Christopher Colombus started his first voyage to asia the east part of the world,to explore and discovering new routes for spices. The 3rd of August of 1492 at 8 o clock, colombus and his crew departed from Castilian "Palos de la frontera (Huelva)". Colon and the three ships: the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa Maria. This ships were property of Juan de la Cosa and Pinzón brothers (Martin Alonso Pinzon and Vicente Yañez Pinzon).They were Spanish mariners, Vicente was the captian of the ship the Niña and Martin was the captian of the ship the pinta and Juan de la Cosa was a cartographer, he did maps. First Colon needed to go to Canary Island (that were governed by the Crown of Castille) to take food, drink water and made repairs. On September 6th he departed to San Sebastian de la Gomera for what turned out to be a voyage of five weeks across to the ocean, more or less with 90 people (3 doctors, 6 priest people of maps, people of the ships, the captain, the conquistadors)

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Problems in the journey

Three days into the journey, the rudder of the ship the Pinta become broken, rendering the ship disabled, the owners of the ship Gomez Rascon and Quintero were suspected of sobatage. The captain of the pinta, Martin Alonso was able to secure the rudders with cords until the Canary Island could be reached on August of 1492, here the fleet repaired the Pinta and the Niña.

On the 8th of september of 1492, Colombus observed that his needle of his compass no longer pointed to the North start a phenomenom that never had passed in Europe.The needle of his compass instead had varied a half point to the Northwest and continued to vary further as the journey progressed. His reputataion as a profound astronomer held weigthwith the crew and his theory alleviated the alarm.

Sighting of land

After 29 days out of sight of land on October of 1492 the crew spotted flocks of birds, some of which his saliors determined to be probably fields birds.Land was sighted on 2 a.m. on October of 1492 by a salior of the Pinta ship Rodrigo de Triana, Colombus called them San Salvador, in the present days the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos. The indigenous residents had already named it Guanahani.The indigenous people he found in their homelands were peaceful and friendly. At the time of European Discovery of most of the islands in Caribbean, three major Native America indigenous people lives in the islands: The Taino in the Greater Antilles, The Bahamas and the Leeward islands. Galibi in the Windward Islands and Guadaloupe and Ciboney and Guanahatabey of central and western Cuba. The Tainos are subdivided into classic tainos who occupied Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, western tainos who occupied Cuba and Jamaica, and the eastern Tainos who occupied the Leewards islands. Trinidad was inhabited by both Carib speaking and arawak groups. Most of the modern Central American was part of the Mesoamerican civilization, the Native Americans Societies of Mesoamerican occupied the land ranging from Central Mexico in the north to Costa Rica in the south.

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Colon also explored the northeast of Cuba and Hispaniola by 5 December. In this lands Colon left 39 men and founded the settlement "La Navidad" but when he returned the natives killed all the people and destroyed the settlement. They also founded the Samana Peninsula. On the year 1493 Colon returned to Spain, he took 25 natives people from Dominican Republic, but only 7 or 9 natives survived, Santa Maria had to be abandoned. The 15 of March 1493 Colon and the crew ( only 30 or 20 persons survived) arrived Spain.He had found to the cort,as well as the previusly unknown tobacco plant, pineaple plant and some spices like: peppers, ginger, cloves and chilipeppers; and the sailors first love: hammock

Life aboard ship

Columbus' crew worked in four hour shifts measured by eight turns of the half hour sandglasses. Their duties included pumping
bilge, cleaning the deck, working the sails and checking the ropes and cargo. When they were off duty, they slept anywhere they could find space. Columbus himself often spent days without sleep. Only the captain had private quarters, the rest of the crew didn't have them.

Sailors' lives were hard, and they often died from disease, hunger, and thirst. Religion was the central focus of their lives, and they began every day with prayers and hymns and ended with religious services in the evenings. The crew received one hot meal a day, cooked over an open fire in a sandbox on deck. Their diet consisted of ship's biscuit, pickled or salted meat, dried peas, cheese, wine, and fresh fish.

