Voyages of Columbus 1492–1504

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Map Code: Ax01298

Christopher Columbus, despite his role in the Spanish colonization of the Americas, was Genoese. The Catholic monarchs of Spain agreed to fund Columbus’s expedition to find a western trade route and agreed to make him governor of any lands he discovered. His first voyage, with only three modestly sized ships, set sail on 3 August 1492, making first visual contact with land on 12 October at an island he named San Salvador. Columbus’s second voyage was far better equipped but, upon returning to Hispaniola, he found that the outpost he had previously established at La Navidad had been destroyed. Disobeying strict royal orders, Columbus then set sail for Spain with some 560 slaves. The third voyage succeeded in making contact with the South American continent, but ended in Columbus’s arrest after he was accused of tyrannical governance on Hispaniola. After being imprisoned for six weeks in Spain, Columbus gathered funds for one final trip during which he landed along the Central American coast.

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