As a boy in Genoa, Christopher Columbus decided that he would never follow the weaver’s trade of his father. He wanted to be a sea captain instead. After one sea trip as a cabin boy, however, young Christopher realized that he would have to do a great deal of studying to be more than a common seaman and so he returned to school. Finally, when he was twenty, he and his brother Bartholomew left home to make their fortunes.
Christopher went to sea and eventually became the captain of a trading boat. After a wreck in which he was cast ashore near Lisbon, Portugal, he settled down for a while until he got the extraordinary idea of trying to reach the Far East by sailing west. He tried to interest the king of Portugal in his plan, but the court nobles were in such violent opposition to him that he finally had to flee to Spain. In Spain he was more lucky and was granted an audience with Queen Isabella, who promised to help him at the conclusion of the Moorish wars. After many years Columbus was finally able to buy three ships—the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria—and set forth to find a new way to the fabulous land of Marco Polo.
Here is a vivid retelling by Nina Brown Baker of the life of the almost legendary figure of Christopher Columbus, who accidentally discovered America in his attempt to find a new route to the Far East.
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