Christopher Columbus Timeline – Early Years
1451 (around September)
Christopher Columbus was born Cristoforo Colombo in Genoa, Italy to Domenico Colombo, a weaver, and his wife Susanna.
Christopher went to sea for the first time.
Christopher moved to the coastal town of Savona with his family. His father took over the running of a tavern in the town.
Christopher Columbus sailed on a ship supporting Rene of Anjou’s attempt to conquer Naples.
Columbus began working as an apprentice business agent for a number of important Genoese families.
Columbus was part of an armed convoy escorting a valuable cargo to northern Europe. He made port in Bristol, England and Galway, Ireland.
Colombus left Galway and sailed to Lisbon on a Portuguese ship.
In Lisbon, Columbus and his brother Bartolomeo began trading for the wealthy Centurione family.
Christopher married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo on Porto Santo Island, Madeira. She was the daughter of the governor of the island.
A son, Diego, was born to Christopher Columbus and his wife Filipa.
Christopher Columbus began trading along the west coast of Africa.
Christopher Columbus’s wife, Filipa, died.
Christopher Columbus became interested in the ideas of Paolo Toscanelli that sailing west would be a quicker route to the Spice Islands.
Columbus gained an audience with King John II of Portugal and asked him to support his quest for a western route to the Spice Islands. After consideration Columbus’s proposal was rejected on the grounds that his estimated travelling distance was far too low and he was not therefore credible.
After having his proposal rejected, Columbus left Portugal and travelled to Castile. He took his young son, Diego, with him.
1486 (1st May)
1486 (1st May)
Christopher Columbus’s proposed voyage was rejected by Ferdinand and Isabella on the grounds that he had greatly underestimated the distance to the Spice Islands. However, they did offer him a financial retainer and a letter allowing him free board and lodging. This status meant that he could re-present his ideas at a later date.
Columbus began a relationship with Beatriz Enriquez de Arana. It is thought he met the 20 year old girl in Cordoba.
Columbus again appealed to King John II of Portugal to support a voyage westward. He was turned down again.
Portuguese explorer, Bartolomeu Dias, sailed around Cape Horn and made for the Spice Islands by this new south east route. The success of Dias led to King John supporting this new route rather than the westward one proposed by Colombus.
A son, Fernando, was born to Columbus and Beatriz de Arana.
Columbus tried to get support for his westward voyage from Genoa, Venice and England. His brother Bartholomew had been sent to England to put the proposal to Henry VII
of England. He was unsuccessful.
Christopher Columbus again petitioned Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain for support.
Following the conquest of Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella granted Columbus an audience in Cordoba. Isabella turned him down again and he left the palace. However, Ferdinand had changed his mind and called for Columbus to return.
1492 (17th April)
Capitulations of Santa Fe
Ferdinand and Isabella told Columbus that if he succeeded in finding a quicker westward route to the Spice Islands they would appoint him Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Viceroy and Governor of any new lands he claimed for Spain. He would also be entitled to 10% of any riches he found.
Christopher Columbus Timeline – First Voyage
1492 (3rd August)
Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos de la Frontera in southern Spain. Columbus sailed the largest of the three ships, the Santa Maria which was accompanied by the Pinta and the Niña.
1492 (6th September)
After restocking his ships in Gran Canaria, Columbus set sail again from San Sebastian de la Gomera.
1492 (12th October)
Land was sighted by the Pinta and the crews of all three ships were alerted. Columbus later claimed that he was already aware of land and that he was therefore the first person to sight new land. He called the land San Salvador (the Bahamas). He made contact with the local natives and reported that they were peaceful.
1492 (28th October)
Having left San Salvador Christopher Columbus landed on the north eastern coast of Cuba.
1492 (5th December)
Columbus had continued exploring the region and landed on another island which he called Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic).
1492 (25th December)
The Santa Maria ran aground off the coast of Hispaniola and had to be abandoned. Thirty-nine men were left on the island and they founded a new settlement, Villa de la Navidad (Bord de Mer de Limonade, Haiti).
1493 (6th January)
Columbus met up with the Pinta and the two remaining ships continued exploring together.
1493 (13th January)
Columbus landed in the Bay of Rincón in east Hispaniola (Dominican Republic). Here he met resistance from the native people. He captured a number of them to take back to Spain.
1493 (late January)
Columbus, sailing in the Niña, began the return journey to Spain accompanied by the Pinta. During the journey he was taken ill with what is now believed to be reactive arthritis also known as Reiter’s syndrome.
1493 (15th March)
Columbus, returned to Palos de la Frontera in Spain. He told the Spanish monarchs that he had found Asia and claimed new lands for Spain.
Christopher Columbus Timeline – Second Voyage
1493 (24th September)
Christopher Columbus embarked on his second voyage. This time sailing from Cadiz with 17 ships full of men and supplies to set up permanent colonies in the New World.
1493 (13th October)
After restocking his ships in the Canary Islands, Columbus set sail across the Atlantic Ocean.
