Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 Calvi (Corsica), northwest of the island, 80 km from Ajaccio. He was the oldest of five children. As a child, he helped his father as a weaver. He always liked the sea. Genoa was an important seaport. There is no doubt that as a child he caught rides on ships. He had little schooling but was a genius with the sea. His plan was not to prove that the world was flat, but it was to find a shortcut to the Spice Islands. He wanted to establish a city there for trade, seaports, and much more. When he grew into a man he was interested in sailing to Asia by going west.Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, landing in the "new world" of the Americas and gaining lasting fame. Financed by Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille, Columbus sailed west in search of a sea passage to India. His mission was twofold: open trade routes for exploitation and bring the word of Jesus Christ to the uninitiated. He sailed with three ships (the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria) in 1492 and made landfall somewhere in the Bahamas. He returned to Europe to spread the word, and was named "Admiral of the Ocean Seas" by Ferdinand and Isabella. He made three more voyages in the following years, always believing that he had reached Asia, and his success opened the door for Spain to conquer the Americas. Five centuries after his daring voyage, Columbus is still famous but is also the subject of heated discussions about whether he was a good-guy hero who discovered new worlds or a not-so-nice guy who helped grab the Americas from their native inhabitants. Still, he has long been known as the man who "discovered" America, and the second Monday in October is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States.Christopher Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain, on May 20, 1506, at the age of 54. He had suffered through a long terminal illness that first showed symptoms on his third voyage eight years before.
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