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Diary of the first voyage

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Thursday, 9 of August. The Admiral did not succeed in reaching the island of Gomera till Sunday night. Martin Alonzo remained at Grand Canary by command of the Admiral, he being unable to keep the other vessels company. The Admiral afterwards returned to Grand Canary, and there with much labor repaired the Pinta, being assisted by Martin Alonzo and the others; finally they sailed to Gomera. They saw a great eruption of names from the Peak of Teneriffe, a lofty mountain. The Pinta, which before had carried latine sails, they altered and made her square-rigged. Returned to Gomera, Sunday, 2 September, with the Pinta repaired.

Sunday, 9 of September. Sailed this day nineteen leagues, and determined to count less than the true number, that the crew might not be dismayed if the voyage should prove long. In the night sailed one hundred and twenty miles, at the rate of ten miles an hour, which make thirty leagues. The sailors steered badly, causing the vessels to fall to leeward toward the northeast, for which the Admiral reprimanded them repeatedly

Monday, 10 of September. This day and night sailed sixty leagues, at the rate of ten miles an hour, which are two leagues and a half. Reckoned only forty-eight leagues, that the men might not be terrified if they should be long upon the voyage.

Tuesday, 11 of September. Steered their course west and sailed above twenty leagues; saw a large fragment of the mast of a vessel, apparently of a hundred and twenty tons, but could not pick it up. In the night sailed about twenty leagues, and reckoned only sixteen, for the cause above stated.

Sunday, of 16 September. Sailed day and night, west thirty-nine leagues, and reckoned only thirty-six. Some clouds arose and it drizzled. The Admiral here says that from this time they experienced very pleasant weather, and that the mornings were most delightful, wanting nothing but the melody of the nightingales. He compares the weather to that of Andalusia in April. Here they began to meet with large patches of weeds very green, and which appeared to have been recently washed away from the land; on which account they all judged themselves to be near some island, though not a continent, according to the opinion of the Admiral, who says, "the continent we shall find further ahead."

Monday, of 17 September. Steered west and sailed, day and night, above fifty leagues; wrote down only forty-seven; the current favored them. They saw a great deal of weed which proved to be rockweed, it came from the west and they met with it very frequently. They were of opinion that land was near. The pilots took the sun's amplitude, and found that the needles varied to the northwest a whole point of the compass; the seamen were terrified, and dismayed without saying why. The Admiral discovered the cause, and ordered them to take the amplitude again the next morning, when they found that the needles were true; the cause was that the star moved from its place, while the needles remained stationary. At dawn they saw many more weeds, apparently river weeds, and among them a live crab, which the Admiral kept, and says that these are sure signs of land, being never found eighty leagues out at sea. They found the sea-water less salt since they left the Canaries, and the air more mild. They were all very cheerful, and strove which vessel should outsail the others, and be the first to discover land; they saw many tunnies, and the crew of the Nina killed one. The Admiral here says that these signs were from the west, "where I hope that high God in whose hand is all victory will speedily direct us to land." This morning he says he saw a white bird called a water- wagtail, or tropic bird, which does not sleep at sea.

Wednesday, 19 of September. Continued on, and sailed, day and night, twenty- five leagues, experiencing a calm. It drizzled without wind, which is a sure sign of land. The Admiral was unwilling to remain here, beating about in search of land, but he held it for certain that there were islands to the north and south, which in fact was the case and he was sailing in the midst of them. His wish was to proceed on to the Indies, having such fair weather, for if it please God, as the Admiral says, we shall examine these parts upon our return. Here the pilots found their places upon the chart: the reckoning of the Nina made her four hundred and forty leagues distant from the Canaries, that of the Pinta four hundred and twenty, that of the Admiral four hundred.

Thursday, 20 of September. Steered west by north, varying with alternate changes of the wind and calms.Saw large quantities of weeds today, though none was observed yesterday. Caught a bird similar to a grajao; it was a river and not a marine bird, with feet like those of a gull.
Friday, 21 of September. Most of the day calm, afterwards a little wind. Steered their course day and night, sailing less than thirteen leagues. In the morning found such abundance of weeds that the ocean seemed to be covered with them; they came from the west.

Saturday, 22 of September. Steered about west-northwest varying their course, and making thirty leagues' progress. Saw few weeds. Some pardelas were seen, and another bird.

