Christopher Columbus for Kids
20 + Christopher Columbus Interesting Facts
When you go to Spain you’ll hear a lot about Christopher Columbus who was an amazing explorer! He gets credit for ‘discovering’ the Americas even though…he didn’t. Yes, not only did the Vikings discover the Americas almost 500 years before Chistopher Columbus arrived they found it populated by Native American peoples who had lived there for 20,000 years.
Learning about a country before you go makes the whole experience even more fun!
Christopher Columbus for Kids – Information on a great explorer!
- Spain’s greatest explorer was actually born in Italy.
- Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. No one is sure of exactly when but most agree it was late August or October 1451.
- His exploring goal was to find a new route from Europe to Asia to improve trading of things like spices and silk.
- Columbus actually made four trips to the ‘new world’.
- Portugal, England and France all turned him down when he asked for money for his travels. Finally Spain said yes and paid for his exploring.
- Christopher Columbus never actually made it to North America. His four exploration journeys took him to the Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, South America and Central America.
- When he died in 1506 he thought he had made it to Asia. He never realized his routes never led there.
- Even though Columbus never even stepped onto the soil in North America, in 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a national holiday for him – October 12th.
- Two of his ships were not really called the Nina and the Pinta – those were nicknames.
- He was a brutal governor of the land he discovered and called Hispanola. He was so horrible and mean to the natives that word was sent to Spain and they came to arrest him.
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- He used his knowledge of science to trick his captors. He was being held captive in Jamaica and told them the gods wanted them to let him go. As proof, he told them the moon would ‘rise inflamed with wrath’ and sure enough….the lunar eclipse occurred and convinced the locals to let him leave.
- Columbus’ family argued over his will in legal battles with Spain for almost 300 years.
- The ships traveled about 100 miles a day and carried 120 men combined.
- Without GPS, Christopher Columbus had to use the tools of the day to map out his route including: astrolabes, charts, hour glass, sundial, compass, almanac, traverse boards and charts of the stars.
- Food on the long voyages would have included: bread, beer, fish, salted meat, dried legumes, rice, wine, and hard biscuits. The bread is called ‘hard tack’ which was very, very hard.
- Health on the ships was difficult. Scurvy, caused by a lack of vitamin C, was a real problem for sailors. Scurvy caused: weakness and sores on legs and arms. More advanced cases of scurvy caused gum disease which loosened the teeth and bleeding from the skin.
- The crew worked in shifts of four hours. When you weren’t working you tried to sleep, but there were no cabins. Only the captain had a cabin. Everyone else just slept wherever they could. No one was well rested and many times they went for days without sleep.
- Christopher Columbus lied!! He promised a reward to the first sailor who spotted land. Everyone took turns in the crows nest trying to find land in the distance and then one day, Rodrigo de Triana saw it! Then, Christopher Columbus said he actually saw something the night before but just didn’t say anything so he kept the reward for himself.
- He was a very religious man and thought that God called him to be an explorer. He often wore the robes of a monk.
- Part of the deal that he made with Spain involved bringing back riches from his travels. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand expected jewels and riches in return for paying for Columbus’ exploring. But, when those riches weren’t found, Christopher Columbus brought back people instead as slaves.
- Christopher Columbus was a ginger and had red hair.
Spain is a warm and welcoming place to explore with the family.
Read before you go on any trip! Learn about Spain and even more Christopher Columbus Facts for Kids with books from this list!
Happy Travels and Exploring,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist