Columbus, the Man
Christopher Columbus is a mysterious man in many ways. No one is absolutely sure about his origins—where he was born—and on the other end, no one is sure about where he is buried.
We know that Christopher Columbus was Italian and most history books claim he was born in the Republic of Genoa, Italy in 1451. Genoa was in Liguria at the time, a northwestern territory snuggled on the Mediterranean coast near the South of France, a bustling city of trade and port-of-call –a place where ships docked—and today, a popular cruise ship destination. Because of this, Columbus would have spoken many languages including Ligurian, Portuguese, Latin, Spanish and maybe even Catalan.
Christopher’s birth name was Cristoforo and his father, Domenico Colombo was an apprenticed wool weaver since age 11, eventually becoming a master weaver. His mother Susanna Fontanarossa had four other children. Columbus was expected to become a weaver as well, and indeed worked in the trade.
However, a 1501 letter housed in the Provincial Archive in Genoa states in his own writing, “From a very early age, I entered sailing upon the sea and have continued it until today." This attitude was probably facilitated by his learning to become a mapmaker in a chart-making shop in Lisbon, Portugal—a great seafaring city—along with his two younger brothers. More importantly, between the ages of 10 and 14, he made his first voyage and by age 20, was sailing to France and Tunisia. Later, he sailed to Greece and Turkey.