North America 1492: First contacts
Finding the first people he encountered peaceful and friendly, Christopher Columbus sailed southwest to discover and explore the northern coasts of Cuba (which he named ‘Juana’) and Hispaniola. In December 1492 his largest ship, the Santa María, ran aground off present day Haiti in Hispaniola, compelling Columbus to establish the 36-man fort of La Navidad there with the help of Guacanagaríx, chief of Marién. He then returned across the Atlantic with his two remaining ships, reaching Spain in March 1493.
12 Oct 1492–15 Mar 1493 Columbus’ first explorations and return▲
After meeting with the people of San Salvador—who he found peaceful and friendly—Christopher Columbus sailed southwest to discover and explore the northern coasts of Cuba (which he named ‘Juana’) and Hispaniola. In December 1492 the Santa María ran aground off present day Haiti in Hispaniola, compelling Columbus to establish a fort there from the wreckage. He then returned across the Atlantic with the Niña and the Pinta, eventually—after running into trouble with the Portuguese in the Azores—reaching Spain in March 1493.
26 Dec 1492–25 Nov 1493 La Navidad▲
On Christmas Eve 1492, Columbus’ largest ship, the Santa María, was wrecked off the coast of Hispaniola. With the aid of Guacanagaríx, Taíno chief of Marién, Columbus made use of the wreckage to establish the fort of La Navidad—the first Spanish outpost in the New World—and garrisoned it with 36 men. Columbus returned to Spain in January 1493 to prepare for a second voyage; when he arrived back in La Navidad in November, he found it had been burned to the ground and his men killed, apparently in a retaliatory raid by Caonabo of Maguana.