From the author of Over the Edge of the World
Columbus, the Four Voyages - by Laurence Bergreen

How much do you really know about Christopher Columbus? Click on each question to reveal its answer...the answers may surprise you.


Where did Columbus believe that the entrance to paradise was located? Why couldn't he get there?

To the north and east of Venezuela.  He thought reaching paradise would require sailing uphill, which he was not willing to do.


What is the Columbian Exchange? How does it affect us today?

An exchange of plants, animals, germs, and culture between the Old World and New, first facilitated by Columbus's four voyages. In the ensuing centuries, they have transformed the landscape, diet, and history of both continents. This phenomenon was originally identified by Alfred Crosby in the 1970s.


What did "The Voice of God" confide in Columbus?

That the Admiral had a special destiny assigned by God and would enjoy divine protection.


What relative of Columbus was his first biographer?

His younger son, Ferdinand, who also went along on the Fourth Voyage.


Why did Amerigo Vespucci receive credit for Columbus's discoveries?

Because early mapmakers assigned his name to the newly-discovered continent. Only a few years later, European cartographers realized their mistake, but it was too late - the name "America" was already established in the public mind.


How did Columbus persuade the indigenous people of Jamaica that he had supernatural powers?

By consulting his navigational guides to "cause" a lunar eclipse that terrified his audience.


Why did an estimated 50,000 Indians commit suicide after Columbus's arrival in the New World?

In protest over the Spanish occupying their lands, impregnating their women, and in effect stealing their future.


How did Columbus navigate?

By dead reckoning.  His attempts at celestial navigation, using the instruments available to him, proved to be frustratingly inaccurate.


Why did Columbus make his crew, including boys, swear on pain of death that Cuba was part of the mainland rather than an island?

To eliminate the growing evidence that Cuba, as an island, was actually part of a newly-discovered world, not a promontory of the India that Columbus sought and promised to claim for Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.


What 6 prominent features in the New York City area are named after Columbus?

Columbia University
Columbus Avenue
Columbus Circle
Columbus Monument
Columbus Square
Columbus Triangle
Columbus Park (New Jersey)

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