in the New World.

Most of the countries of the American continent celebrate this date, but in the United States, the Discovery of America falls on the second Monday of October (established in 1937 by President Franklin Roosevelt). The main celebrations take place in New York, where a grand procession is organized every year. The historic event of the discovery of America in New York is immortalized by a monument in the «heart» of Manhattan on Columbus Circle in the form of a 21-meter column topped with the figure of Columbus. It was created in honor of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

Some cities also host special services, parades and large ceremonies.

However, in the United States, the personality and historical role of the pioneer are perceived ambiguously — the arrival of European settlers marked the beginning of mass colonization, the slave trade and the extermination of indigenous peoples. Therefore, in the US, Columbus Day is celebrated not only with parades, but also with protest demonstrations by indigenous peoples of America and human rights organizations, which usually carry portraits of a medieval navigator, now called a colonizer, with the inscription «murderer».

Columbus Day is a public holiday in many parts of the US, but some states, such as California, Nevada, Hawaii, do not celebrate the day.

Government agencies and schools are generally closed, but commercial organizations can operate. The U.S. flag is hoisted over government buildings.

The material was prepared on the basis of information from RIA Novosti and open sources

The first expedition of Christopher Columbus (1492-1493)

On August 3, 1492, the first expedition of the navigator Christopher Columbus began, discovering new lands for Europeans.

Born in Genoa, Columbus became a sailor at an early age, sailing the Mediterranean in merchant ships. Then he settled in Portugal. Under the Portuguese flag, he sailed north to England and Ireland, sailed along the west coast of Africa to the Portuguese trading post of São Jorge da Mina (modern Ghana). He was engaged in trade, mapping and self-education. During this period, Columbus had the idea to get to India by the western route across the Atlantic Ocean.

At that time, many Western European countries were looking for sea routes to the countries of South and East Asia, which were then united under the common name «India». From these countries, pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, expensive silk fabrics came to Europe. Merchants from Europe could not penetrate the countries of Asia by land, as the Turkish conquests cut off traditional merchant ties with the East through the Mediterranean Sea. They were forced to purchase Asian goods from Arab merchants. Therefore, the Europeans were interested in finding a sea route to Asia, which would allow them to purchase Asian goods without intermediaries. In the 1480s, the Portuguese tried to go around Africa to get across the Indian Ocean to India.

Columbus suggested that Asia can be reached by moving west across the Atlantic Ocean. His theory was based on the ancient doctrine of the sphericity of the Earth and the incorrect calculations of scientists of the 15th century, who considered the globe to be much smaller in size, and also underestimated the real length of the Atlantic Ocean from west to east.

Between 1483 and 1484, Columbus tried to interest the Portuguese king João II with his plan of an expedition to Asia by the western route. The monarch submitted his project for examination to the scientists of the «Mathematical Junta» (Lisbon Academy of Astronomy and Mathematics). Experts recognized Columbus’s calculations as «fantastic», and the king refused Columbus.

Having received no support, in 1485 Columbus went to Spain. There, at the beginning of 1486, he was introduced to the royal court and received an audience with the king and queen of Spain — Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The royal couple became interested in the project of a western route to Asia. A special commission was created to consider it, which issued an unfavorable conclusion in the summer of 1487, but the Spanish monarchs postponed the decision to organize an expedition until the end of the war they waged with the Emirate of Granada (the last Muslim state on the Iberian Peninsula).

In the autumn of 1488, Columbus visited Portugal, where he re-proposed his project to Juan II, but was again refused and returned to Spain.

In 1489, he unsuccessfully tried to interest the regent of France, Anne de Baeuze, and two Spanish dukes with the idea of ​​sailing westward.

In January 1492, unable to withstand a long siege by the Spanish troops, Granada fell. After lengthy negotiations, the Spanish monarchs, overriding the objections of their advisers, agreed to subsidize Columbus’s expedition.

On April 17, 1492, the royal couple concluded a treaty («capitulation») with him in Santa Fe, granting him the title of nobleman, the titles of Admiral of the Sea-Ocean, Viceroy and Governor-General of all the islands and continents that he discovers. The rank of admiral gave Columbus the right to decide in disputes arising from trade matters, the position of viceroy made him the personal representative of the monarch, and the position of governor general provided the highest civil and military power. Columbus was given the right to receive a tenth of everything found in the new lands and an eighth of the profits from trading with foreign goods.

