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In this pages we are going to talk about how Cristopher Colombus tried to convince the crown of Portugal and later,when the portuguese didn´t finance, to the crown of Castile and Aragon. For some years Christopher Colombus had insisted to other crowns, but no one believed that the Earth was round. Because of this, he went once again to the Crown of Castile and Aragon and the Catholic Monarchs finally decided to finance it.
You can also watch a great video explainig this ideas.

external image carabelita.jpg

All three signed a contract which named Christopher Colombus almirant and governor of the new territories( you can read more about it in the page "Capitulaciones de Santa Fe"). They prepared two caravels and a nao and food which was preserved for different reasons during the voyage. But if you want to know more about this (and more) you must read our pages. Enjoy it!

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Columbus asks for support

This page is very interesting:
Christopher Columbus was very sure that the earth was round and he wanted to perform his project to reach India (the spices land) sailing westward through the Atlantic ocean. His project consisted of finding a new and shorter trade route to Asia to obtain silk and spices.
First he tryed to convince the crown of portugal since they were very interested in spices.Christopher columbus was going to ask the Prince of Portugal but sadly he died. Columbus then waited till his haer, King John, that inherited the thrown and asked him. He turned him down because he didnt want to loose any money in something he thought stupid because he didnt believe the earth was round, so he told him he wasnt interested in his idea since he was already comited trading with asia by the sea route that passed trough the south of Africa and that if the earth was round it would take longer.


With bad luck he asked help to King John of Portugal, who liked Columbus´s idea, but priests and professors interposed controlling objections. The king however sent a caravel ostensibly with provisions for the Cape Verde Islands, but with secret instructions to the commander to pursue a course westward indicated by Columbus. The fears of the mariners caused them to turn back.
Columbus waited for seven years in the army as a volunteer while the Spanish monarchs were finishing the Reconquest. Meanwhile the King of Portugal had invited him to return, and Henry VII had also invited him, by letter, to come to the Court of England, giving him encouraging promises of aid. But Ferdinand and Isabella treated him kindly, and he remained in Spain until 1491, when he set out to lay his projects before Charles VIII of France.Queen Isabella wanted to sell her crown jewels to pay for the expedition. An agreement was signed by their Majesties and Columbus at Santa Fe, April 17, 1492, by which he and his heirs should forever have the office of admiral over all lands he might discover, with honors equal to those of Grand Admiral of Castile.


Preparations for the first voyage.

Money for the first voyage.

Christopher Columbus receaved around $630.000 for the expedition. Columbus's salary was around 415 euros a month. The wages of the sailors of the Santa Maria were: 5 wages of 2.000maravedies/month and 35 wages of 1.000maravedies/ month. The wages of the sailors of the Niña were: 6 wages of 2.000 maravedies/month and 19 wages of 1.000 maravedies/month. The wages of the sailors of the Pinta were: 6 wages of 2.000 maravedies/month and 19 wages of 1.000 maravedies/month. Columbus also receaved 6.375.000 maravadies from the Catholic Monarches which truely were from Luis de Santangel( protector of Columbus), and 500.000 maravedies from Abravancel( head of jewish society in tha Crown of Castile).
All this money add up 936.000 maravedies = $630.000.

Luis de Santangel

Columbus also receaved money from Alonso Pinzón's personal furniture.
The residents of Palos de Monger had to provide the weapons at their expense in ten days befor the first expedition of Columbus. And also they needed to contributed building two caravels of the three ships Columbus needed for his first voyage to the New World

First voyage's shipping

The Santa Maria was a nao of about 36m long and 3 masts. Its owner was Juan de la Cosa. It has a crew of 40 men, and it was commanded by Christopher Columbus. It was also called " La gallega " because it was built in Pontevedra, Galicia.

La Santa Maria

The Niña was a caravel commanded by Vicente Yáñez. It was built in Palos de Monger by its residents. It was around 45 feet long. They called it " Santa Clara " in honour to the monastery of Palos. Around 20 men sailed it.
La Niña

The Pinta was a caravel commanded Martín Aloso Pinzón. It was rented from Gomez Rascón and Cristobal Quintero. 26 sailors went in it. Francisco Pinzón was master of the Pinta. Martín Alonso Pinzón reached the 15 miles with this caravel.

