15 Facts You Didn’t Know About Christopher Columbus

Find out things you never knew about the famous voyager.

  1. 1

    No way, Christopher.

    Before his voyage was bankrolled by Spain, Columbus was turned down by three other countries, including Portugal, England, and France.

  2. 2

    Total fail.

    The Santa Maria was wrecked on his most well-known voyage. Columbus had to leave behind crewmembers to continue on. He later returned to find them all dead.

  3. 3

    1, 2, 3, 4...

    Columbus didn't just make one voyage to the Americas - he made a total of four!

  4. 4

    Penny pincher

    Columbus promised gold to whoever saw land first - and then reneged on his promise, pretending he had seen land before his sailor Rodrigo de Triana claimed he did.

  5. 5

    Political Problems

    Columbus was not a good politician. In fact, after being made governor of Santo Domingo, he so mishandled things that he was brought back to Spain as a criminal.

  6. 6


    Columbus was a very religious man, and even took to wearing a habit later in life.

  7. 7

    What "new world"?

    Columbus was still looking for a path to Asia, and believed Japan was near his "discovered" territories. He never stopped thinking he was just on the way to Asian lands.

  8. 8

    Where's His Body?

    No one knows for certain where his body is. Seville and Santo Domingo both claim to have his remains.

  9. 9

    One Big World

    During his time, people generally believed the world was one landmass - Europe, Asia, and Africa.

  10. 10


    Despite being in the Bahamas on first landing, Columbus thought he had reached the Indies, and that the people he met were Indians.

  11. 11


    Before he was a renowned voyager, he was a pirate who took part in attacks on merchant vessels.

  12. 12


    Late in life, he wrote a book called Book of Privileges, in which he accused the Spanish throne of lying about promises they had made to him.

  13. 13

    Unknown Death

    When he died, his death went unnoticed for 10 days.

  14. 14

    Pear-Shaped World

    Insisting on his passage to Asia, Columbus proposed the world was shaped like a pear.

  15. 15


    Columbus brought horses over to the Americas, as one of the first European exports.

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