Channeling Christopher Columbus in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio — “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

The story of Christopher Columbus — for the most part — is well known. With three ships — the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria — and about 90 men, he set sail from Europe in search of a “western route to the Orient.” He never made it. Instead, he “discovered” America” 518 years ago tomorrow.

However, only two of the vessels made the return trip. The Santa Maria never sailed back to Spain. On Dec. 24, 1492, it crashed off the coast of what is today Haiti.

Columbus left the Santa Maria and its crew of 39 men behind. Using timbers from the vessel, the men built La Navivdad, the first Spanish settlement in the new world. When Columbus returned about a year later, he found the settlement destroyed and his men killed.

The Santa Maria replica in Columbus, Ohio, is a full-size replica of Columbus’ ship. Built for the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ journey, the ship is 98 feet long and 89 feet tall and is the most-authentic replica of the Santa Maria.

The ship provides travelers with a unique insight into what Columbus’ journey five centuries ago was like, though it is somewhat difficult to imagine being confined to such close quarters for weeks on end.

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