Christopher Columbus is an American icon, but how much do you really know about him? Thanks to him many of us get a day off, but it seems few actually know about his accomplishments outside of “discovering America” or know about the atrocities he is accused of committing as governor of the Indies. Here’s a list of 16 common (and not so common) facts about Christopher Columbus. For those interested in reading more about Columbus, most of my research started on the Wikipedia page dedicated to Christopher Columbus.
1. While Columbus played a major role in rooting Europe into North and Central America, he was not the first European to discover America. Leif Ericson landed on the northern tip of Newfoundland almost 500 years earlier. Columbus discovered and explored the Bahamas and other Central American areas (graphic of his trips here). His discoveries were not only five centuries later compared to Ericson, but nowhere near the United States of America that we know today.
2. Columbus’s main goal was to spread Christianity and find gold for the Spanish Empire. Spain’s main goal was to get cash for their costly wars. There really was no honorable goal of discovering a New World.
3. Columbus was actually trying to reach Japan when he landed in the Bahamas.
4. Columbus was rejected three times over seven years (1485 – 1492) before finally getting approval and funds from the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella to make his voyage.
5. Ferdinand and Isabella promised Columbus a large chunk of the profits because they never expected for him to return. The decedents of family sued and levied disputes in court against the crown until 1790.