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Why did Christopher Columbus think he had arrived near Japan?

Why did Christopher Columbus think he had arrived near Japan?

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This question came to our mind as a long discussion in chat between some users over ELU including me and we thought to post the question here. Wikipedia states he thought he had arrived Japan.

In his first journey, Columbus visited San Salvador in The Bahamas (which he was convinced was Japan), Cuba (which he thought was China) and Hispaniola (where he found gold).

That made us think, what made him think so? In the mean time, Cerberus came up with a helpful map of his journey, but we could not conclude anything from here. So does anybody have any information on this? We would really like to know.

The Map is uploaded separately for the users convenience.

My understanding is that the question is not regarding why Columbus believed he had reached Asia at large, but why he mistook San Salvador for Japan. If so, the answer (lacking the relevant primary source material) appears to be as follows:

The Bahamas, which he believed were Japan, are north of Cuba, which he believed was China. (according to the question's source) At that time, the West was familiar mainly with the southern portion of China, which was more accessible to Europe by land via India and Indo-China, or by navigation along the southern coastlines. If so, Columbus, as well as most Europeans familiar somewhat with the Orient, would have understood that Japan was north of China, since Japan is indeed north of the southern coastal regions of China, those regions which the West at that time typically identified as China.

Map of Eastern China and Japan, published in 1570. Note the region label China, and the illustration of ships coming from the south in the East China Sea, towards Japan in the north and China to the south and west. In light of this map, Columbus's opinion regarding the Bahamas and Cuba is quite understandable.

We might also add that the Bahamas are a chain of islands, similar in that respect to what was presumably known regarding Japan, whereas in comparison, Cuba appears to be a large landmass, similar to what was known about China.

Contemporary Map of the West Indies, showing prominently Cuba and the Bahamas.

If so, it would be logical to conclude that if he were indeed in Asia, the more northern island he discovered, an island in the Bahamas, was Japan, and the land to the south, Cuba, was China.

If he immediately believed he was in Japan upon landing, it would have been because his charts indicated he was heading towards the more northerly regions of his intended Asian target, i.e. Japan. If he only concluded the Bahamas was Japan after reaching Cuba, it would have been apparent that Cuba was south of the Bahamas, and so the the Bahamas were Japan and Cuba was China.

If this is not the question, then my answer is superfluous, and LateralFractal's answer is excellent.

Christopher Columbus thought the world was spherical (like most educated people of his era) but he also thought the size of the Earth was small enough that a westward boat trip from Europe to Asia was achievable with existing ship building technology.

In this regard he differed from the more accurate size estimates of scholars in Isabella and Ferdinand's court. Sustained lobbying won out through - and so off he went.

Since he still believed the size of the Earth was small - when he bumped into land in the Americas obviously he would assert that the landfall was in Asia (India, Japan, China or somewhere) as:

  1. It fit his existing beliefs.
  2. Direct trade with the other end of the Silk Road was a vastly more profitable proposition than an unknown landmass.

These geographical fabrications are not new; the slabs of ice, rock and tundra that make up Greenland was named "Greenland" by Erik the Red to encourage settlement.

Columbus' original goal in his voyage was to reach Asia, to visit Japan and have some of its riches (spices, gold… )

I guess Columbus thought the world map looked like this. (America doesn't exist.)

He thought if he traveled towards the west, he would reach Asia. He didn't know that the world map was different and that America exists in between.

Columbus was using an estimate of the Earth's circumference developed by Claudius Ptolemaeus, rather than the more accurate (and earlier) estimate of Eratosthenes. If Ptolemaeus had been correct then Columbus would have landed in Taiwan rather than Hispaniola.

In his report to Isabella after his return in 1492, Columbus announced his destination as "the Islands of India beyond the Ganges". Elsewhere in the same report he refers to land masses as being part of "Cathay", but this is just a generality because India was considered to be part of the continent of Cathay (China), which it actually is.

Columbus did not have an accurate idea of the distances involved, so he did not realize the presence of the Pacific Ocean. For him, the islands he encountered had to be part of India because they had no notion of any other place besides.

Even long after Columbus mariners did not understand the vast size of the Pacific Ocean, which originally they called the "South Sea", and thought it was much smaller and lay to the south of the Americas. It was not until map makers like Amerigo Vespucci and others began to carefully plot things out, that it was realized they were dealing with an entirely new continent.

Why did Christopher Columbus write a letter?

Columbus' main reason for the letter was to receive credit for his hard work, just like his inspiration, Marco Polo (although Marco Polo wrote a book to establish his prowess).

