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Biography of Christopher Columbus


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Columbus, Christopher. Main European discoverer of America, on October 12, 1492, after two months of great peril and, in the end, mutiny of his men. Was born in Genoa, 1446. Columbus went to sea at 14 and cherished, if he did not conceive the idea, of reaching India by sailing westward. He applied in many quarters for furtherance and, after seven years of waiting, was provided with three small vessels and a crew of 120 men. First touching land at the Bahamas, he visited Cuba and Haiti, and returned home with spoils of the land; he was hailed and honored as "King of the Sea." Columbus made three subsequent visits and, on the third, had the satisfaction of landing on the mainland, which Sebastian Cabot and Amerigo Vespucci had reached before him. But he became at last the victim of jealousy, and charges were made against him, which so cut him to the heart that he never rallied from the attack. He died at Valladolid, in 1506, broken in body and soul. Carlyle, in a famous passage, salutes him across the centuries: "Brave sea-captain, Norse sea-king, Columbus, my hero, royalist sea-king of all."