Christopher Columbus disovery of America


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According to a legend, which was written down in the Navigatio Sancti Brendani abbatis during the 10th century, the Irish monk St. Brendan undertakes an adventures journey in a fisherboat to find paradise. On this journey to the west he could have reached Newfoundland or areas of the American coast which were situated even more south, as some researchers believe.
The viking sailor Bjarne Herjolfsson sights the New World as first European. Travelling from Iceland to Greenland he goes off course during a storm and probably reaches the coast of Labrador. After two days he sailed back towards the east, without having gone ashore.
On the tracks of Herjolfsson Leif Eirikson with 35 men returns to the New World. At the north coast of Newfoundland, which the vikings call Vinland, they build up a winter camp und stay until next spring.
around 1000
The vikings withdraw from the New World after a first settlement fails at a place today called L'Anse aux Meadows (Newfoundland). Occasional attendances, in order to cover the wood requirement on Greenland, are probable up to the middle of the 14th century. At this time fishermen from Brittany might have already discovered the fish-rich waters at the Canadian coast.
Christopher Columbus is born in Genova.
A Danish expedition, suggested by the king of Portugal, sails to Greenland and probably reaches the American continent at Labrador.
Bartolemeo Diaz sails around the Cape of Good Hope, the southern end of Africa, and finds the seaway to India for Portugal.
On August 3rd Christopher Columbus with three ships - "Santa Maria , "Niņa" and "Pinta" - leaves the Spanish harbour of Palos to sail to the west. After an intermediate stay of four weeks on the Kanari Islands the fleet arrives at the small Bahamas island Guanahaní on October 12th. Until the middle of January 1493 Columbus through-crosses the Caribbean Islands before he returns home. In March 1493 Columbus arrives again in Spain - without the "Santa Maria", which stranded at Christmas day on a reef and had to be given up.
On September 25th Columbus starts to the second journey to the new found islands from Cadiz. In December he founds the first town of the new world, Isabella, at the northern coast of the island Hispaniola.
Von erfarung aller land - is the title of a paragraph in the book Narrenschyff by Sebastian Brant, published in Basel/Switzerland in 1493. It is the first intellectual reaction to the new discoveries. There it is written in old German language:

Ouch hatt man sydt inn Portigal
Und inn hispanyen uberall
Goltinseln funden und nacket lüt
Von den man vor wust sagen nüt

(translated: Since then by Portugal and by Spain were found islands of gold and nacked people which were not known before.)

Pope Alexander VI. divides the world into a Spanish and a Portuguese sphere (contract of Tordesillas). The demarcation line runs rather coincidentally through the South American continent and makes the eastern section thereby Portuguese sphere of influence.

On August 4th Bartolomëo Columbus, brother of Christopher, founds Santo Domingo. The capital of the Dominican Republic today is the oldest existing European city on American soil.
The Italian sailor in English services, Giovanni Caboto alias John Cabot, is the first European after the vikings who reaches North America.
Vasco da Gama arrives at the Indian subcontinent by the sea route around Africa.
Columbus on his third journey finds the South American coast and the Orinoco delta.
Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian tradesman, travelles along the coast of South America. His report of 1503 which was translated into many languages makes the New World well known in Europe. The cartographer Martin Waldseemüller regards Vespucci as the discoverer and suggests to name the new continent America.
On a travel to India the Portuguese sailor Pedro Alvarez Cabral lands at the coast of Brazil and takes it in possession for Portugal. As actual discoverer is considered Vespucci, who probably already in 1499 came to Brazil. Also Vincente Yaņez Pinzón, companion of Columbus on the first journey, seems to have been there before Cabral.
On September 25th, on his fourth and last journey, Columbus enters the soil of Central America in today's Costa Rica.
On May 20th, Christopher Columbus dies in Valladolid in Spain.
The Spaniards cross the Isthmus of Panama. Vasco Nuņez de Balbao is the first European to see the Pacific Ocean on September 25th.
Fernão de Magalhães finds the sea way to the Pacific Ocean in the south of America. This makes the way free for the first circumnavigation which is completed 1521 by a ship of Magalhães's fleet. Magalhães dies on the Philippines.
Hernan Cortez conquers the realm of the Aztecs in Mexico. Montezuma II, the last sovereigns Aztec rulers, is murdered by the Spaniards.
Francisco Pizarro conquers Peru and smashes the Inka realm. He gives order to kill the last king, Atahualpa.
Bartolome de las Casas, a monk of the Dominican order, writes the 1552 published "Abridged report over the devastation of the West Indian countries", in which he pillories the genocide at the Indians. According to modern estimations, in the first century of the Spanish rule in America up to 70 million humans died.
Pope Paul III. declares the Indians as veros homines, as true humans.


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