Columbus’ Second Voyage

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Sept 25, 1493 Fleet of 17 ships, carrying about 1,000 colonists and livestock (horse, sheep, cattle)
October 13 The ships left the Canary Islands
 Nov 3 Reached the West Indies; The transatlantic passage of only 21 days was remarkably fast.
 Nov 19 Landed at Puerto Rico (San Juan Bautista)
 Nov 22, 1493 Reached Hispaniola (present-day Dominican and Haitian Republics)
April 30, 1494 Reached Cuba. Left Cuba on May 3rd
May 5, 1494 Reached Jamaica
10 Mar, 1496 Set sail for Spain, leaving his brother Bartholomew at Isabella as temporary governor. Columbus reached Cadiz 11 June, 1496.


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On his second voyage, Columbus commanded a fleet of 17 ships, carrying about 1,000 colonists (all men). Unlike the low key first voyage, the second voyage was a massive logistic effort.

The second voyage brought European livestock (horses, sheep, and cattle) and settlers to America for the first time. Although Columbus kept a log of his second voyage, only very small fragments survive. Most of what we know comes from indirect references or from accounts of others on the voyage.

The fleet sailed from Cadiz on September 25, 1493, and reached the West Indies on November 3rd. After naming the first island encountered Mariagalante after his flagship, Columbus and his fleet sailed passed Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua, Nevis, St. Christopher, St. Croix, Puerto Rico, and other islands. Upon reaching Cap-Haïtien, Columbus found that all the men he had left the previous year had been killed by natives, whom they had mistreated. Rather than take revenge on the natives, he chose to sail eastward and found Isabela, the first permanent European colony in the Americas, on the north coast of Hispaniola instead. He left his brother Diego in charge of the colony, and spent the summer of 1494 exploring the southern coast of Cuba, during which time he also discovered the island of Jamaica. Upon his return to Isabela he found the colonists fighting among themselves and with the natives. After restoring order and defeating the natives, he left for Spain, in June of 1496.
Back in Spain, Columbus learned that many Spaniards who had returned from earlier voyages were accusing him of being a cruel taskmaster and complaining about the lack of riches in Hispaniola. Ferdinand and Isabella still believed in Columbus, however, and gave him three ships for a third voyage.


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