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Fun Facts About Christopher Columbus for Columbus Day

Though Columbus Day isn’t the biggest and most well-known holiday of the nation, it still holds a special place in the city of Columbus, Ohio. From the city’s namesake to the day of discovery, Christopher Columbus has attracted annual attention for his famous voyages to the New World. And with the holiday fast approaching, we felt it fitting to highlight a few fun, interesting facts about the man for whom Columbus, OH is named after.

Christopher Columbus

Interesting Facts about Christopher Columbus

1. Columbus’ Greatest Difficulty was Finding His Crew

It wasn’t easy to get the money or the ships for Columbus’ voyage, but it was even harder to find a crew. Many people still believed that the earth was flat and if they sailed in Columbus’ direction, they would fall off a waterfall and into unknowing doom.

2. Columbus Never Stepped Foot on North America

Even though Columbus made 3 return trips to the west, he never actually stepped foot on the mainland of North America.

3. Three Countries Refused to Bankroll Columbus’ Voyage

For nearly a decade, he lobbied European monarchies to bankroll his quest to find an alternate route to Asia. Portugal, England, and France all said no. Experts told him his calculations were wrong and the voyage would take much longer than expected. Spain eventually said yes to his voyage, but Columbus was wrong in his calculations.

4. The Actual Names of Columbus’ Ships

The Nina and Pinta were not the actual names of two of Columbus’ 3 ships. Back then, Spanish ships were named after their saints. Sailors, however, bestowed less-than-sacred nicknames on the vessels they sailed. The Pinta was Spanish for “the painted one” or “prostitute.” The Santa Clara was nicknamed the Nina in honor of its owner, Juan Nino.

5. A Lunar Eclipse Saved Columbus’ Life

A lunar eclipse most likely saved Columbus’ life in February, 1504. Abandoned by half his crew and stranded on Jamaica, the islanders refused to offer him food. He was in desperate straits, however he was trained explorer. Knowing from the almanac that a lunar eclipse was coming on Feb. 29, 1504, Columbus warned the islanders that his god was upset with their refusal to feed him. He told them that the moon would “rise inflamed with wrath” as an expression of displeasure from the gods. Just on the night he foretold, the eclipse darkened the moon and turned it red. Terrified islanders offered Columbus food and asked him for their forgiveness.

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