SPAIN - HISTORY - CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
On the evening of August 3, 1492, Columbus departed from
Palos with three ships; one larger carrack, Santa Maria,
nicknamed Gallega (the Gallician), and two smaller
caravels, Pinta (the Painted) and Santa Clara, nicknamed
Niña (the Girl).
(The ships were never officially named). (Citation needed)
They were property of Juan de la Cosa and the Pinzon
brothers (Martin Alonzo and Vicente Yáñez), but the
monarchs forced the Palos inhabitants to contribute to the
Columbus first sailed to the Canary Islands, which was
owned by Castile, where he restocked the provisions and
made repairs, and on September 6, he started what turned
out to be a five-week voyage across the ocean.
Land was sighted at 2 a.m. on October 12, 1492, by a
sailor named Rodrigo de Triana (also known as Juan
Rodriguez Bermejo) aboard Pinta. (Columbus would claim the
prize.) Columbus called the island (in what is now The
Bahamas) San Salvador, although the natives called it
Exactly which island in the Bahamas this corresponds to is
an unresolved topic; prime candidates are Samana Cay,
Plana Cays, or San Salvador Island
(Named San Salvador in 1925 in the belief that it was
Columbus's San Salvador).
The indigenous people he encountered, the Lucayan, Taíno
or Arawak, were peaceful and friendly. In his journal he
wrote of them, "It appears to me, that the people are
ingenious, and would be good servants and I am of opinion
that they would very readily become Christians, as they
appear to have no religion."
Columbus also explored the northeast coast of Cuba (landed
on October 28) and the northern coast of Hispaniola, by
December 5. Here, the Santa Maria ran aground on Christmas
morning 1492 and had to be abandoned.
He was received by the native cacique Guacanagari, who
gave him permission to leave some of his men behind.
Columbus founded the settlement La Navidad and left 39
Columbus headed for Spain, but another storm forced him
into Lisbon. He anchored next to the King's harbour patrol
ship on March 4, 1493 in Portugal. After spending more
than one week in Portugal, he set sail for Spain. Word of
his finding new lands rapidly spread throughout Europe. He
reached Spain on March 15, 1493.
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