The Third Voyage of Christopher Columbus

After all the problems appending his second voyage to the Caribbean, It took some time for Columbus to convince Isabella and Ferdinand that he should be sent with another expedition. In 1498, he was given command of six ships which set out again for the new world, which Columbus still believed was in the proximity of China. The expedition sailed at the end of May.

Third Voyage of Columbus

Half the expedition broke off and made directly for Hispañola. They brought the colony supplies and reinforcements. Columbus himself took a more southerly course. His ships ran into the "Doldrums" (an area of absolute calm) where the ships simply sat in the water for several days. When a wind came out of the south-east on the 22nd of July the voyagers took advantage of it. Had they followed their original intended course, they would have run into South America much further to the south. As it was they passed by Trinidad, which they named for the three peaks they observed.

Because of the long delay in the "Doldrums", the tiny fleet of three ships had been getting low on water. They stopped in Trinidad to renew their supply. South America was sighted. The Orinoco River was also found and was of such size that the Admiral concluded that this river must issue from a great land, possibly a continent. About the 13th of August Columbus decided to head back to Hispañola. Columbus had been very ill and did not feel able to continue. By 19 August 1498 they reached the coast of Hispañola.

Christopher Columbus went to Santo Domingo where the colonial settlement had been moved from Isabella. Columbus attempted to resume his governorship, but the people rebelled. Columbus felt compelled to hang several of the leaders of the resistance. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella sent a commissioner to investigate problems in the colony. Francisco de Bobadilla felt Columbus had done a poor job as governor and had him arrested. Columbus as well as his two brothers who had assisted him, were sent back to Spain in chains in October of 1500.

On his return to Spain, Columbus and his brothers were thrown into prison. But this did not last long. After about three weeks, Columbus had Convinced the King and Queen that he should be given another chance. He, and his brothers were released. However, some of his powers were stripped from him. He would no longer be Viceroy of the Colony. And the generous grant of 10% of the profits from the colony that had been granted to him by the crown were much reduced. At this point he set about trying to get permission and financing for another expedition to find Cathay.

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