Explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 in the Republic of Genoa, Italy, but he sailed under the Spanish Flag. His first voyage into the Atlantic Ocean in 1476 nearly cost him his life.
He persevered in his quest to obtain backing for a second expedition to sail a small fleet of ships to search for a sea route to the Indies. In 1492 Columbus left Spain on the voyage that is credited for opening the Americas to European colonization after King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain finally gave Christopher Columbus the money and ships for his expedition.
His own flagship, the Santa Maria was fitted out in El Puerto de Santa Maria, located on the Guadalete River outlet, in the Bay of Cadiz.
The spot in El Puerto de Santa Maria that he sailed from is shown on the opposite page. Although the large fountain was constructed later, this is the spot where he collected the water for three ships and embarked on his famous journey. The Santa Maria was named after this location in Spain. The Pinta means the "Painted One" and was probably a nickname given to the ship. The Nina means "Girl" but was originally called the Santa Clara. Her nickname 'Nina' probably derives from her master, Juan Niño. All three of the ships were second-hand (if not third or more) and were not intended for exploration.
Four of the crewmen on the Christopher Columbus Ships were criminals who were offered amnesty in lieu of their volunteering to be a part of the voyage by the Spanish Crown.
Next we walked around in the Plaza De Colon (Colon is Spanish for Columbus) and admired this historic old square.
We also saw the statue of Juan de la Cosa. He drew the first world map (including the coast of the New World) in El Puerto de Santa Maria in 1500.
Juan de la Cosa was a Spanish navigator and cartographer, known for designing the earliest European world map that incorporated the territories of the Americas that were discovered in the 15th century. He played an important role in the first and second voyages Columbus to the West Indies, since he was the owner and captain of the Santa María.
Juan de la Cosa made the famous map of the world, the Mappa Mundi of 1500. It is the oldest known European cartographic representation of the New World. Of special interest is the outline of Cuba, which Christopher Columbus never believed to be an island.