Wages for crew on Christopher Columbus’ ships.

Model of Santa Maria. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Wages paid to the crew and a current understanding of crew list for Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas is provided at Columbus Ships Crew.

Crew size:

  • 41 – Santa Maria
  • 26 – Pinta
  • 20 – Nina
  • 87 – total

Of particular interest to me is the pay information provided in the article. It also lists reference points for gold and silver.

Will list that info here for future reference. All amounts are maravedis, which was the Spanish currency at the time. This data is for 1492 in Spain.

position pay/month, in maravedis ounces of gold ounces of silver
Master / pilot           2,000        0.67            20.0
able seamen           1,000        0.33            10.0
ordinary seamen             666        0.22              6.7
Columbus’ Ships. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Article provides some reference points so we can infer amounts across time;

reference  cost, in maravedis ounces of gold ounces of silver
total payroll/month       250,180      83.39        2,501.8
Gold, one ounce           3,000            30.0
Sliver, one ounce             100
Wheat, one bushel               73        0.02              0.7

That gives value of gold to silver at a ratio of 30:1.

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