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The best 25 Christopher Columbus quotes

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Christopher Columbus is someone you’re likely already familiar with. A prominent feature in history lessons and a man with a whole day dedicated to him, he’s also a really interesting character. And he had a lot to say. So without further ado, here is 25 of the best Christopher Columbus quotes.

christopher columbus quotes

I’m telling you that India is that way, now set my course.

Columbus was, clearly, a man who knew what he wanted – to create a route to Asia, in order to replace the now-dangerous Silk Road…

I should not proceed by land to the East, as is customary, but by a Westerly route, in which direction we have hitherto no certain evidence that any one has gone.

…and to be the first to do so!

For the execution of the voyage to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps.

Despite not doing much planning, so it seems…

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.

This quote gives some insight into how Christopher Columbus treated those he came across during his voyages. The people he and his crew found on the islands were native to the area, and Columbus was keen to see how he might use them to his advantage. After all, he had been promised a cut of any revenue generated by the land he discovered!

My desire was not to pass any island without taking possession, so that, one having been taken, the same may be said of all.

This is another example of how Columbus saw islands and their natives…

Nothing that results in human progress is achieved with unanimous consent. Those that are enlightened before the others are condemned to pursue that light in spite of the others.

Columbus was under no illusions about his own treatment of the native islanders, really.

And they know neither sect nor idolatry, with the exception that all believe that the source of all power and goodness is in the sky, and they believe very firmly that I, with these ships and people, came from the sky, and in this belief they everywhere received me, after they had overcome their fear.

He was – rightly or wrongly – under the impression that they worshipped him…

These people are very unskilled in arms… with 50 men they could all be subjected and made to do all that one wished.

…and he was so sure that he was better than them.

For this purpose I determined to keep an account of the voyage, and to write down punctually every thing we performed or saw from day to day, as will hereafter appear.

Luckily for researchers and historians, these famous Christopher Columbus quotes aren’t the only way to determine what happened. He kept journals, too.

The air soft as that of Seville in April, and so fragrant that it was delicious to breathe it.

It seems that Columbus was quite poetic in the way that he documented his journeys.

Life has more imagination than we carry in our dreams.

This is another example of one of the more poetic Christopher Columbus quotes!

The sea will grant each man new hope, and sleep will bring dreams of home.

While it was customary to speak in this way in the 1400s, it definitely adds a bit of grandeur to the otherwise ordinary Christopher Columbus quotes.

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Almost the same as the common phrase used today, “you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs” – and it is true…

Oh, what a gracious Lord, who desires that people should perform for Him those things for which He holds Himself responsible! Day and night, moment by moment, everyone should express their most devoted gratitude to Him.

Christopher Columbus quotes often point to how religious he was throughout his life, especially later on.

Thus God gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.

And he hoped this would mean his voyages would all be successful.

With gold, a man can do anything. It even sends souls to paradise.

Which didn’t stop his love of money, of course…

But in truth, should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity, I shall remain till I collect as much as possible, and for this purpose, I am proceeding solely in quest of them.

Yeah, he really loved it…

There are trees of a thousand sorts, and all have their several fruits; and I feel the most unhappy man in the world not to know them, for I am well assured that they are all valuable. I bring home specimens of them, and also of the land.

Did he want knowledge, or did he want another way of making money? We may never know.

Goals are simply tools to focus your energy in positive directions, these can be changed as your priorities change, new one added, and others dropped.

It wasn’t all about money for Columbus, though. He definitely had other goals!

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.

And as many Christopher Columbus quotes show, he was certainly dedicated.

Riches don’t make a man rich, they only make him busier.

As much as he loved money, he was able to see the negative side of things too…

I went to sea from the most tender age and have continued in sea life to this day. Wherever anyone has sailed, there I have sailed.

Columbus loved sailing, and the sea was part of his life from an early age. So it was no surprise when he did eventually embark of his first voyage!

I should be judged as a captain who went from Spain to the Indies to conquer a people numerous and warlike, whose manners and religion are very different from ours, who live in sierras and mountains, without fixed settlements, and where by divine will I have placed under the sovereignty of the King and Queen our Lords, an Other World, whereby Spain, which was reckoned poor, is become the richest of countries.

One of the Christopher Columbus quotes that sums up his life’s work in his own words.

I came to serve you at the age of 28 and now I have not a hair on me that is not white, and my body is infirm and exhausted. All that was left to me and my brothers has been taken away and sold, even to the cloak that I wore, without hearing or trial, to my great dishonor.

It seems that Columbus’s life of travel really took its toll, in the end…

It is easy to discover what another has discovered before.

Last but not least, a quote that sums it all up – Columbus didn’t technically discover these new worlds, for they were already inhabited and, in many cases, thriving.

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