Secondly, how many letters did Christopher Columbus write? On his return to Spain, sailing in January and February 526 years ago, Christopher Columbus composed three letters describing his first voyage west and his experiences on the islands he explored.

Likewise, people ask, how did Columbus describe the island of Hispana in his letter?

In his letter, Columbus describes how he sailed along the northern coast of Juana (Cuba) for a spell, searching for cities and rulers, but found only small villages "without any sort of government" ("no cosa de regimiento"). He notes that the natives usually fled when approached.

What was the purpose of Christopher Columbus letter to Ferdinand and Isabella?

Upon his return, he issued a letter to his Spanish benefactors, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. In the letter, Columbus recounted his journey, gave his impressions of the lands and people he encountered, and confirmed that he had taking possession of the islands in the name of Spain.

Why Take the Risky Voyage?

Commander Cristoforo Colombo (as he was known in his hometown of Genoa, Italy) was taller than most men so tall, in fact, he couldn't stand inside his cabin on the Santa María. He'd had “very red” hair in his younger years, but since he'd passed age 40, it had turned prematurely white. His face boasted a big nose and freckles.

Columbus, as we know his name today, was an experienced mariner. He had sailed the Mediterranean and traveled to parts of Africa, to Ireland, and probably even to Iceland. He boasted later in life, “I have gone to every place that has heretofore been navigated.” He knew the Atlantic as well or better than anyone, and he probably knew more about how to read currents, winds, and surfaces of the sea than do sailors today. “He [our Lord] has bestowed the marine arts upon me in abundance,” Columbus said.

For nearly seven years, the “socially ambitious, socially awkward” Italian had become a fixture at the Spanish court, ceaselessly lobbying for his crazy “enterprise of the Indies.” A royal commission in 1490 had judged “that the claims and promises of Captain Colón are vain and worthy of rejection. . . . The Western Sea is infinite and unnavigable. The Antipodes are not livable, and his ideas are impracticable.” Yet Columbus had pressed on, proving, as he said, “If it strikes often enough, a drop of water can wear a hole in a stone.”

Why? Why would someone, anyone, doggedly spend years getting funding for a death-defying feat?

The first voyage of Christopher Columbus

The ships for the first voyage—the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María—were fitted out at Palos, on the Tinto River in Spain. Consortia put together by a royal treasury official and composed mainly of Genoese and Florentine bankers in Sevilla (Seville) provided at least 1,140,000 maravedis to outfit the expedition, and Columbus supplied more than a third of the sum contributed by the king and queen. Queen Isabella did not, then, have to pawn her jewels (a myth first put about by Bartolomé de Las Casas in the 16th century).

The little fleet left on August 3, 1492. The admiral’s navigational genius showed itself immediately, for they sailed southward to the Canary Islands, off the northwest African mainland, rather than sailing due west to the islands of the Azores. The westerlies prevailing in the Azores had defeated previous attempts to sail to the west, but in the Canaries the three ships could pick up the northeast trade winds supposedly, they could trust to the westerlies for their return. After nearly a month in the Canaries the ships set out from San Sebastián de la Gomera on September 6.

On several occasions in September and early October, sailors spotted floating vegetation and various types of birds—all taken as signs that land was nearby. But by October 10 the crew had begun to lose patience, complaining that with their failure to make landfall, contrary winds and a shortage of provisions would keep them from returning home. Columbus allayed their fears, at least temporarily, and on October 12 land was sighted from the Pinta (though Columbus, on the Niña, later claimed the privilege for himself). The place of the first Caribbean landfall, called Guanahani, is hotly disputed, but San Salvador (Watlings) Island in the Bahamas is generally preferred to other Bahamian islands (Samana Cay, Rum Cay, or the Plana Cays) or to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Beyond planting the royal banner, however, Columbus spent little time there, being anxious to press on to Cipango, or Cipangu (Japan). He thought that he had found it in Cuba, where he landed on October 28, but he convinced himself by November 1 that Cuba was the Cathay mainland itself, though he had yet to see evidence of great cities. Thus, on December 5, he turned back southeastward to search for the fabled city of Zaiton (Quanzhou, China), missing through this decision his sole chance of setting foot on Florida soil.

