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Christopher Columbus was an Italian-Spanish navigator who sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a route to Asia but achieved fame by making landfall instead in the Caribbean Sea Columbus was born in Genoa Italy His father was a weaver and it is believed that Christopher entered this trade as a young man In the mid-1470s he made his first trading voyage to the island of Khos in the Aegean Sea In 1476 he sailed with a convoy bound for England Legend has it that the fleet was attacked by pirates off the coast of Portugal where Columbuss ship was sunk but he swam to shore and took refuge in Lisbon Settling there where his brother Bartholomew Columbus was working as a cartographer he was married in 1479 to the daughter of the governor of the island of Porto Santo Diego Columbus the only child of this marriage was born in 1480 Based on information acquired during his travels and by reading and studying charts and maps Christopher concluded that the earth was 25 percent smaller than was previously thought and composed mostly of land On the basis of these faulty beliefs he decided that Asia could be reached quickly by sailing west In 1484 he submitted his theories to John II king of Portugal petitioning him to finance a westward crossing of the Atlantic Ocean His proposal was rejected by a royal maritime commission because of his miscalculations Soon after Columbus moved to Spain where his plans won the support of several influential persons and he secured an introduction in 1486 to Isabella I queen of Castile Columbus met Beatriz Enriquez who became his mistress and the mother of his second son Ferdinand Columbus In Spain as in Portugal a royal commission rejected his plan Columbus continued to seek support however and in April 1492 his persistence was rewarded Ferdinand V king of Castile and Queen Isabella agreed to sponsor the expedition
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