History Time: On this day 1492 Christopher Columbus travels to America

On this day in 1492, the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus left Spain to sail across the Atlantic ocean. He thought he would find Asia, but instead he made the first European discovery of America…

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Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus is the name of a man most people know for his explorations during the 15th century. Columbus was an Italian explorer who was financed by the Spanish royalty to compete with the Portuguese in the “Age of Exploration”. During that era, ships sailing to Asia took long and dangerous routes. Explorers that were sent out to sea were also asked to find new lands and bring wealth back to the country they represented.

The Atlantic Ocean

Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean: 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502. On one voyage he was searching for India, and when he landed in America, he thought it was India and called the people “Indians.” The 15th and 16th centuries were together called the “Age of Exploration,” and with newly designed ships, many countries were sending explorers out to find spices, gold, and other items from Africa and Asia. Spain and Portugal led the way with the most ships and explorers and it was during this time that Christopher Columbus was given ships to sail to unknown territory to claim land for Spain.

Early Years 

He was born on October 31, 1451, in Genoa, Italy, and began sailing when he was just a teenager. Columbus was married to Felipa Moniz Perestrelo, in 1477 who later died while giving birth in 1485. In his early life, Columbus studied cartography, mathematics, astronomy, and navigation. These lessons were valuable for his future voyages.

Columbus had different ideas

The Portuguese had figured out a way to make the sailing route to Asia shorter, but Columbus had a different idea. He believed he could sail across the Atlantic instead of around the African Cape of Good Hope, and then he planned his voyages. Columbus thought that the people who calculated the circumference of the Earth were wrong. He thought it was smaller than the experts said and that an easier journey was possible. Soon he realised he was incorrect, but it did bring him to other successes. Columbus approached both the Portuguese and the English to accomplish his ideas, but only Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, monarchs of Spain were interested. Their goal was more land, riches, and expansion of the Catholic religion, and they believed that Columbus had the right ideas. Columbus made an agreement with the Spanish monarchs to keep ten percent of the riches he could find as well as having a Spanish noble title, and to be the governor of any lands that he discovered.

Discoveries in 1492

1492 is the famous year that Columbus launched the ships named the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, with the objective to find a shorter route to the East Indies. The first landing was on one of the islands in the Bahamas. Columbus and the three ships sailed for months from one island to the next in the Caribbean. At this point, they were searching for riches like gold, silver, precious stones and spices. By 1493 Columbus had to leave some of the men from the ships behind in a place they called Hispaniola; (today’s Haiti and the Dominican Republic) so he could return to Spain.

Detailed diary

Columbus kept a very detailed diary of the first voyage, writing about everything from daily life with the crew to animals they saw. The diary includes very racist impressions of local island people. Six months later Columbus began another voyage to America. His voyage to find riches was a failure but he brought 500 slaves back to Queen Isabella. To the surprise of Columbus, Isabella did not want to take the slaves as she thought these people were Spanish subjects.

What happened in 1498

By 1498 Columbus was on his third voyage and this time he stopped at the mainland of South America and Trinidad. When he sailed back to Hispaniola, the colonists had revolted and the native Taino population had all been killed. Columbus was arrested and returned to Spain in chains, where he was cleared of charges in 1502 but lost his noble title. The last voyage for the old Columbus took his ship to Panama, only miles from the Pacific Ocean. After storms damaged two of the four ships, he abandoned them and returned to Spain where he died in 1506.

 

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Christopher Columbus | Definitions Quiz

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Christopher Columbus | True or False Quiz

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Adapted from https://www.historyforkids.net/american-history/new-explorers/columbus.html

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5 British Summertime Traditions – English Language Reading Comprehension

As you know, the weather in the UK is not as good as in Italy. We usually don’t have nice sunny weather for even 2 weeks, never mind a whole summer! But regardless of that, summer still exists in the UK and we have some time-honoured traditions that we like to keep to during the warmer months. Here are 5 of the best ones…

Festivals

Britain is famous for its summer festival season. It’s a rite of passage for every teenager to attend their first festival with their friends. The most famous are Glastonbury and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The classic British music festival is a wonderful event. Picture thousands of small tents crammed together in fields stretching for miles and then huge stages where the most famous bands in the world come to play. It usually rains too at some point during the weekend which makes the experience uniquely British. Lots of fun but probably not a lot of sun!

Barbeques

As soon as a ray of sun shines through the clouds in the UK, people are on the phone to their friends inviting them for a good old barbeque! It doesn’t matter what kind of barbeque you have; from a top of the range £1000 grilling machine to a disposable one from the supermarket, everyone loves getting together to grill some meat, have a few drinks, playing some music and having a good time.

Street Parties

This is a funny one because I have never attended one, but apparently they are a tradition! Everyone can imagine the typical British summer scene with a huge long table in the street, families from all across the neighbourhood joining in to eat and drink together, and bunting with UK flags strung up across the street lights. Maybe it was more common in the past, but it is still a charming image.

A trip to the seaside

The UK is an island and we have a lot of coastline to enjoy. Before cheap package holidays and international travel became common, people used to flock to Britain’s many seaside towns for holidays. The most famous of these was Blackpool, with its amazing pleasure beach, complete with rollercoasters and arcades. Aside from that, Britain has many beautiful places to visit: from the charming coasts of North Wales to the simply stunning Cornish peninsula. The UK seaside is a great place to spend time, even if the weather isn’t good, and you can enjoy great ice cream, fish and chips and breath-taking views from these spots.

Complaining about the weather

Now this is a true British summer tradition! All year round people in the UK love to talk about the weather. It’s a classic conversation starter and a guaranteed topic of interest for any British person. After all, our climate is pretty strange. Anyway, as soon as summer comes around, and there is no sun to be seen, us Brits start complaining! Of course, it’s not fair that we only have a few days of sun while pretty much the rest of the world gets lots of sun. But then… when the sun finally arrives, we still can’t stop complaining!!! “It’s a bit too hot now isn’t it?” we tell each other from the minute the good weather arrives. Classic UK, classic summer tradition.

 

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British Summer Traditions | Definitions Quiz

Match the words to the correct definitions

British Summer Traditions | True or False

Decide if the statement is true or false