Adverse winds carried the fleet to an island called Ayti (Haiti) by its Taino inhabitants on December 6 Columbus renamed it La Isla Española, or Hispaniola. He seems to have thought that Hispaniola might be Cipango or, if not Cipango, then perhaps one of the legendarily rich isles from which King Solomon’s triennial fleet brought back gold, gems, and spices to Jerusalem (1 Kings 10:11, 22) alternatively, he reasoned that the island could be related to the biblical kingdom of Sheba (Sabaʾ). There Columbus found at least enough gold and prosperity to save him from ridicule on his return to Spain. With the help of a Taino cacique, or Indian chief, named Guacanagarí, he set up a stockade on the northern coast of the island, named it La Navidad, and posted 39 men to guard it until his return. The accidental running aground of the Santa María on December 25, 1492, provided additional planks and provisions for the garrison.

On January 16, 1493, Columbus left with his remaining two ships for Spain. The journey back was a nightmare. The westerlies did indeed direct them homeward, but in mid-February a terrible storm engulfed the fleet. The Niña was driven to seek harbour at Santa Maria in the Azores, where Columbus led a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the shrine of the Virgin however, hostile Portuguese authorities temporarily imprisoned the group. After securing their freedom Columbus sailed on, stormbound, and the damaged ship limped to port in Lisbon. There he was obliged to interview with King John II. These events left Columbus under the suspicion of collaborating with Spain’s enemies and cast a shadow on his return to Palos on March 15.

On this first voyage many tensions built up that were to remain through all of Columbus’s succeeding efforts. First and perhaps most damaging of all, the admiral’s apparently high religious and even mystical aspirations were incompatible with the realities of trading, competition, and colonization. Columbus never openly acknowledged this gulf and so was quite incapable of bridging it. The admiral also adopted a mode of sanctification and autocratic leadership that made him many enemies. Moreover, Columbus was determined to take back both material and human cargo to his sovereigns and for himself, and this could be accomplished only if his sailors carried on looting, kidnapping, and other violent acts, especially on Hispaniola. Although he did control some of his men’s excesses, these developments blunted his ability to retain the high moral ground and the claim in particular that his “discoveries” were divinely ordained. Further, the Spanish court revived its latent doubts about the foreigner Columbus’s loyalty to Spain, and some of Columbus’s companions set themselves against him. Captain Martín Pinzón had disputed the route as the fleet reached the Bahamas he had later sailed the Pinta away from Cuba, and Columbus, on November 21, failing to rejoin him until January 6. The Pinta made port at Bayona on its homeward journey, separately from Columbus and the Niña. Had Pinzón not died so soon after his return, Columbus’s command of the second voyage might have been less than assured. As it was, the Pinzón family became his rivals for reward.

Why did Christopher Columbus think he had arrived near Japan? - History

Some Sections Written and Others Compiled by Pauly Fongemie

October 12 marks the 515th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World on the same day in 1492, over a century before the Protestant Puritans. In fact many of the oldest cities, including the oldest city, and mapped rivers of America are named after Saints or given their names by both Spanish and French Catholic missionaries. A few examples: St. Augustine, Florida mentioned above San Antonio, Texas San Francisco, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, and Santa Rosa, California. America was intended to be a Catholic country but the Protestants who came after and dominated politically the English colonies, as opposed to the rest of the territories, wanted a Protestant country along the lines of the "Enlightenment", free of the influence of the Catholic Church and the Papacy and monarchy. They were willing to engage in violence to do so, to instigate and provoke the English infantry in order to have a pretext. Sure, they resisted the unjust taxes, but they had other ideas beyond mere tax policy, and to bring the nation they wanted into existence they used unjust means, which not only included the looting and burning of the homes of the innocent, but rousing the populace to armed insurrection by using the Pope as a rallying cry. These marches and demonstrations were known as "Pope's Day" when his image was burned in effigy. The history book, PATRIOTS, by the non-Catholic, but honest historian A.J. Langguth, published by Simon and Schuster, 1988, provides the sordid details. You are referred to pages 20-21, 56, 75-76, and 94 for starters. And this was over two hundred years ago, before the age of PC and irrational hysteria. Imagine! Of course they did not have the ACLU back then, so they had to resort to the old tried and true, ridicule at its worst.

For some time now there has been a lot of mischief afoot in which the reputation of Christopher Columbus has been unduly sullied. It is only a matter of time before the infamous, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, pro-pagan, pro-Muslim ACLU, the SS of the intolerant liberal state, will succeed in having the holiday in remembrance of Columbus changed to something PC, false, demeaning and utterly unjust. Much of the polity is ignorant, thanks to the PC-"sanitized" government schools and is easily swayed when not outright flummoxed before the venom-tipped tongues of those who hate Jesus Christ and hide under the mantle of patriotism and "rights", surely the last refuge of those who betray truth itself.

