Everyone knows that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, but did you know that his flagship, the Santa Maria, ran aground and sank near the end of his first voyage across the Atlantic? Columbus is one of the most famous explorers of all time. He is credited with being among the first explorers to reach North America and kept meticulous records of his discoveries. The journals kept by Columbus inspired other explorers to cross the Atlantic in the hope of finding riches and creating better lives for themselves.

Ten Things You May Not Have Known About Christopher Columbus

In the United States, the second Monday of October is designated Columbus Day in recognition of Christopher Columbus. This year, that Monday falls on Oct. 14. In recognition of the holiday, we have gathered 10 facts you may not know about this famous explorer.

  1. Christopher Columbus was actually born Cristoforo Colombo in Genoa, Italy. His name was Anglicized to make it easier to pronounce for native-English speakers. Other languages have changed his name too, including both Spain and Sweden.

  2. Contrary to popular belief, Columbus did not set out to prove the world was a sphere. Greek mathematicians Pythagoras and Aristotle had both determined the earth was round about 1,000 years earlier. By the time Columbus decided to sail across the Atlantic, most well-educated members of society already accepted that the earth was not flat. Columbus set out to find a quicker trade route to Asia.

  3. Columbus was rejected by three different countries before Spain finally provided the bankroll for his journey across the Atlantic. Portugal, England and France all said no on the basis that Columbus’ calculations were incorrect and it would take longer to sail to India around the world than he had expected. The Spanish had similar qualms with the proposal, but decided to bankroll the journey after six years of pleading from Columbus. As it turned out, Columbus was wrong about how long it would take to sail around the world.

  4. While Columbus is largely recognized as the first European to reach North America, Norwegian Leif Ericson was actually the first to reach the New World 500 years before Columbus. Some historians believe that there were other European explorers who beat Ericson to North America. Columbus is mistaken as the first for the diligent and descriptive notes he took during his journey.

  5. Washington D.C. (District of Columbia) is named after Columbus. It is one of more than 19 locations in North America named after the explorer.

  6. Columbus never set foot on the mainland of what is now the United States. The first land he spotted in North America was the small Island of San Salvador. His fleet then sailed from island to island in the Caribbean before traveling to Central and South America.

  7. Columbus began sailing when he was just 14 years old.

  8. Of the three ships Columbus used to sail across the Atlantic Ocean during his maiden voyage, none were longer than the length of a tennis court with a width of about 30 feet. His crew consisted of 90 men. Columbus would return three times to North America.

  9. Columbus Day was made a federal holiday by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 after a national campaign by the Knights of Columbus brought attention to the importance of Columbus. This year is the 76th national celebration of Columbus.

  10. The oldest celebration commemorating Columbus takes place in San Francisco. The annual Columbus Day parade in San Francisco has taken place since 1868. Other parades also take place during the Columbus Day holiday to celebrate Italian-American heritage.

Columbus Day is a great time to celebrate all of our good fortune and the early discoveries that lead to the creation of the United States.

Give Back By Donating A Boat Today

Does your boat look like Columbus’ Santa Maria after it crossed the Atlantic? Maybe you are looking to upgrade, but don’t know what to do with your current boat – Wheels For Wishes accepts boats too! If you have a boat or vehicle to donate to Wheels For Wishes, benefiting Make-A-Wish, give us a call today. Your used vehicle can help inspire a local child and make their wish come true.

To donate a vehicle to Wheels For Wishes, please call 1-877-431-9474 or fill out our easy online vehicle donation form. Columbus had to wait nearly 10 years to do something great; you have the opportunity to change a life today. Making a donation will inspire hope and help a child achieve their dream.