If you never came around to seeing this movie, rent it or buy it. It's available in discount price in Anttila for 10 eur.
I've seen 1492 before, but I didn't quite look at it the same way I do now. For me, it used to be a rather generic biographical account of the discovery of America, based mostly on true stories and dramatization.
But this time I realized that it was actually about the desire for power, and how a man can lose track of his life because of it.
Columbus was an explorer at heart. All he really wanted to do was go to places nobody had gone before. He was good at it - he could provide the necessary leadership at sea and convince the people behind the money to take the risk.
When he reached the New World, he got greedy. Suddenly he forgot all about exploring and got stuck as the governor of Isabella, a newly founded city on a small island in South America. Obviously, he wanted to build and control the New World according to his own non-violent, egalitarian ideals.
It was no surprise that everything went wrong after that. Columbus had neither expertise nor experience in administration, and most of the crises he encountered escalated into disasters. Eventually, after facing mutiny and getting a lot of people killed, he was replaced by another ruler and put to prison for his mistakes.
As you probably know, while Columbus was wasting time in Isabella, another explorer called Amerigo Vespucci managed to find America's mainland in 1499. It was a bitter lesson for Columbus, who had dreamed of that since sailing out from Spain the first time in 1492.
The morale of the story? Never lose track of who you really are.