This brief article is in defense of Columbus, the Catholic Church's missionaries who came because of his discovery, and as a Declaration of Dependence, on God, on reason, on truth, in honor of the truth and the debt we owe Columbus. An addendum includes the truth of the first Thanksgiving.

Who was Christopher Columbus, and why did he sail under the flag of Spain, rather than Italy? Didn't he and the missionaries force the conversion of the Amerinds or Native Americans, morally reprehensible for bringing disease that wiped out whole tribes, and did not he go back to Europe rich from his plunder? Besides, the Italian navigator, Amerigo, from which America gets its name reached America before Columbus, so Columbus ought not be honored in the first place as the discoverer of America. This is what is being broadcast in high and low places.

Christopher Columbus and His Dream

A man's religious beliefs sets the seal of his heart, forms his character, and directs his every action. In short, a man's religion and the devotion it inspires is the history of his story and the story behind the story of history.

"Christopher Columbus had a mystic belief that God intended him to sail the Atlantic Ocean in order to spread Christianity. He said his prayers several times daily. Columbus wrote what he called a Book of Prophecies, which is a compilation of passages Columbus selected from the Bible which he believed were pertinent to his mission of discovery. . Columbus's own writings prove that he believed that God revealed His plan for the world in the Bible, the infallible Word of God. Columbus believed that he was obeying the mission God staked out for his life when he set sail west across the Atlantic Ocean." [5]

The year was 1451 and a son had just been born to the Colombos of Genoa, Italy. The boy, who was the eldest of five children, was Baptized with the name of Christobal [Christopher]. Although his father was a successful weaver---the internet fabric framing the table is a scan of a genuine linen weave from Genoa---Christopher set to sea at the age of 22, taking part in several expeditions, some to the East Indies. His education had not been thorough and he was almost illiterate going by today's standards for most of his youth however, he was bright and taught himself to read and write, especially Spanish, which he found easier than the dialect of Genoa, along with Latin, because maps and geography were in Latin. Columbus is the Latin form of Colombo. From youth Christopher helped his father at the loom while dreaming of a life at sail. It is thought that because Genoa is a port city that the young Columbus would have had some experience on the ships in the harbor.

In 1476, he almost lost his life on a convoy, from Genoa to England on the ship, Bechalla. The ship was attacked off the coast of Portugal and Columbus was wounded the ship was lost. As it sank, he took hold of a long oar and used it as a raft to reach shore. He ended up Ireland after some land travel and back to Portugal, in Lisbon, the following year. His brother Bartholomew had opened a shop that sold charts and nautical instruments there. By then the Portuguese had explored the Azores, colonized the Madeiras and had reached almost to the African equator. The Portuguese were expert seamen and had invented a special type of sailing vessel, called the caravel, designed to gain ground against the wind rather than merely moving with it. These visionary explorers and seamen knew of China and the Orient and hoped to sail there by going around Africa in order to avoid the costly caravans that made spices and other goods very expensive. Columbus thought that it was possible to go west, not east, to reach the same destination. [6]

It is a myth that in Columbus' day it was thought that the world was flat. Actually, long before 1492, experienced cartographers and sailors knew that it was anything but. The lie that people of the 15th century believed that the earth was flat was popularized by 19th century atheists in order to use science in their war against religion. [5b] What these men lacked was an accurate method of calculation and a shorter sea lane to the East. One of the these learned men was an associate of Columbus, a Florentine named Paolo Toscanelli, who believed that Japan was 3,000 nautical miles west of Lisbon. A nautical mile is based on the circumference of the equator and is equal to one minute of the arc of the circumference. Columbus' first plan was to sail to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa and then to Japan. He had mastered more than two languages, but he was not a mathematician and his calculations did not impress those who could back an expedition. Meanwhile he held the rank of captain and had married a Portuguese woman, Felipa de Perestrello. They lived in the Madeiras. She bore him their only son, Diego and died shortly after. It was now 1480.

Five years later Columbus went to Spain to offer his services to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He took his young son with him. About five miles from Palos was a friary called La R a b í da which had a school for young boys. Columbus left Diego there with the friars, one of whom was Father Juan Perez, who became a friend of the navigator and recommended him to the Queen. The King and Queen had were fully engaged staving off the advance of the war-mongering Moors, but Isabella liked the Italian and put him in the service of the court, even though she did not think his calculations for reaching Japan realistic. But by 1492, they had managed to evict the Moors from Granada, the last stronghold of the Islamic invaders, and could now turn their attention to exploration. Some of her advisors were against the employment of Captain Columbus for this endeavor. Her treasurer, Louis de Santangel was not among them and he told her to take him up on his offer. Eager, she offered to sell her jewels to finance the ships and supplies but Louis was able to retrieve the $14,000 needed from the coffers, a small price to pay for the new world.

