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Columbus, Christopher 1435-1536 (Cristoforo Colombo), discoverer of America; born in or near Genoa about 1435. At the age of ten years he was placed in the University of Pavia, where he was instructed in the sciences which pertain to navigation. In 1450 he entered the marine service of Genoa, and remained in it twenty years. His brother Bartholomew (q. v.) was then in Lisbon, engaged in constructing maps and charts, and making an occasional voyage at sea. Thither Christopher went in 1470. Prince Henry of Portugal was then engaged in explorations of the west coast of Africa, seeking for a passage to India south of that continent. The merchants of western Europe were then debarred from participation in the rich commerce of the Fast by way of the Mediterranean Sea by their powerful and jealous rivals, the Italians, and this fact stimulated explorations for the circumnavigation of Africa. Prince Henry had persisted in his efforts in the face of opposition of priests and learned p