La Pinta

Members of the crew

Four prisioner went on the voyage because of the ordered to put off the criminal causes of the prisioners who would take part in Columbus expedition until two months after the arriva from the expedition. The Catholic monarches decided to give their freedom inexchange for taking part in the expedition. However it was very dificult because people did't want to sail into unknown territories because of the riscks.

Finally ninety men came with Columbus into the first voyage. Five of the were prisoners and other four of them were foreigners. The Pinta was tripulated by 26 boatmen, 20 sailors sailed the Niña and 40 men tripulated the Santa Maria.
A doctor, a surgeon, a notary public and a interpreter who knew a Arab and a Hebrew also went into the expedition.
The majority of the crew were from the Andalusian coasts, also were three Italian traders, same marines from the Basque Country and Galicia, one Portuguese takes part of the expedition.

Rodrigo de Triana also went in the expedition. He went as lookout in the watchout of the Pinta. He was the first one in spotting America.

Monument of Rodrigo de Triana in Seville

Juan de la Cosa went in the first voyage of Christopher Columbus. He is known because he drew the most ancient mapamundi in which the Americas are shown. He was the owner of La Santa Maria.


Help from the franciscans

Juan Perez was one of the two Castilian franciscans of the XV-XVI century, who bealonged to La Rabida monastery. He helped Colombus and supported his ideas to the Crown of Portugal( 1484-859) and to the Crow of Castile and of Aragón(1491).
Antonio de Marchena was the other Castilian franciscan of the XV-XVI century who bealonged to the convent of La Rábida, and was a great astronomer of those days .He helped a lot Christopher Columbus in the support of his ideas.

Picture of Antonio de Marcheda and Columbus in La Rábida monastery(1485)

Thanks to the Franciscans help Columbus met the Pinzón brothers . They were three brothers: Martín Alonso Pinzón, Francisco Martín and Vicente Yáñez. The threeof them took part of Columbus's expedition. Martín Alonsa Pinzón and Vicente Yáñez were capitans of the caravels La Pinta( Martin Alonso) and La Niña ( Vicente Yáñez) but the third brother lesser-known Francisco Martín, was aboard the Pinta as its master.

Trips nourishment

Cristopher Colombus took food that preserved well during the voyage or, at least, until they ate it. Some food was: rice, seabiscuits, olive oil, honey, cheese,...

In each ship, during the days they fast, sailors used to receive fish, usually salt cod; vinegar; oil, six ounces of chickpea; bread and water as all the days and if there wasn't salt cod they received four ounces of chees.

Salt cod

During the days that they didn´t pray they received meat insted of salt cod.

Food storage in the cargo of the first voyage

But when fresh fruits and vegetables run out, a desease came: scurvy. It consiste on that your gums swallow and you cannot eat, so you die.
Some other symptoms that it caused:

  • anorexia
  • hemorrhages
  • weakness


They took different navigational instruments for the different circumstances that could occur in their voyage in search of the spices.
The navigational instuments that they prepared were:

Cross staff: Were used to calculate distances.

Astrolabes: Was an instrument used by astronomers to travel in the night orientating themselves with the celestial bodies in the sky.

Astrolabe of the 15· century

Marine Chronometres: Were used to keep track of time.

Hourglasses: Were clocks that worked with sand.

Nautic hourglass

Compasses: Were and are an orientation device that indicates north, south, east and west.

Ancient compass

Ancient Maps: Were two dimensional drawings that showed territories.

Portulan Maps: Were maps used to indicate available ports, known lands and the best places to sail.

The oldest nautic portulan charts of the 14· century.

Quadrants: Were instruments used to measure angles up to 90°.

18· century islamic quadrant


Columbus aks for help
Trips´s Shipping
Crews´ Nourishment

Sources C3% ADa C3% B1a |