Columbus made more than one voyage to the American continent. The first one had three wooden vessels, the Santa María, the Pinta, and Niña. The first was manned by a crew of 39 while the other two had 26 and 22 seamen. The only instrument for measuring the distance of the sun was a crude kind of quadrant that was only accurate if the sea was calm. They did have good compasses, however. The tiny fleet sailed from Palos [Cape de Palos today] on August 3, 1492, just before Columbus birthday, which is thought to have been between August 25 and the end of October.

The date "Columbus selected for departure reflected his profound Catholic faith and that of his crew. August 2, 1492 was the fiesta of Our Lady of Angels, patroness of the Franciscan monastery of La Rabída whose friars had supported Columbus and called for the realization of his dream from the beginning and protector of the people of Palos, from which his ships would depart, when they were in danger at sea (as Pope Eugenius IV had proclaimed 55 years before). It was a day of thanksgiving for Our Lady's favors, and like all Spanish fiestas, a day of special celebration. Columbus scheduled his departure on the morrow of the fiesta, so that his men could join in thanksgiving and prayer with their families and relatives on the feast-day especially dear to them and to their people." [4]

The last land sighted was Ferro, in the Canary chain, September 9. From there Columbus, the "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" set the course due west. [6]

"Before Columbus' time all European voyages had followed coastlines, or crossed open seas to lands previously known or at least sighted by storm-driven ships. Only Columbus set off directly across a broad, unknown sea with no specific knowledge of how far it extended or what lay on the other side. . But Columbus undertook his voyage with more evidence that he could complete it than his unfounded assumptions about the size of the world and the distance to Asia. For most of his professional life as a seaman he had ranged the eastern Atlantic, from West Africa to Iceland, in particular spending much time on Portugal's Atlantic islands. He had picked up reliable reports of strange vegetation and carved, hand-worked objects drifting in from the west, even of two bodies of men who were neither whites nor blacks. He had studied the wind patterns of the Atlantic, noting that from the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of North Africa the winds (now called trades) mostly blow from east to west, while further north, on the coast of Portugal and northern Spain and France, the winds (now called prevailing westerlies) blow just as steadily from west to east. Therefore he could sail west with the trades and home with the westerlies, with the winds fair both ways. No other man of his time had thought of that.

"The vegetation and the carved objects and the bodies could not have floated all the way from Asia to Europe if they were as far apart as the experts claimed who believed the world to be larger than Columbus had calculated. He was sure---and he was right---that there was land to the west within reach of the sailing ships fifteenth-century Europe had. He was convinced that God had chosen him to reach that land, hidden from the Western world for ages, which the Roman philosopher Seneca had once prophesied would be revealed. His discovery would bring the Catholic Faith, to which he was devoted, to the people who lived in that land.

"It is for the boldness of his conception and his magnificent courage in laying his life on the line to carry it out that Christopher Columbus is most rightly honored. It was these qualities that Queen Isabella of Spain recognized in him, that caused her to override the cautious advice of counselors doubtful that such an unprecedented enterprise could succeed. Isabella knew nothing of navigation and little of world geography, but she was a superb judge of men and women. It was to Columbus the man and to Columbus the devoted Catholic that she gave her support. She believed in him---believed that he could achieve the goal to which he was so passionately committed." [4]

Most of that first voyage was relatively calm and easy as the winds were favorable. The only problem was from some of the crew who grew afraid the further and further they sailed without sighting land. They had been before the mast for three weeks, the longest known time that anyone had ever sailed in the same direction out of sight from land and Columbus struggled to overcome their trepidation. He told the men that he "had sailed to go to the Indies and would continue until he found them, with the Lord's help." "Adelante! Adelante!" [Sail on! Sail on!]

