Five Perils That Challenged Christopher Columbus

America was discovered by an Italian explorer known as Christopher Columbus. Columbus was a navigator, colonizer, and explorer. His expeditions across the Atlantic Ocean were funded by the Spanish Crown. Columbus reached the Americas on his fourth voyage in 1502. Although his trip was successful, there were many troubles he faced along the way. Wind resistance, spoiled food, money problems, disease, and wasted time at sea were only a few of the perils faced by Christopher Columbus.

Sailboats were common and widely used during Columbus’ time period. There were no gasoline powered boats. Most sailboats relied on the wind, and at times this could cause a problem. Columbus solely relied on sailing with the wind. Most of the time, Columbus and his men would have to sail against the wind using a technique called beating. Doing this technique would mean that there might be some days without food.

Navigation and estimation were two important food determining factors for Columbus on his voyages. The menu for most Spanish seamen consisted of water, vinegar, wine, olive oil, molasses, cheese, honey, raisins, rice, garlic, almonds, sea biscuits, chickpeas, lentils, and beans. Most of the food was stored in wooden casks. The problem with this type of storage is leakage. If dry goods were contaminated with water, they would be ruined. A shortage of food would leave many of the crewmen hungry, and it would also be a waste of money for Columbus.

Columbus had little money. He pushed for funding from many kingdoms. On May 1, 1486, Queen Isabella rejected his idea, but granted him an annual annuity of 12000 maravedis to keep him on his campaign. Later on, Columbus made a contract with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. This contract gave him the rank of Admiral of the Sea, and it entitled him to 10 percent of all profits gained. They did not expect Columbus to return from is voyage.

Traveling many long months on the sea, many people had fallen sick. When Columbus and his crew arrived at America, they spread many diseases that the Native Americans were not immune to. This outbreak caused many deaths. Columbus also traded different foods with the Native Americans that may have caused them to become sick. Columbus’ crew also picked up many new diseases as well.

During most of Columbus’ voyage, he did not know where he was going. Columbus’ crew was both anxious and impatient. They pushed to move on. Many days were lost from changing waters and poor directions. Columbus was unaware of where he had arrived on 1502. He thought he had found the Indies, but instead he found America.

Christopher Columbus overcame many obstacles at sea. Wind resistance kept Columbus from traveling quickly. Today, ships are made more aerodynamic and they do not rely on the wind. Spoiled food was also a problem. Today, the refrigerator is used for storing food for extensive periods of time. Columbus’ crew and many Native Americans died from many unknown diseases. Diseases are treated by many vaccines discovered through medical science. Columbus also did not have an absolute navigational source, he only used his sense of direction and a map to guide him. Today’s sailors rely solely on navigation and communication technologies. Christopher Columbus was a great explorer. Sailing is a much easier task today, thanks to technological advances.