Columbus' third voyage began in 1498. His intent was to find the mainland of China and claim it for Spain. On July 31, a pleasant island with three majestic mountains came into view, which Columbus named Trinidad (Trinity). A few days later, the Spaniards set foot on the continent of South America. They found four fresh rivers flowing into the sea. Could they have found the Garden of Eden? They thought they had. Suffering from arthritis, Columbus went to Santo Domingo (the new fort on Hispaniola), for a rest. The Spaniards on Hispaniola were still very rebellious, and in the summer of 1500, a new Chief Justice named Bobadill arrived. When he landed he saw seven dead Spaniards that Columbus had hung. Quickly Bobadill had Columbus arrested, put in chains, and sent to Spain. The skipper of the ship offered to release Christopher but Columbus refused, wishing to be freed by the monarchs. When Ferdinand and Isabella learned of Columbus being in chains, they ordered his liberation at once informing him that they never ordered Bobadilla to imprison him. The Admiral of the Ocean Sea was no longer a great hero.

In 1502, Columbus embarked on his fourth and last voyage. Having great hopes for this trip, he called it "High Voyage." He planned to sail around the world. There were many storms on this journey. It is reported that once, during a particularly bad storm, Christopher read the account of Jesus calming the sea, then drew his sword from its scabbard, made the sign of a cross in the air, and miraculously the weather calmed.

Columbus was tired and wanted to return to Spain, but his four ships were so worm-eaten that they only made it to an island called Jamaica. They were marooned for one year. A brave man named Diego Mendez and six Indians set out for Santo Domingo in a dugout. Although the natives were friendly they became tired of feeding Columbus and his men. Knowing when there was going to be an eclipse, Christopher told them unless they fed his men he would block out the moon. Columbus' plan worked.

Finally help arrived and Columbus was able to start back for Spain. He arrived on November 7, 1504. His fourth voyage had accomplished nothing.
Columbus believed till his dying day that he had found the Indies. The impact of what Columbus discovered was not recognized during his lifetime. Sincerely Christopher tried to do right and be a Christ-Bearer, but sadly many times he failed. With diligence and optimism he answered God's calling to go into the unknown. Even during his years of rejection and ridicule he still pushed on with bold determination. He died on May 20, 1506, a remarkable man who tried to live up to his name, Christ-Bearer.

Study Questions and Follow up Research

  • Read The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster. This book does an excellent job of giving an overview of world events during Columbus' life.

  • To learn more about the flat earth error read, Inventing the Flat Earth Columbus and Modern Historians by Jeffrey Burton Russell

  • What did Columbus think he discovered?

  • How many voyages did Columbus make?

  • Who were the King and Queen that supported his voyages?

  • Look on a globe and find: Genoa, Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Hispaniola (the island contains the countries of Dominican Republic and Haiti).

  • Build a miniature replica of the Santa Maria. Purchase a model kit from your local hobby store or go online to www.model-ships.com.

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Amy Puetz, a homeschool graduate, loves history, sewing, and working as a computer graphic artist for her company A to Z Designs. She is also the author of the exciting book Costumes with Character.  Visit her website at a2zdesigns.vcn.com. Call 1-307-464-0266 to request a free catalog. She makes her home in Wright, Wyoming.

This article was originally published in the May/Jun ’05 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com. To request a FREE sample copy, visit http://homeschoolenrichment.com/magazine/request-sample-issue.html.