It was now October 10 and they agreed to continue for three more days, then return if land was not found. Just two days later, the island that Columbus named after our Savior, San Salvador, was sighted at two in the morning. Before noon Columbus had disembarked at Fernandez Bay and claimed the land for Spain. He still thought he was near the East Indies or Japan. There were men who came to greet them in all felicity, the Arawak, whom he named Indians because of his mistaken notion. And this is how the Amerinds became to be known as Indians and the islands he found, the West Indies. the little fleet remained there for until late in the month when it entered Cuba on October 28. Thinking this was China he and the men explored several of the harbors, from Punta Brava to Cape Maisi Captain Columbus sent men up to Holguín because he though that this must be Peking. he had a letter in his possession from the King and Queen for the Emperor. Instead the men found the natives smoking cigars---the first an European had seen of tobacco. From Cape Maisi the ships crossed the Windward Passage, a strait in the Caribbean Sea, between the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. He named the new island Hispaniola, "little Spain" because the climate and trees reminded him of Spain. [6]

"Columbus was entranced by the beauty and promise of the lands he had found, but greatly disappointed to find no gold anywhere but on Hispaniola, and only a little there. It is easy for us, with universally accepted paper money and a computerized banking system, to mock or scorn the Spanish search for gold. But gold was then the essence of wealth, the only universally acceptable medium of exchange, both for governments and individuals, throughout Europe and the Middle East. To pay for Columbus' expeditions it was necessary to find gold, for it would be many years before a profitable transatlantic trade in any other commodity could be developed---even apart from his greater hopes for giving his adopted country of Spain a large return on the investment made in him and his project.

"Exploring these totally unknown coasts---it is worth taking a moment to attempt seriously to imagine the risks of taking a sailing ship along a coast where no large ship has ever gone before, where there are no buoys, no lighthouses, and no charts---Columbus and his men became so exhausted that on Christmas Eve of 1492, no one was left awake on Santa Maria but one sleepy cabin boy. With him at the wheel where he was never supposed to have been, the ship ran aground, and could not be freed. Columbus had to abandon her, and leave most of her crew behind in a fort made from her timbers." [4]

After a storm-tossed passage with much prayer, the ragged fleet arrived at Palos, from whence they had set sail. Our Captain made for Barcelona where the King and Queen were staying. He had no gold to bring, but a sort of treasure in its own way, strange new plants of a medicinal nature, seeds, gourds, cotton and fruit and even some birds. [3]

Queen Isabella was not as disappointed as one would think. She was delighted to hear about the new world he had found. Most thought that he would retire after his discovery. But God had another destiny in store for Columbus who wanted to bring the Catholic Faith to the Indies. This pleased Isabella who was known for her pious faith and zeal for the Church. So in 1493, he set sail once again but with a larger fleet. [1]

The cadre of seventeen ships carrying colonists, priests, officials, gentlemen of the court, and horses, left Cadiz on September 25, 1493 and reached the new world in just three weeks. His flagship was still named after Our Lady, this time bearing the title Mariagalante, the name he gave to an island in the West Indies.

Columbus established the first colony of Santo Domingo and became the governor of the island.

"When he had first arrived at Hispaniola he found that the men from wrecked Santa Maria whom he had left behind had broken discipline, attacked the Indians, and been massacred. Though later investigation established with reasonable clarity that the Spaniards were to blame, at the time---in view of the continuing difficulty of communication---no one could be sure, and many blamed the Indians. Columbus---by royal grant governor of all the lands he found---established a new and larger colony, and a fort in the gold-producing region of Hispaniola, selecting Pedro Margarit to command its garrison.

"Soon Columbus left for more exploration, without waiting to see how his men would behave on the island or even making it clear just how much authority his brother Bartholomew, who was put in command of the colony, had over it and especially over Margarit and his garrison of the distant fort in the gold-producing region. It was the first example of the unfortunate but hardly surprising fact that this great explorer much preferred being at sea to being ashore, that his immense talents did not include a capability for administration. Furthermore, he tended to be disliked by many Spanish because he was a foreigner, an Italian.

"Exploring Cuba almost to its western tip and then beating his way slowly back against the trade winds, Columbus was absent from his new colony for no less than five months, which proved more than time enough for disaster. Pedro Margarit ravaged the countryside around his fort, extorting gold, food, and women. Bartholomew Columbus tried to stop him, but Margarit claimed he had independent authority from his brother. When Margarit had collected a considerable amount of gold he simply seized three of Columbus' ships and sailed back to Spain in them. When Columbus finally returned from his five months' voyage, he was prostrated by a severe fever after recovering from that, he was crippled for weeks with arthritis.

"Unable to control the Spaniards on the island, Columbus blamed the Indians for his troubles and the very small production of gold. In January 1495 he seized over a thousand Indians to make them slaves. There can be no excuse for this, but it is very important to remember that it was contrary to Spanish law and vigorously countermanded by Queen Isabella as soon as she found out about it. She declared firmly that no one had authorized her Admiral to treat 'her subjects' in this manner, released the Indian captives who had been brought to Spain, and made clear her unalterable opposition to enslavement of the Indians. She then sent a former member of her household named Juan Aguado to investigate what Columbus was doing as governor of Hispaniola and report back to her.

