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Christopher Columbus: His Perspective on the First Voyage to the New World through Spanish Influence and Indian Contact

Updated on January 25, 2014

Quick Facts about Christopher Columbus

  • Born in 1451 CE. around the Republic of Genoa, Italy.
  • Was a Known Explorer and Navigator
  • Had Extensive Knowledge of Trade Routes, Ocean Currents, and Social Anthropology of People and Animals Alike.
  • Took Early Voyages to Locations in and around the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, African Coast Lines, and eventually the Caribbean in later years.

Christopher Columbus: An Explorer of the Atlantic and Religious Navigator of the New World

Christopher Columbus, a man that wished for nothing more than to see the world, to give the world the extended vision of new worlds outside of their own. Born in 1451 within the sea town of the Republic of Genoa, Italy, he grew up as a son to a well known weaver. As a teenager, Columbus was already influenced by the voyages he had taken at a young age among the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, and this would have a huge impact on his exploratory skills as a marine-based explorer well into the latter parts of his life. As he grew up, other expeditions were set off into the African coast lines, his knowledge of currents along the the Atlantic Ocean tides offering him an edge over many other explorers in his day. After studying various maps, routes taken by traders in the day to the Asian Continent, Columbus gained a steadfast decision that pursuing the route to the west rather than the east would get him closer to the Indian Silk Routes faster, relinquishing any fears of pirates and the such stopping traders of the time.

Christopher Columbus and his Proposal to the King

As Columbus became older, he was overtaken by the Portuguese attempts to find a solid route of travel around around the African Coast to reach the Indian Ocean in a fast and smooth manner. This occurred around the year 1488, reaching the cape of good hope on the southern end of Africa. This had greatly intrigued Columbus, although he had also caught wind of the loss of trade with the Asian trading routes with Europeans through the major wars and tactics carried on by the Turks, thus causing a decline in Trade that openly funded the royal families in and around Europe.

Christopher Columbus decided, upon this knowledge having reached his ears, to gain the approval of the Spanish King, after being rejected by other kingdoms for his radical theory that the earth was not flat, but rather a circular shape that one would not just fall from the edge of the world upon reaching the other side. Eventually, after the Christian and Muslim Wars had calmed a bit, allowing the coffers of the Spanish Kingdom, along with King Ferdinand, to be intrigued with Columbus's Ideas and luxurious rewards that awaited the Monarch if Columbus succeeded. He finally succeeded in 1492, the Spanish Kingdom having conquered many regions around them, and so gave Columbus a fleet and promised his Admiral of the Ocean Fleet if he succeeded in gaining colonization and successful exploration to find the riches everyone sought.


The Exploration of the Islands

After Departing for what he thought was going to be India, and after Thirty Three days from leaving Cadiz, Spain, began landfall on various Islands up and down the waters far from the southern coastline of what is known as Florida. Columbus, along with his crew, began exploration of the Islands immediately, taking notice of the scarce farmland and villages among each island they visited. One of the larger Islands, Juana as it was called then, now more formally known as Cuba, was very uninhabited, but had some valuable metals and spices that could be brought back to the Kingdom of Spain at a later date. After leaving Juana, Columbus and his men landed on a rather large island, calling it Hispaniola, this island proved to be very different than the first.

After first arrival, the Spanish crew took notice of the Indians that walked around naked, sometimes the women may have worn very selective leaves for clothing on occasion, as if there was no war. The Indians, as Columbus called them as he thought he arrived in India, showed to be very scared and worried about Columbus's arrival, but after a small time, became very open to trade over the smallest trinkets for gold and other objects of valuable quality. At this time, after taking a small stay to talk to this and that village, Columbus gained the following information about the area and potential trade, objects such as:

  • Honey
  • Gold
  • Spices such as Rhubarb and other valuables
  • Eventual Major Sugar Cane Production
  • Avocado, Coconuts, Bananas
  • Copper
  • Aloes Wood
  • Slaves
  • Mastic Gum

The Letter to King Ferdinand, King of Spain

Christopher Columbus, now beginning to take over villages and taking a few Indians prisoners to take back to the Spanish Mainland, wrote a letter, speaking on a more entirety of the area in which he had claimed for the Religious Order of Christianity and Spanish Domain. It was directed to the king of Spain, its inner workings speaking of the demographics and economics, nature of militaristic islands off the coasts of Hispaniola and Juana. Columbus writes of the Fortress of Nativity, a sort of naval base with skilled ship builders and military/economic experts, that he had built to defend and maintain the Spanish influence in the area. Within this letter, Columbus speaks with high order, explaining that his men attempted to trade small worthless goods such as pieces of plates and such; In return, receiving sometimes upwards to an ounce in gold for such small objects of interest. He then goes on to say as the Captain, or Admiral, he scorned such actions, as he saw the Indians as a people that saw Christianity as a welcoming religion, and wished only for prosperity and trade between the natives and his men.

Also within the Letter speaks of a few hostile groups of Indians based off the coasts of the main islands, their culture shamanistic and even pronouncing them as cannibals by nature, eating the flesh of their enemies after victory. It was said that they were very violent, living on a island known as Charis, their weapons of choice bow and spears made of reed, poisonous darts as more irregular like warfare over main field battles. It was said in the letter as well, that their wives, also cannibalistic and violent by nature, lived on an island nearby them called Mateunin. They were known to be warlike, wearing copper sheets as protection, and just like their husbands and fellow warriors; used bows and darts to claim islands under nighttime skies, guerrilla warfare their specialty.

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After reaching Spain, the first voyage over

Columbus and his men, after their fleet arrived back in Spain, were celebrated for finding the first major route with easy access to goods and tractable items of all kinds in this New World he thought was India. He promised many wealthy rewards for the next voyagers to the new world, although after a few more trips, he was found to have failed the king in acquiring the goods he spoke of on a mass intercontinental trading scale. On accordance of massive government corruption within the growing colonies in and around the new found islands, King Ferdinand found Columbus to be a tyrant and incompetent in mishandling Spanish Funds. This had Columbus removed from his place of power, replacing him with Francisco de Bobadilla, which had a slightly better opportunity now that the Colonies were beginning to be set in stone in and around the islands of what is now one of the most extraordinary and beautiful places to visit in the world.



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    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      :) It seems most wearnt warlike but the few that were warlike acted violently to the rest. Most likely due to agricultual proplems on their particular island/s

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      It's one thing when you stumble upon a delightful paradise with peaceful and welcoming natives who invite you into their home and show you warm hospitality. It's a totally different ball game when you land on a territory overrun with warlike hostile cannibals. You better hope and pray you got some mighty fine negotiating skills or else you might end up on menu! This HUB makes you re-think that phrase about getting yourself in "hot water". :)

    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Thank you for the positive comment :) Have a wonderful day.

    • profile image

      lesliebyars 3 years ago

      Very interesting and informative article my friend. A lot of information I didn't know. Thanks for sharing.