Christopher Columbus

New Catholic Dictionary illustration of Christopher ColumbusArticle

Discoverer of the New World. While quite young he became a mariner and acquired a knowledge of astronomy. About 1471 he arrived in Portugal and vainly endeavored to interest the king in his plan for reaching the Far East by sailing westward. He went to Spain, in 1485 or 1486, where his project was rejected by Ferdinand, who was then engaged in a war with the Moors. Finally in January 1492, Columbus interested the Franciscan Juan Perez, Prior of La Rabida, confessor of Queen Isabella. The latter supported his plan and by April, 1492, the expedition was definitely arranged. The Santa Maria, Pinta, and Nina, with 120 men and Columbus as admiral, sailed from Palos on 3 August 1492. He sighted land on 11 October at 2 A.M., having descried a light four hours before; and shortly after, Columbus landed on an island he named San Salvador, now Watling’s Island in the Bahamas. Having discovered Cuba and Haiti, where he established the colony of La Navidad, he returned with the news to Palos in March 1493. Six months later, he made a second journey, visiting the Caribbean Islands, Jamaica, and Haiti, where the first Mass was celebrated 8 December 1493, by Father Perez who accompanied him. Starting on a third voyage 30 May 1498 he explored Madeira, the Canary Islands, Trinidad, and the South American mainland. Because of sedition in the Haitian colony, he was sent in chains by Ferdinand’s agent to Cadiz, 1500, where the Spanish sovereigns indignantly released him. In May, 1502, Columbus, commencing a fourth journey, visited Honduras, sailed along the Central and South American coast, and returned to Seville, 7 November 1504. The explorer’s primary object was the conversion of the pagans he discovered. He brought priests with him and even established a convent, of which Father Perez was the guardian, at Santo Domingo.



  • 1506 in Valladolid, Spain of natural causes

Additional Information

MLA Citation

  • “Christopher Columbus”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 December 2016. Web. 15 June 2021. <>