"Before Aguado could reach Hispaniola, full-scale war with its Indians had broken out because of Columbus' seizure of the slaves. The Spaniards easily won all military engagements with the Indians, demanded from them a tribute in gold too much for them to collect, and ravaged their lands and pursued them into the mountains when they did not collect it. Aguado's arrival forced Columbus to stop all of this, and he returned to Spain in June 1496.

"On Hispaniola, Columbus eventually agreed to grant each Spaniard a substantial tract of cultivated land with a number of Indians to till it. This was the origin of the repartimiento or encomienda system, formalized into law on Hispaniola in 1503, which Bartholomew de Las Casas, the "apostle to the Indians," spent his life fighting, and which Isabella's grandson, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, was to struggle desperately and with only limited success to eliminate. If not quite slavery, the repartimiento system was certainly serfdom, imposed upon a people who had no custom or tradition of regular hard work on the land and would often die quickly if forced to do it.

"However, by no means all or even most of the Indians lived and worked as encomenderos. Others worked in the mines, and although sometimes this was forced labor, a substantial number worked voluntarily there for pay. Others fled to the mountains where they long remained entirely free of the Spanish government. Many Indian women entered Spanish households, not only as servants and mistresses but as wives. The oft-denounced oppression existed, but so did good treatment and opportunity.

"Finally deciding that Columbus was simply not competent to govern a colony, Isabella relieved him of that duty and sent Francisco de Bobadilla to replace him. Bobadilla arrived in Hispaniola in August 1500, put Columbus under arrest, seized his papers and property, and sent him back to Spain in chains. When he arrived, Isabella had the chains removed at once but she did not reinstate Columbus as governor, even when Bobadilla also began to abuse the Indians. A third governor, Nicholas de Ovando, was sent out in 1501 with orders to force Bobadilla to restore the property he had taken from Columbus.

"In 1502 Columbus sailed on his fourth and last voyage. After surviving a hurricane with all four of his ships that sunk every ship but one of the returning flotilla carrying Bobadilla and his ill-gotten gains, Columbus reached the Central American mainland at Honduras, where he landed and took formal possession of this previously unknown coast for Spain. Through September he beat southward along the coasts of what are now Nicaragua and Costa Rica, hoping to find a strait which would be a sea approach to civilized Asia. All during the fall and on into the winter he explored the coasts of Panama, where the American continent is in fact at its narrowest---though it does not appear Columbus knew that---in the hope of finding the desired strait.

"He carried on until Easter of 1503, when his ships were so riddled by holes made by the teredo or shipworm (previously unknown to European mariners) that he had to beach them on Jamaica. By the time he was finally rescued and returned to Spain, the great Queen Isabella was dying.

"Ten days after her death Columbus wrote to his son Diego:

The most important thing is to commend lovingly and with much devotion the soul of the Queen our lady, to God. Her life was always Catholic and holy, and prompt in all things in His holy service. Because of this we should believe that she is in holy glory, and beyond the cares of this harsh and weary world.

"Columbus knew how much he owed Queen Isabella, and repaid her with these words of appreciation and devotion even as he knew that his own work was finished and his life nearly so. He died two years later, in near-poverty and already almost forgotten by the court.

"From this record it should be clear that, despite occasional lashing out at the Indians, Columbus was never their systematic oppressor, but simply unable to control the Spaniards on land who were supposed to be under his command. If he had only been willing to confine himself to what he did so superlatively well---sailing and exploring---few if any could have traduced his memory. But because he insisted on remaining governor of the lands he had discovered, his reputation was blackened by the atrocities that occurred during the period when he still had final responsibility for their governance. But it is Columbus the discoverer and explorer whom we truly celebrate and honor, not Columbus the civil governor. His personal influence on the ultimate fate of the Indians of the Caribbean was slight in no significant way did he change what their history would have been without him, once the discovery was made.

"Within thirty to forty years the Indians of the Caribbean islands had disappeared as a distinct population, the greater part of them dying from diseases brought first by the white men, then by the black slaves they began to introduce [this had nothing to do with Columbus]. There were not nearly as many Caribbean natives as the Indians' champion Las Casas believed modern researchers estimate a population of about 100,000 for Hispaniola when Columbus arrived, and substantially less than that for Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. The great population decline did not begin until 1508, after Columbus' death. Smallpox and malaria, the most deadly plagues in the history of Europe except for the Black Death, along with yellow fever from Africa, were the principal killers. In the state of medical knowledge of that time, there was no help for this mortality and no escape from it. The mingling of the peoples of the Old and New World, never before brought into contact with one another, carried this heavy and unavoidable price.

