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DATE: SUBJECT: Individuals and Societies TEACHER: Carolina Kammann

TOPIC: Christopher Columbus Reading Activity TRIMESTER: 1

OBJECTIVE: A to know and understand: D to think critically


Christopher Columbus
He was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451, as the oldest of five children. His
father was a wool weaver and Christopher worked in the family
business. When Christopher was 14 years old, he started his
oceangoing career. At the age of 23 he was hired for the first
time as a sailor. He traveled many times and learnt many
things; this knowledge made him a great navigator.

At this time, people weren’t so clear about how to measure

distances in maps. Columbus thought the world was a lot smaller
than it really is. Because of this he thought it was possible to reach the
Indies with a new route to the west.

First Voyage (1492): After 36 days at sea, Columbus and his fleet arrived to an American island but they
thought it was India.

They passed by some islands and settled in Hispaniola. They built a fort called “La Navidad” and 39
Spaniards stayed in the first European settlement.

Columbus and the rest of his crew went back to Spain to be sponsored again for a larger expedition to
the Indies. He promised to bring back loads of gold, spices and other stuff.

The kings made him governor of the new lands and named hum Admiral of the Ocean Sea.

Second voyage (1493): Columbus sailed to the Indies with a crew of 1200 colonists.

They arrived to Hispaniola and realized that the natives had killed the Spaniards and burned the fort.
Natives took revenge because of the Spaniards’ abuses.

Columbus ordered to build a new fort and allowed colonists to make slaves of the natives.
Third voyage: Columbus went back to Spain because the kings were concerned about the violent
events. He managed to smooth things over with the kings and they accept on the third voyage.

In 1498 the Spanish kings gave Columbus 6 more ships. The tense situation between the natives and
colonists continued to get worse, and Columbus was held responsible. The kings stripped off his title
and sent him to prison in Spain. There nothing Columbus could do. He spent the next two years in
disgrace, thinking he would never again see the lands he thought were the Indies.

Fourth voyage: many people (not Columbus) believed that the lands he had found were not the Indies.
The king and queen thought that the new lands might not be too far from the Indies. That is why
Columbus sailed again in 1502.

The kings asked him not to pass by Hispaniola where he was no longer welcomed. They told him to find
both riches and a water channel to China (kings didn’t know it was far, far away).

Columbus sailed again to the new world with a fleet of four ships. He got some riches in Panama and
then got to Jamaica. He got shipwrecked and they had to spend about a year until a Spanish ship
rescued them.

Back to Spain in 1504, with no fame and possibilities of sailing again, Columbus believed he had sailed
to the Indies. He died less than two years later.

Abuse (n.): mistreatment, especially in a cruel or violent way.

Admiral (n.): a very high-ranking officer in a navy.

Channel (n.): a wide passage of water that connects two larger bodies of water.

Colonists (n.): people who lived in a colony or are founders of a new colony.

Disgrace (n.): a loss of respect as a result of having done something dishonorable.

Fleet (n.): a group of ships or other vehicles operating under one commander or owner.

Navigator (n.): a person who plots a course to arrive at an intended destination.

New World (n.): north and south America, especially in relation to early exploration.

Route (n.): a path or road from one place to another.

Settlement (n.): a new place where people live.

Slaves (n.): people who are legally owned and completely controlled by another person.

Voyage (n.): a long trip or journey, especially on a ship.

Wool weaver: a person whose job is to elaborate fabrics or cloth.


1- Fill in the circle the correct answer for each question.

1 3 5

2- Choose a synonym and an antonym for each word from the box. Put a check mark by each word
after you check your answers in a thesaurus.
3- Write a short summary with the correct information. Make sure the information you write is coherent to the years of the timeline.

Second voyage.

He returned to
Hispaniola, saw no
fort and no

Ordered to build a
new fort and
allowed Spaniards
to make slave of
the indigenous.

1451 1492 1493 1498 1502 1506

4- Draw what you visualized in your mind for the events indicated above each box.
First voyage Second voyage

Third voyage Fourth Voyage