DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Christopher Columbus (aged c. 54)
Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer
Christopher Columbus (before 31 October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonist who completed four voyagesacross the Atlantic Ocean under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. He led the first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, initiating the permanent European colonization of the Americas. Columbus discovered the viable sailing route to the Americas, a continent that was then unknown to the Old World. While what he thought he had discovered was a route to the Far East, he is credited with the opening of the Americas for conquest and settlement by Europeans.
DEATH: During a violent storm on his first return voyage, Columbus, then 41, suffered an attack of what was believed at the time to be gout. In subsequent years, he was plagued with what was thought to be influenza and other fevers, bleeding from the eyes, and prolonged attacks of gout. The suspected attacks increased in duration and severity, sometimes leaving Columbus bedridden for months at a time, and culminated in his death 14 years later.