1493 (3rd November)
Columbus and his fleet spotted a new island which he named Dominica. In the afternoon he discovered another island which he named Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extremadura (Guadaloupe).
1493 (10th November)
Columbus left Guadaloupe and began exploring other islands in the area. He named them: Montserrat, Antigua, Redonda (Antigua), Nevis, Saint Kitts, Saint Eustatius (Netherlands), Saba (Netherlands), Saint Martin (France and Netherlands) and Saint Croix (Virgin Islands).
1493 (14th November)
Columbus encountered hostile natives for the first time at Saint Croix (Virgin Islands). After rescuing two native boys held captive by other natives they were fired at with arrows.
1493 (22nd November)
Christopher Columbus returned to Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominicanm Republic). He found that the fort and small settlement built at Villa de la Navidad (Bord de Mer de Limonade, Haiti) during his first voyage had been destroyed by the natives and that the Spaniards who had remained behind had been killed. Columbus left his two brothers, Bartolomeo and Diego and a number of men to rebuild the settlement. He also left a large number of captured natives to work as slaves.
Christopher Columbus continued west searching for gold and riches to take back to Spain. Columbus did not want to return to Spain empty-handed so he took 500 captured natives. Isabella of Castile was not happy since she believed that the people on the islands he had discovered should be Spanish subjects not slaves. Columbus told the monarchs that he had discovered islands off the coast of China.
Christopher Columbus Timeline – Third Voyage
1498 (30th May)
Christopher Columbus left Spain on his third voyage to the New World. He left Sanlúcar, Spain with six ships. Three of his ships were sent directly to the settlement on Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Repbulic) while Columbus took the other three ships south of the Caribbean islands. They stopped at Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde to restock on the way.
1498 (31st July)
Columbus and his crew sighted land.
1498 (2nd August)
Columbus landed on the island of Trinidad.
1498 (4th August)
Columbus took his ships south of Trinidad and discovered a large land mass. He found a large fresh water river, (the Orinoco River, Venezuela) and realised that he had found a new continent.
1498 (19th August)
Columbus’s health had begun to deteriorate so he sailed north to the settlement of Villa de la Navidad (Bord de Mer de Limonade, Haiti). On arrival he found the Spanish settlers had rebelled against the rule of his brothers. As governor Columbus was responsible and he was accused him of poor management of the island and of misleading the settlers about the riches that could be found there.
Columbus reluctantly agreed to terms to make peace with the Spanish settlers.
The Spanish authorities learned about the situation in Villa de la Navidad and had Columbus arrested and returned to Spain. He was eventually freed but did not regain his position as governor.
Christopher Columbus wrote The Book of Privileges which documents all the favours and honours that Columbus believed were owed to him and his descendants.
1502 (11th May)
Columbus embarked on a fourth voyage after persuading Ferdinand and Isabella that this time he would find great riches for Spain. His son, Fernando accompanied him on this voyage. Columbus and his son sailed in the Santa Maria which was accompanied by three other ships.
1502 (15th June)
Christopher Columbus reached Martinica (Martinique). However, the weather had turned bad and a hurricane was approaching so he turned north.
1502 (29th June)
Columbus reached Santo Dominigo on Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic) but was denied permission to land. The new governor of Santo Domingo did not believe Columbus when he said that a hurricane was approaching and directed a fleet of ships full of treasure to leave port and sail for Spain.
1502 (1st July)
Columbus’s fleet sheltered from the storm in the mouth of the river Jaina. All of the governors ships bar one were lost in the storm.
1502 (mid July)
Columbus reached the island of Jamaica.
1502 (30th July)
Christopher Columbus reached the coast of Honduras. He began exploring and mapping the coastline of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
1502 (16th October)
Columbus reached Almirante Bay in Panama.
1502 (5th December)
Columbus’s fleet were caught in a very bad storm. The strength of the wind prevented them from being able to find shelter in a port or headland. Columbus believed they were lucky to have survived the storm.
Columbus established a fort at the mouth of the Belén River in Panama.
1503 (6th April)
Columbus’s garrison at the mouth of the Belén River was attacked and two of his ships were damaged and had to be left behind.
1503 (16th April)
Columbus left Panama and sailed north intending to return to Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic).
1503 (10th May)
Christopher Columbus sighted a group of new islands which he named Las Tortugas due to the number of sea turtles on the islands (the Cayman Islands).
1503 (25th June)
After another storm damaged his ships, Columbus’s ships ran aground on the beach at St Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. He sent some men in a canoe to get help from Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic) but the governor was not helpful.
1504 (29th June)
Columbus and his men were finally rescued from Jamaica.
1504 (7th November)
Christopher Columbus arrived back in Spain.
Christopher Columbus completed The Book of Prophecies, a compilation of religious revelations.
Columbus made repeated attempts to regain his lost titles but was not successful.
1506 (20th May)
Christopher Columbus died in Vallodolid, Spain.
First published 2019; updated and republished July 26 2022 @ 10:09 pm – Updated – [last-modified]