The Spanish Crown undertook to finance most of the expenses of the expedition. Part of the funds for it was given to the navigator by Italian merchants and financiers.

In the first expedition, Columbus equipped three ships: a four-masted sailing ship «Santa Maria» (as a flagship) and two caravels — «Santa Clara» (better known as «Nina» by the name of its owner) and «Pinta», with a total team of 90 people. All three ships were small and were typical merchant ships of that era.

The Columbus fleet left the Spanish port of Palos on August 3, 1492. On August 9, she approached the Canary Islands. After repairing the Pinta on Homer Island, which had leaked, on September 6, heading west, the ships began crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The journey was uneventful with fair winds.

On September 16, the ships entered the Sargasso Sea, which Columbus described in his notebook as a bank of algae. Through this unusual body of water, he sailed most of his way to the Bahamas.

Having passed the Sargasso Sea, Columbus changed course on October 7, and the ships turned to the southwest. On October 12, 1492, land was discovered from the Pinta. The Spaniards reached the islands of the Bahamas, the first land they encountered in the Western Hemisphere. This day is considered the official date of the discovery of America.

Columbus landed on the coast, hoisted the banner of Castile on it and, having drawn up a notarial deed, formally took possession of the island.

He called the island San Salvador (St. Savior), and its inhabitants — Indians, believing that he was off the coast of India.

However, the discussion about the first landing site of Columbus is still ongoing. For a long time (1940-1982), Watling Island was considered San Salvador. In 1986, the American geographer George Judge processed all the collected materials on a computer and came to the conclusion that the first American land that Columbus saw was Samana Island (120 km southeast of Watling).

October 14-24, Columbus approached several more Bahamas. Having learned from the natives about the existence of a rich island in the south, the ships left the Bahamas on October 24 and sailed further to the southwest. On October 28, Columbus landed on the northeast coast of Cuba, which he named «Juana». After that, the Spaniards, inspired by the stories of the natives, spent a month searching for the golden island of Baneque (modern Great Inagua).

On November 21, the captain of the «Pinta» Martin Pinson took his ship away, deciding to search for this island on his own. Having lost hope of finding Baneke, Columbus with the two remaining ships turned east and on December 5 reached the northwestern tip of the island of Bohio (modern Haiti), which he named Hispaniola («Spanish»). Moving along the northern coast of Hispaniola, on December 25, the expedition approached the Holy Cape (modern Cap Haitien), where the Santa Maria ran aground and sank, but the crew escaped. With the help of local residents, guns, supplies and valuable cargo were removed from the ship. A fort was built from the wreckage of the ship — the first European settlement in America, named on the occasion of the Christmas holiday «Navidad» («Christmas City»).

The loss of the ship forced Columbus to leave part of the team (39 people) in the established settlement and set off on the Nina on the way back. For the first time in the history of navigation, on his orders, Indian hammocks were adapted for sailor bunks. To prove that he had reached a part of the world previously unknown to Europeans, Columbus took with him seven captive inhabitants of the islands, outlandish bird feathers and fruits of plants unseen in Europe. Having visited the open islands, the Spaniards saw corn, tobacco, and potatoes for the first time.

On January 4, 1493, Columbus put to sea on the Nina and sailed east along the northern coast of Hispaniola. Two days later he met «Pint». On January 16, both ships headed to the northeast, taking advantage of the favorable current — the Gulf Stream. On February 12, a storm arose, and on the night of February 14, the ships lost sight of each other. At dawn on February 15, the sailors saw the land, and Columbus determined that he was near the Azores. On February 18, the Nina managed to land on the coast of one of the islands — Santa Maria.

On February 24, Nina left the Azores. Two days later, she again fell into a storm, which on March 4 washed her ashore in Portugal. March 9 «Nina» anchored in the port of Lisbon. The crew needed a break, and the ship needed repairs. King Juan II gave Columbus an audience, at which the navigator informed him of the discovery of a western route to India. March 13 «Nina» was able to sail to Spain. On March 15, 1493, on the 225th day of sailing, the ship returned to the Spanish port of Palos.

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