The Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, sailing to the New World.
The famed Italian navigator,
Christopher Columbus, set sail from Spain in the autumn of 1492
with the blessing (and funding) of King Ferdinand and Queen
Isabella, with three small ships (the Pinta, the Nina, and the
Santa Maria) and landed on the shores of the New World. Columbus is now believed to have first
stepped ashore on a small island in the cluster of islands known
today as the Bahamas. Before his death in 1506 he made three
more trips to the Americas, thinking, all the while, that he had
'discovered' a shorter route to the spice islands of the
At the time of his death, the
Spanish had colonized most of the large islands in the Caribbean,
including the modern day island nations of Cuba and the Dominican
Repubic, and claimed these lands for the Spanish King under the
Doctrine of Discovery. Within a few years of establishing
strongholds on these islands, millions of native people perished of
disease, battles, or the brutal conditions imposed by the Spanish
when they enslaved native populations.
The map depicted here was
drawn by Columbus and his brother, Bartholemew, in 1490.
Columbus named St. Barts, a French owned island in the
Caribbean, after his brother.