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Essay on Christopher Columbus' Motivations to Sail West for the Indies

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Christopher Columbus' Motivations to Sail West for the Indies


Christopher Columbus lived in an age of Moslem expansion in the east. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, direct land routes to the Indies were closed to European merchants and traders, thus creating the need to find a sea route to the Indies. Portugal had spent years sailing the coast of Africa to reach the Indies, but Columbus thought he had a better way: sailing west. With the defeat of the Moors in 1492 Queen Isabella of Spain was willing to consider to Columbus' proposal to sail west. The motivations of Columbus sailing west to the Indies, whether economic, spiritual or personal, were all based on ancient authorities, writings and personal beliefs.

Columbus was born in 1451 in Genoa, a seafaring city. He was christened Christoforo Columbo. His father was a woolweaver and his mother was the daughter of a woolweaver. Histwo brothers, Bartolome and Diego, supported Columbus on the second voyage.

Columbus came from a poor family with little or no formal education. His knowledge of navigation came from experience not books. To explain Columbus' presence in Portugal, his son Fernando tells a fascinating but hardly believable story. Having made numerous trips throughout the Mediterranean for Genoa, he was supposedly sailing to England with a fleet of Genoese ships in 1476 when attacked by a French fleet. A battle ensued and his ship sank. He then grabbed an oar and swam six miles to shore, landing in Portugal. He stayed in Portugal eight years, sailing up and down the Atlantic for Portugal. He went south to Africa, north to England and possibly Iceland and west to the Azores. In 1479 Columbus married Dona Felipa Perestrello e Moniz and a...


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... 1942.

-----. "Christopher Columbus, Mariner". Boston: Little, Brown
and Company, 1955.

-----. "The Great Explorers: The European Discovery of
America". New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.

"Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, The". Revised
Standard Version. Translated from the Original Tongues.
Toronto: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1946.

Thacher, John Boyd. "Christopher Columbus: His Life His Work,
His Remains as revealed by Original Printed and Manuscript
records together with an Essay on Peter Martyr of Anghera
and Bartolome de las Casas, the First Historians of
America". 3 vols. New York: AMS Press, Inc., 1967.

Winsor, Justin. "Christopher Columbus: And How He Received and
Imparted the Spirit of Discovery". Boston: Houghton,
Mifflin and Company, 1891.


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