520th Anniversary of Columbus’ first encounter with a Hurricane

christopher columbus

On July 16, 1494, Christopher Columbus ran afoul of a hurricane while sailing south of Cuba during his second voyage to the New World.  Having established a new colony on the north coast of Hispañola in April, Columbus sailed westward along what he thought was a peninsula of China for the next four months.  After an excursion to explore Jamaica, he was anchored at what is now Santa Cruz del Sur on the 16th when a storm of great ferocity came upon his four ships.  He later wrote to Queen Isabella, offering the first recorded description of a hurricane by a European.  He assured her that only his dedication to God and to the extension of the Spanish monarchy would compel him to face such dangers.