JAKARTA - On May 20, 1506, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain. It is thought Columbus died of severe arthritis. Columbus's death was met with news of poverty that plagued him.
Before he died of a disease, Columbus had felt healed. He then traveled and found a shorter route to Asia.
Quoting the Biography, Columbus' last trip was in 1502. He traveled along the east coast of Central America in search of a route to the Indian Ocean.
The exploration failed. The storm destroyed one of his ships, leaving its captain and sailor stranded on The Island of Cuba.
During this time, locals who were tired of the mistreatment and obsession of Spaniards for gold refused to give them food. At that time Columbus had an almanac composed by Abraham Zacuto and told the islanders that there would be an eclipse on February 29, 1504.
The lunar eclipse was alarming enough for natives to rebuild trade with the Spaniards. A rescue company finally arrived, sent by the governor of Hispaniola kingdom.
Columbus and his men were brought back to Spain in November 1504. For the rest of his life--after his final trip to America, Columbus struggled to recover his lost title.
Columbus had been charged with abuse of authority as governor. He and his two brothers were jailed for six weeks before being released.
A short time later, they were summoned to court to listen to the defense. In 1502, Columbus was finally acquitted of all charges.
However, Columbus lost his knighthood and his position as Governor of the West Indies. Although he regained a portion of his fortune in May 1505, his title was never returned.
Did Columbus really die in poverty?
Many reports say Columbus died in poverty. Indeed, Columbus was not a wealthy man when he died. But he's also not poor.
Columbus had a comfortable residence in Valladolid, Crown of Castile, Spain. Since his release from prison, Columbus had denied profiting from the discovery promised to him by Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
However, after his death, his family sued the kingdom. The lawsuit is known as Pleitos columbinos or Colombian lawsuit, which lasted nearly 20 years.
Columbus' heirs eventually secured a large amount of property and other wealth from the kingdom. Most European navigators understood in the late 15th century, before his death, that Columbus had discovered islands and large lands they did not know about.
Columbus was the first European to explore America since the Vikings established colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century. He explored the West Indies, South America, and Central America.
Little is known about Columbus's early life. But he worked as a sailor and then a screen entrepreneur.
He became obsessed with pioneering the western sea route to Cathay (China), India, and the island that had the famous gold and spices in Asia. At the time, Europeans did not know the direct sea route to South Asia, and the route through Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire, as did many land routes.
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