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GRADE LEVEL: Any
Columbus kept a complete journal of his expeditions. This is probably one of the reasons, 500 years later, we celebrate his findings. Columbus documented his explorations and his journeys had such vast consequences that he is credited with the discovery even though he was not the first outsider to reach the Western Hemisphere.
Students will use events from the life, times, and voyages of Columbus to create a journal which could have expressed the thoughts and ideas of Columbus.
Review the time-line of events. Brainstorm possible perspectives and viewpoints which could be expressed in a journal of Columbus.
1. Distribute and discuss time-line.
2. Brainstorm possible views Columbus might express.
3. Begin journal writing. Students should include entries for 30 out of the 61 suggestions found on the time-line.
4. Select one of the events marked with the * and write a journal entry from the perspective of someone involved in the event other than Columbus.
TIME-LINE FOR JOURNAL ENTRIES
1. 25 MAY 1474--Columbus' first long voyage to the beautiful island of Chios. Chios was the gateway to the Orient, a magnificent city bustling with trade.
2. 13 AUGUST 1476--Columbus sails with a commercial expedition into the Atlantic. They are attacked by a squadron of French corsairs. Three of the five ships are lost and many men died. Columbus was saved by fisherman from Portugal.
3. LATE SPRING OR EARLY FALL 1479--Columbus marries Felipa Moniz Perestrello.
4. LATE 1483 OR EARLY 1484--Columbus presents his plan of reaching the Orient by sailing west to King John II of Portugal. His plan is refused.
5. 1485--Columbus' wife is dead. His son, Diego, (now four or five) is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Huelva.
6. 20 January 1486--Columbus proposes his voyage to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. Although curious about his proposal, they did not believe Columbus.
7. August 1488--Columbus's son, Ferdinand is born out of wedlock. (Mother of the child is Beatriz Enriquez de Arana.)
8. Summer of 1489--Queen Isabella contacts Columbus. Her husband is fighting in Granada. The queen has "positive hopes that, when the business of Granada was settled" they be willing to arrange for expenses for Columbus's project.
9. 2 January 1492--The war is over. A special council is formed to advise the king and queen about Columbus' proposal. Again, the answer is negative.
10. 23 May 1492--Financing is obtained. A royal proclamation is read naming Christopher Columbus as the commander of the three ships which made the famous voyage.
11. 3 August 1492--The three ships set sail from Palos between five and six in the morning. They are headed for the Canaries to begin their departure across the Ocean.
12. 6 September 1492--Provisions are stocked (water, meat, and wood). After a church service, the voyage across the Atlantic begins.
13. 17 September 1492--Columbus and his sailors note the deviation of the compass needle to the left.
14. 7 October 1492--Birds are spotted. Perhaps land is near!
15. 11 October 1492--Columbus claims to see light in the darknes of the night. He calls it to the attention of Pedro Gutierrez who also sees the light.
16. 12 October 1492--At 2:00 A.M. Juan Rodriguez Bermejo, standing on the Pinta, observes a mass of rocks. This coral island is later named San Salvador.
17. 12 October 1492--Columbus "took possession of the island for the king and the queen." He observes the Indians for the first time.
18. 14 October 1492--Columbus departs to the south in search of gold. He finds parrots and spices, but not the gold he had hoped for.
19. 28 October 1492--Columbus drops anchor in Cuba.
*20. 19 November 1492--Against the wishes of Columbus, Martin Alonso Pinzon leaves in the Pinta in search of gold. He goes to Babeque, then lands on the northern coast of Haiti, where he knew the Admiral was headed.
21. 6 December 1492--The Santa Maria and the Nina enter a harbor that Columbus named San Nicolas on the island of Hispaniola. The port resembled Spain. Corn was discovered here.
22. 24 December 1492--The Santa Maria runs into a coral reef. Columbus is shipwrecked.
23. 25 December 1492--Columbus and his crew spend Christmas transferring crew and cargo to the Nina.
*24. 4 January 1493--Columbus leaves 39 men and all the provisions which had been on the Santa Maria to establish a settlement named La Navidad.
25. 14 February 1493--A major storm makes traveling hazardous as Columbus is beginning his way home.
26. 8 March 1493--King John II of Portugal receives Columbus. Columbus reports on his expedition.
27. 15 March 1493--The Nina arrives in Palos. The town celebrates by closing businesses, ringing bells, and congregating in the church.
28. 15 March 1493 (later in the afternoon)--The Pinta arrives.
