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40 Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2001 A World for Kids by Jenette Meneely Christopher Columbus a wool-comber and was from studying charts was born in 1451 in an weaver. Everyone expect- and books on his own. Italian port city called ed young Christopher to Genoa. He was the oldest become a weaver, too. Off to ma of the four children born While he was young, he Columbus began to Domenico Colombo worked in his father's going on sea voy- and Suzanna Fonta- wool shop, but he neverages when he narossa, learned to love weaving, was just 14. In Italian, his name Instead, through his One inter- would be Christoforo study of reading, writing, esting note Colombo. In Spanish, his and chart drawing, he is that he name would be Crist6bal learned to love every- worked much Col6n. thing about the sea. Heof the time as a This is important be- longed to leave his fa-pirate, some: cause, although he was ther's shop and sail the thing not at born in Italy, some ex- mysterious oceans of for- all unusual perts think he may not eign lands, for sailors at have been Italian. They His father saw that his that time. think, instead, that he interests and talents were He worked his may have been Spanish. in sailing, so he helped way up from being This is because all of his his son become a sailor by a cabin boy to, at known writings, even his sending him to school, age 30, being a private notes, were in Columbus didn't stay captain of his own ship. Spanish, not Italian. there long, because his family was not wealthy,llis mtiny is known limxd begizmi= The rest of what Colum-In 1476, Columbus was Columbus' s father was bus learned about sailinghaving a sea battle when the ship he was in caught Columbus was con- miles west of Lisbon. fire. He jumped overboard sumed with the idea that While Columbus and swam to the shores of he was destined to make planned his Portugal using only a that trip. If he had a ship, he met and wooden paddle, he could sail around the pa Perestrello e When he got world, he thought, and whose father was ashore, he found a find a route to India andcaptain and a very town, Lisbon, full China (which the people ential man. of seafarers, as-of his time called Columbus tronomers, geog- "Cathay"). take sea voyages, and' raphers, and sci-These were mythical dreams of f'mding the entists, all of lands because, to people lands of riches ke whom were trying to of that time, the whole ing. determine if a fan- world consisted of mostlyFinding pieces of tastic idea was true: just Europe and Africa. carved if the world was re-But, some people lands floating in the ally round, and you claimed that those fairy ters of the sailed in one direction, tale lands were full of only made his desires you would come out at riches. Columbus was de- stronger. So he began the same place when you termined to f'md them. look for people to help sailed all the way Columbus used the for his great journey. around the Earth. maps drawn by Paolo But, f'mding people At that time, every-Toscanelli, an as- were one pretty much believed tronomer from Florence, powerful that the Earth was round, Italy. That map put for such an but no one had ever really Columbus's goal, the scheme would not be tested the theory, lands of riches, only 4,700 Columbus and his ships In America, we celebrate Columbus Day because Columbus is credited with being the first to test the theory that the world was round and that, if he sailed west, he would eventually come out near China, and then India. India, especial- ly, was an important trade site. China, which Colum- bus called "Cathay," was al- so supposedly full of trea- sures. But, instead, he discovered a new land. So, after Columbus got money and support from King Ferdinand and Queen Is- abella of Spain, he hopped in his ship and, with two other .. , t,'- ships, set off to make his- tory (and get rich in -- the process.) t,m id= =ltlm Those three ships be- came very famous. I bet you already know their names-the Nifia, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. The Santa Maria was the ship that Columbus cap- tained. It was called the "flagship," because it lead the way. The Santa Maria was re- ally a funny old tub. It was kind of squat, and slow, and was made for carrying car- go, not overseas explorers. Today, we would call that ship a "carrack." Carla Rahn Philips, who wrote a book about Colum. bus's ships, says that the Santa Maria was probably about 16 meters, which is about 54.4 feet long. The Santa Maria had three masts. Each mast car- ried a large sail. The front sail (called the foresail) was square, as was the middle sail (mainsail). The back sail was a triangle. This shaped sail was known as a O lateen sail. The Pinta was Colum- bus's second ship. It was smaller, lighter and faster than the Santa Maria. It was called a caravel. The Pinta probably weighed about 70 tons: It is estimated that the Pinta was about 17 meters long, or 56.1 feet long. The smallest of Colum- bus's ships was the Nifia. The Nifia was also a caravel. When it started out on its voyage, the Nifia had triangle sails (lateen). But, it stopped in the Canary Islands and was re- fitted with square sails. The Nifia, unlike Columbus's other ships, and most ships of his day, may have had four masts. This would have meant that the . Nifia could carry more sails, which would make it faster. Unlike the ships of today, Columbus's ships were real- ly slow. How fast his ships went depended on its con- struction, and nature. Each voyage was differ- ent because of the wind. If the wind was strong, the ship went faster, but if there was no wind, the ship didn't move at all, and the sailors had to wait until there was a breeze again. The ships' highest speed was about 8 knots, or 9.2 miles per hour. The slowest they went was 0 knots, which meant no wind! On a really good day, Columbus's ships might have traveled 200 miles. On average, they would have traveled 90 or 100 miles in a day. For more information about Columbus's ships, see the page by Kel- th A. PlckerlnS:. http://wwwl.minn.net/--keRhp/sh ips.htm. autical mes: AFu the rear of a ship Bow: the front of a ship Caraveh A small sailing ship, of the I$th and 16th century; with Carrac.lu A merchant ship of the 15th and 16th century a broad bow mast farthest, or next farthest, to the back of a ship Slxitm h A sail that crosses diagonally on a spar attached to the front of a a stout pole, usually made of rounded wood or metal Starboard the right side of a ship the left side of a ship Discover Something New Many unusual items uINCY STORE I~T 11175 493 W. Main St. Quincy. 283-0480 FOR LOVING License #320316037