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Christopher Columbus

             Italian Spanish navigator who sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia but achieved fame by making landfall in the Americas instead. He was an outstanding navigator and organizer of expeditions. His voyage of 1492 made him famous throughout Europe and secured for him the title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and further royal patronage. He is credited with the discovery of the New World. His voyage to the New World was quite possibly the most influential event for the whole world in the last millennium.
             Christopher Columbus was a native of Genoa, born in the year 1435. He was the oldest son of Domenico Colombo, a wool-comber and his mother Susanna Fontanarossa. He had three brothers, Giovanni, Bartolomeo, and Giacomo, and a sister, Bianchinetta. "His name is always written Colombo, in the Italian papers, I n Spain it was always written Colon; in France it is written as Colomb; while in England it has always kept its Latin form, Columba is the Latin word for "Dove- (Fernandez 20-21). As a boy, Christopher joined his father in the family business of wool processing and selling. He may have worked as a clerk in a Genoese bookshop as well. At the age of fourteen he began to navigate after he left the University of Pavia. The early age at which he began his career as a sailor is not surprising for a native of Genoa, as the Genoese were most enterprising and daring seamen. .
             By 1477 Columbus was settled in Lisbon. Since the beginning of Portuguese voyages of exploration in the middle of the 14th century, Lisbon had become a haven for explorers, adventurers, entrepreneurs, merchants, and any others who saw their fortunes tied to the trade winds and ocean currents. His brother Bartholomew worked in Lisbon as a mapmaker and for a time the brothers worked together as draftsmen and book collectors. In 1479 Columbus married Felipa Perestrelo an aristocrat from Portugal. She was the daughter of an Italian gentleman named Bartolomeo Muniz de Perestrelo, who was like Columbus, a sailor.

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