29. 7 April 1493--Columbus receives a letter from the King and Queen which bestowed him the titles "Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy and Governor of the islands which he discovered in the Indies."
30. 25 September 1493--Embarkation of the second voyage with a fleet of seventeen vessels.
31. 2 November 1493--The crossing is completed.
32. 3-20 November 1493--The voyagers discover the lesser Antilles (from Dominica to Puerto Rico). Columbus contacts the Caribs, a group of cannibals.
*33. 28 November 1493--Columbus reaches La Navidad and learns that all 39 colonists are dead, their houses and fort burned.
34. 7 December 1493--Columbus departs La Navidad.
35. 2 January 1494--La Isabela was founded. This is the new colony of Columbus named after the Queen. Columbus names his brother Bartholomew as governor and his brother Diego as lieutenant governor.
36. 24 April to 29 September 1494--Columbus explores Cuba.
*37. 28 September 1494--Columbus returns to La Isabela. The colony is struggling with discontent, disease, and conflict with the Indians.
38. 17 February 1495--Four vessels depart for Spain carrying Indian slaves.
39. 27 March 1495--A large battle between the Europeans and Native Americans begins.
40. 10 March 1496--Columbus concludes his second voyage and heads back to Spain. Upon his return, Columbus will have to defend his actions amid the criticism of those who left the Indies and returned earlier to their homeland.
41. 11 June 1496--Columbus returns home. His reception is much colder than the pageantry which accompanied his first return.
42. 30 May 1498--The third voyage begins. Columbus is beginning to have health problems.
43. August 1498--The mainland of South America is reached.
44. 31 August 1498--The three ships arrive in Santo Domingo, the center of the colony on Hispaniola. The colonists are split in two factions. Bartholomew's group governed the central and southern parts of Hispaniola. The rebel group, led by Francisco Roldan, held the west.
*45. 23 August 1500--Due to the negative reports drifting back to the king and queen, they decide to send an investigator, Francisco de Bobadilla to punish the trouble- makers of the rebellion and to take control of the island from Columbus.
46. 25 November 1500--Columbus and his three brothers are returned in chains to Cadiz as a result of the investigations of Bobadilla.
*47. 17 December 1500--Columbus and his two brothers are presented to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. The royalty apologizes for the humiliation Columbus has experienced, and claim the intent of their instructions had not been followed. Bobadilla was recalled, but Columbus is not given back his rights, privileges, and offices in the colony he discovered.
48. 14 March 1502--Columbus is given approval for his fourth voyage. To avoid further trouble, the monarchs forbid Columbus to land in Hispaniola on the outward leg of the voyage. If it was absolutely necessary, Columbus could land in Hispaniola on his return.
49. 9 May 1502--The fourth voyage begins. The young son of Columbus, Ferdinand, and Columbus' brother Bartholomew accompany a fleet of four caravels and 150 men.
50. 15 June 1502--The excursion arrives in St. Lucia in the Lesser Antilles.
*51. 29 June 1502--Columbus gives an order for his ship to stop outside of Santo Domingo. He sent one of his crew ashore. He was told NOT to step foot on the land. Columbus was outraged.
52. July 1502--The four ships survive a hurricane, taking refuge along the coast.
53. 31 July 1502--Columbus lands in the Guanaja Island in the Gulf of Honduras. Because the Admiral was not feeling well, he did not go ashore. Instead, his brother Bartholomew went inland.
54. August 1502--Columbus reaches the North American mainland.
55. August and September 1502--The fleet must contend with series of violent storms.
56. October 1502--The Spaniards find gold in Veragua (near Panama). Columbus chooses Belen as the site for a new colony, because of the access of gold.
57. February 1503--Bartholomew and 59 men go into the country. They discover coca.
58. 6 April 1503--The Indians attack the colony.
*59. 25 June 1503 to 28 June 1504--The ships land in Santa Gloria (today St. Ann's Bay) Columbus spends a year here. Columbus sends Diego Mendez for help. The Governor of Hispaniola is not saddened to find Columbus is shipwrecked and does not hurry to send aid. A mutiny occurs on the colony while waiting for help.
60. 28 June 1504--Columbus sails for Santo Domingo.
61. 7 November 1504--Columbus ends his fourth and final expedition.
Columbus dies on 20 May 1506.
Students should select one of the time-line events marked with a * and write a journal entry from the perspective of someone involved in the event other than Columbus. Read the entries of other students completing this activity.
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