Biography of Christopher Columbus for Children: Famous Explorers for Kids – FreeSchool



You're watching FreeSchool! Today we're going to learn about the famous
explorer, Christopher Columbus. Christopher Columbus, most famous for his
historic voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, was born in 1451 in Genoa, Italy. The son
of a weaver, Columbus began sailing as a young teen. He sailed to many places – Greece, England,
Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, West Africa, and Spain. In 1476 Columbus was shipwrecked off the coast
of Portugal. He swam to shore and settled in Lisbon. It was there that he was first
married, and his first son, Diego, was born. In 1485 his wife died, and Columbus moved
to Spain. A few years later, his second son, Fernando, was born. It was about this time that Christopher Columbus
began to be fascinated by the idea that it might be possible to sail West from Europe
to reach Asia. Trade of spices and silk with India and China was incredibly important – and
incredibly profitable – but the journey, whether overland or by sea, was long and dangerous.
If Columbus could succeed in sailing directly from Europe to Asia by going west, he could
make a lot of money and become very wealthy. It is a misperception that most people back
then thought that the world was flat. In fact, most people knew that the world was round,
but nautical experts thought that Columbus had estimated the distance from Europe to
Asia to be much too small. They thought that he would only make it halfway there before
running out of food and supplies. Because of this, he could not convince anyone to give
him the money he needed for the voyage. His idea was rejected in Portugal, Genoa,
and Venice. Then he went to Spain in 1486 and tried to persuade King Ferdinand and Queen
Isabella to finance his expedition, but they were at war and did not have time or money
for exploration. Six years later in 1492, the war ended and
the King and Queen agreed to give Columbus the money he needed. On August 3, 1492, Christopher
Columbus sailed west from Spain with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa
Maria. Two months later, on October 12, they reached
the Bahamas, landing on an island that Columbus named San Salvador. Columbus was convinced
that he had reached the Indies, a series of islands in southeast asia, and so he called
the people that he met there 'Indians.' He didn't find very much gold on San Salvador,
and so he sailed around exploring other islands. On Christmas day the largest ship, the Santa
Maria, ran aground and had to be abandoned, so Columbus left 39 crewmen in what is now
Haiti to start a settlement and hopefully, find more gold. Columbus took some of the
native people with him and returned to Spain in March of 1493. Besides the people and a
little gold, Columbus brought back things like pineapples, turkeys, parrots, and tobacco
to prove that there were riches to be found across the ocean. He was rewarded by being
named Admiral of the Ocean Sea and was appointed Viceroy and Governor of the new lands. Word of his discovery spread quickly through
Europe, and before the year was out, Columbus set sail leading a second, much larger expedition.
With 17 ships and more than 1,000 men, they were ready to begin colonizing the islands
Columbus had found. When they arrived, they found that the original settlement had been
destroyed and everyone left behind had been killed by the native people. They established
a new settlement and began to search for gold, but when little was found Columbus enslaved
the native people and forced them to help search for more riches. On his third voyage, Columbus finally reached
the continental mainland when he landed in Venezuela. Unfortunately, conditions at the
settlement were very bad and the settlers blamed Columbus. In 1500 he was arrested and
forced to return to Spain. He was eventually freed, but he lost his titles
and much of his money. In 1502 he made a fourth and final voyage to the new world, stil searching
for a passage to India or China. He returned to Spain in 1504, and on May 20th, 1506, at
the age of 54, Christopher Columbus died, probably still believing that he had successfully
sailed to Asia. It is true that Christopher Columbus was not
the first person to discover the Americas – that would be the ancestors of the native
inhabitants – and he wasn't even the first European to reach the New World (a voyage
by Leif Erikson about 500 years earlier succeeded in reaching Canada). However, the voyages
of Christopher Columbus had a huge impact in the history of the world because he brought
back word of these new lands to Europe and began a new period of trade and colonization.
Plants, animals, people and diseases went back and forth across the ocean and had a
lasting impact on almost every culture on the planet. Because of this, we commemorate Columbus's
first landing every October – on Columbus Day. I hope you enjoyed learning about Christopher
Columbus today. Goodbye till next time!

31 thoughts on “Biography of Christopher Columbus for Children: Famous Explorers for Kids – FreeSchool

  1. Columbus was (as most erudites say) from Genova.
    Italy didnt exist at that time (XV), Italy is a "new country" (XIX) but its history is old and we all come from ROME in one or another way

  2. "It is true that Columbus wasnt the first person to discover america, that would be the ancestors of the inhabitant americans"
    –> Well, OBVIOUSLY the inhabitants americans noticed that America existed, the idea of "The Discovery" (in spanish "El Descubrimiento") refers to ALL the people in the "Known World" = Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania that didnt know that America existed. And "The Discovery" was not "unilateral" since "both"… "they and us, us and they" discovered about the other ones existance.
    I also know about the vikings sailing to Canada etc. Probably they did, but there is no maritime route written on charts or whatever. The fact is that many said "You can reach the east just sailing to the west = world is round" but "noone" could proove it or their distance calculations and even more noone thought such a big piece of land like America was in between. Someone had to be first and that was Columbus, the real romantic thing about this is that he made "The Discover" by accident… 🙂

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