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Christopher Colombus
The Age of Exploration
Early Life
• Born in Genoa, Italy.
• Joined the crew of a ship at
13 yrs old and spent next
years at sea.
• Heard of the wealth in India
& China and wanted to trade
with them.
• Discovered an old Greek map
which convinced him that the
earth was round.
Finding Finance
• He needed finance to put together
an expedition to reach the Spice
Islands by sailing west.
• The king of Portugal refused to
sponsor him.
• He then looked to Spain. King
Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of
Spain agreed to pay for the mission
after he promised to help them
conquer the wealth of India &
convert people to Christianity.
Setting Sail
• Colombus sailed west in 1492 from Palos, Spain
with 3 ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa
• He had 90 sailors onboard some as young as 12.
• Food included salted meat, ship’s biscuits, dried
fish, garlic, beans, rice and local wine.
The Voyage
• Columbus didn’t realise how big the world
actually was and thought the journey should
take 2 weeks.
• They travelled about 150 miles a day.
• Sailors spent 30 days at sea without seeing land
and became frightened.
• The crew wanted to turn back.
• Columbus kept 2 logs
• A false version to convince
the crew of how far they had
• And a secret one that
showed the real distance.
Land Ahoy!
• The Pinta was the first to spot land and fired
the warning cannon shot.
• They discovered a small island.
• Columbus called it San Salvador (Holy Saviour).
• He was convinced they had reached Asia and
called the local people ‘Indians’.
• Historians disagree about which island he
visited first. The top guess is Watling Island.
The Search
• Columbus spent the next 3 months searching
for the Indian mainland.
• He hoped to find rich cities and grealt wealth.
• He found several islands includig Cuba &
• Bitterly disappointed, Columbus returned to
Spain without finding India. He left a small
force of soldiers on Hispaniola to look after
the area.
Hero’s Welcome
• On his return Ferdinand and Isabella treated him as a
• He brought 6 indians, various plants and some parots to
show them.
• On his next voyage they gave him 17 ships and 1,200
Columbus’s later voyages
• When Columbus returned to Hispaniola the
group left were all dead. The fort was destroyed
and place covered with rotting corpses.
• He set up a 2nd fort close to a swamp. Most of
the men got malaria & died.He tried to force the
Indians to give him gold or their hands were cut
off. But they didn’t have enough because there
were no mines on the island.
• Instead he brought back 500 Indians to Spain as
slaves in order to pay for the expedition.
Later years
• Columbus made 2 more voyages, exploring Jamaica,
Puerto Rico and the coast of South America.
• He had become unpopular in Spain.
• He hadn’t brought back any silk or spices and little
• By 1500 most people realised he hadn’t discovered a
new route to India.
• Ferdinand & Isabella took away his right to be governor
of Hispaniola.
• He died a disappointed man in 1506.