Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was a navigator, colonizer, and explorer from Genoa who unintentionally landed in the Americas when he tried to reach the East Indies by sailing west from Spain. His legacy is mixed and controversial. Some historians credit him for opening up the Americas for European colonization with the first of his four expeditions. This expedition, his most famous, was his journey across the Atlantic with three ships, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. There is, however, heated debate regarding the ongoing annual celebrations of Columbus’ accomplishments in various countries. His severe rule resulted in the depopulation of the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic); the exploitation and mistreatment of native peoples through forced labor, slavery, and deliberate mutilation; and the destruction of indigenous cultures through forced conversion to Catholicism. Because of his brothers’ alleged mismanagement of the Hispaniola settlement, Columbus was stripped of his titles and died penniless.


  • Title: Christopher Columbus
  • Creator: Frederico Vigil
  • Location: Albuquerque, NM

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