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Amazing Journeys, Disgusting Food and a Bad End

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451, began his career as a seafarer at the age of fourteen and eventually joined his brother in a mapmaking business.

Columbus believed that he could find an easier way to get to Asia and set out to find people to support his voyages. In 1492 Queen Isabella of Spain finally agreed to help him and he could finally begin his explorations.


Fun Facts:
What did they eat on these voyages? They were at sea for months at a time; there were no refrigerators, no electricity. Here’s your shipboard menu aboard the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria… 
• Ship’s Biscuits, hard, tasteless and includes a full serving of bread beetles!
• Salted or Pickled Meat, delicious once you scrape the mold off…
• Cheese, more mold!
• Fish, caught shipside – may or may not be edible. It’s an adventure on a plate!

 While Columbus did “discover” (for Europeans) many Caribbean islands and areas in South and Central America he never actually stepped foot on the land that is now the United States.
By the time Columbus was taking his last voyages to Central and South America his health was terrible. When landing in Venezuela he had to stay on the ship. Here’s why from the book How They Croaked: the Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous,

“…his vision was blurry and spotted with dark blobs, and he was hunched over with arthritis. His hands looked like claws, and the sunlight aggravated his swollen, bleeding eyes.”

You read that right - Bleeding Eyes! Then to top it off, he caught malaria.
All of this sounds awful but Columbus wanted to go on sailing and exploring. He eventually made it back to Spain where he spent the rest of his days in a monastery,
Christopher Columbus died on May 20, 1506 – he was only 54 years old.

To add insult to injury, Columbus was mostly forgotten after his death. Another man, Amerigo Vespucci, took credit for discovering the New World even though he sailed to the New World many years later. It took about 300 years before Columbus got the credit he deserved for his voyages.


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