Sunday, 23 of September. Sailed northwest and northwest by north and at times west nearly twenty-two leagues. Saw a turtle dove, a pelican, a river bird, and other white fowl;--weeds in abundance with crabs among them. The sea being smooth and tranquil, the sailors murmured, saying that they had got into smooth water, where it would never blow to carry them back to Spain; but afterwards the sea rose without wind, which astonished them.

Tuesday, 25 of September. Very calm this day; afterwards the wind rose. Continued their course west till night. The Admiral held a conversation with Martin Alonzo Pinzon, captain of the Pinta, respecting a chart which the Admiral had sent him three days before, in which it appears he had marked down certain islands in that sea; Martin Alonzo was of opinion that they were in their neighborhood, and the Admiral replied that he thought the same.

Wednesday, 26 September. Continued their course west till the afternoon, then southwest and discovered that what they had taken for land was nothing but clouds. Sailed, day and night, thirty- one leagues; reckoned to the crew twenty-four. The sea was like a river, the air soft and mild.
Sunday, 30 September. Continued their course west and sailed day and night in calms. Four tropic birds came to the ship, which is a very clear sign of land, for so many birds of one sort together show that they are not straying about, having lost themselves

Monday, 1 October. Experienced a heavy shower.The pilot of the Admiral began to fear this morning that they were five hundred and seventy-eight leagues west of the island of Ferro. The short reckoning which the Admiral showed his crew gave five hundred and eighty-four, but the true one which he kept to himself was seven hundred and seven leagues.

Saturday, 6 October. Continued their course west and sailed forty leagues day and night; reckoned to the crew thirty-three. This night Martin Alonzo gave it as his opinion that they had better steer from west to southwest. The Admiral thought from this that Martin Alonzo did not wish to proceed onward to Cipango; but he considered it best to keep on his course, as he should probably reach the land sooner in that direction, preferring to visit the continent first, and then the islands.

Sunday, 7 October. Continued their course west and sailed twelve miles an hour, for two hours, then eight miles an hour.At sunrise the caravel Nina, who kept ahead on account of her swiftness in sailing, while all the vessels were striving to outsail one another, and gain the reward promised by the King and Queen by first discovering land--hoisted a flag at her mast head, and fired a lombarda, as a signal that she had discovered land, for the Admiral had given orders to that effect. He had also ordered that the ships should keep in close company at sunrise and sunset, as the air was more favorable at those times for seeing at a distance.

Monday, 8 October Found the sea like the river at Seville, "thanks to God," says the Admiral. The air soft as that of Seville in April, and so fragrant that it was delicious to breathe it. The weeds appeared very fresh. Many land birds, one of which they took, flying towards the southwest; also grajaos, ducks, and a pelican were seen.

Tuesday, 9 October. when the wind changed, and they stood west by north four leagues. Sailed in the whole day and night, twenty leagues and a half; reckoned to the crew seventeen. All night heard birds passing.

Wednesday, 10 October. Here the men lost all patience, and complained of the length of the voyage, but the Admiral encouraged them in the best manner he could, representing the profits they were about to acquire,they had nothing to do but continue on to the Indies.

Thursday, 11 October. Saw pardelas and a green rush near the vessel. The crew of the Pinta saw a cane and a log; they also picked up a stick which appeared to have been carved with an iron tool, a piece of cane, a plant which grows on land, and a board. The crew of the Nina saw other signs of land.The land was first seen by a sailor called Rodrigo de Triana, although the Admiral at ten o'clock that evening standing on the quarter-deck saw a light, but so small a body that he could not affirm it to be land; calling to Pero Gutierrez, groom of the King's wardrobe, he told him he saw a light, and bid him look that way, which he did and saw it; he did the same to Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, whom the King and Queen had sent with the squadron as comptroller, but he was unable to see it from his situation.

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Only 2 ships returned to spain, which were the Pinta and the Niña. The first ship that came back was the Pinta on the 2nd of March of 1493 in Bayona (Vigo). The other ship came back the 4th of March of 1493, some days later, the two ships came back to "Palos de la Frontera (Huelva)" on the 15th of March of 1493. During the last days of the first voyage one of the Pinzon brothers died: Martin Alonso Pinzón.

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This is the map of the first voyage:

Ver first voyage of colon 1492 en un mapa más grande