We all know the classic rhyme "In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." But for many of us, our knowledge of Columbus falters after that. Here are a few facts to build your Columbus acumen.
1. Columbus made four trips to the Americas.
2. Money was tight. Columbus had to "shop around" for someone to finance his grand expedition to find the "Orient." Before landing a backer in Queen Isabella of Castile, he made requests to King John II of Portugal and Henry II of England.
3. It's likely that Columbus first landed on Watling Island in the Bahamas, calling it San Salvador.
4. He wasn't the only one who believed the Earth was round. Most educated Europeans did NOT presume that the earth was flat, but they did underestimate the circumference of the globe.
5. On one of his voyages, Columbus and his crew were stranded on Jamaica for about year before being rescued.
6. Columbus' second voyage to the Americas carried some 1,500 "colonists."
7. Pigs, modern horses, and cattle came to the Americas with Columbus' journeys.
8. Columbus never actually landed in North America. He did explore many islands as well as the Central and South American coastlines.
9. At age 53, Columbus came back to spain as a prisoner, accused of atrocities. He was jailed for six weeks before being set free.
10. Columbus' father ran a tavern. (Enough said).
>> Read more about Chris Columbus via Smithsonian Magazine.