"Ultimately the American Indians as well as the Europeans benefited from Columbus' great discovery. An interracial culture developed in much of Latin America, notably in Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. Human sacrifice and cannibalism were ended, and the Indians were almost all converted to Christianity. Large-scale evangelization began with the arrival of a group of Franciscans in Hispaniola in 1500 and continued steadily from then on. Though many Indians were long held in a state of virtual serfdom and some were forced contrary to law to work against their will for long periods of time in gold and silver mines, none were enslaved after the first colonial generation. Spanish law never recognized Indian slavery. And, back in Spain, a prolonged debate at the highest levels of Church and state finally convinced the highest authorities of both---the bishops and the King---Emperor Charles V---that the Indians had souls equal before God to the souls of white men, and rights equal before the law to the rights of any Spaniard." [4]

"Columbus was a flawed hero---as all men are flawed, including heroes---and his flaws are of a kind particularly offensive to today's culture. But he was nevertheless a hero, achieving in a manner unequaled in the history of exploration and the sea, changing history forever. For some strange reason heroism is almost anathema to our age, at least to many of its most vocal spokesmen. But heroes and the inspiration they give are essential to uplift men and women without them, faceless mediocrity will soon descend into apathy and degradation. Heroes need not be perfect indeed, given the fallen nature of man, none can be perfect. It is right to criticize their failings, but wrong to deny their greatness and the inspiration they can give." [4]

Christopher Columbus died on May 20, 1506 in obscurity and near poverty in Valladolid, Spain in a rooming house. Later his remains were moved to the Dominican Republic. It is thought that arthritis was the main contributor to his death. His family never received any monies still owed to him by the Spanish Crown.

"Christopher Columbus is the discoverer of America, and by that discovery ultimately responsible for America's evangelization and for this we should forever honor him." [4]

Addendum: The Real First Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving in America is not the one celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, as most Americans are taught in the government schools. The first Thanksgiving to the one true God in the one true Church was held eighty years before the Puritans' event:

In 1539, Francisco Coronado led a large expedition that included five Franciscan missionaries from Mexico. He also brought settlers, native Mexican Catholics, horses, mules, sheep, cows, pigs, and goats. The expedition reached what is now Arizona and found Indian pueblos. After establishing a camp there, Coronado headed east to establish a base near what is now Albuquerque, New Mexico. When they crossed the river now known as the Rio Grande, they named it Rio de Nuestra Senora or the "River of Our Lady", the original name on the first maps of the region.

No "cities of gold" were found, but Coronado continued with exploration, sending missionaries each time, giving lie to the myth that his main concern was gold. Gold was needed to fund expeditions, it and was not sought wealth itself. Spreading the one true Faith among the Amerinds was of chief importance.

"In April of 1541, Coronado, with a group of soldiers and some missionaries, left Albuquerque, New Mexico, headed northeast, and crossed a section of what is now northwest Texas (the Panhandle). In encountering some of the local Indians, the missionaries found that the natives were immediately open to receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After a few weeks of instruction, members of the Jumano Indian tribe converted and received Baptism. The expedition then arrived in Palo Duro Canyon where, on May 29, Father Juan Padilla, O.F.M., offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (Father Padilla would eventually become the very first martyr of the Faith in America when he was killed in 1542, in what is now Kansas.) A Thanksgiving feast followed the Mass. It consisted of game that had earlier been caught. The feast was celebrated in thanksgiving to God for His many blessings and for the recent converts. This event is the first actual Thanksgiving Day celebrated in the future United States.

"It is only now that we can turn to the story of the Pilgrims and their Thanksgiving. After a long and harsh winter, the Pilgrims received help from the Wampanoag Indians in planting crops during the spring of 1621. They worked hard and in autumn had a very good harvest. In November of 1621 they invited the local Indians, who were still pagan and worshipped false gods, to feast with them and give thanks to God for the blessings of a successful harvest. The Catholic student of history should recognize that it is impossible to give thanks to the same God, let alone the true God, when those involved believe in different gods. But this apparently didn't bother anyone. The event was not celebrated yearly by the Pilgrims, as many think, nor by anyone in the original thirteen colonies for years. Though George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving while he was President, it was not celebrated as a yearly holiday feast until Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving Day as a holiday in November.

"So now we know that the Pilgrims did not celebrate the first Thanksgiving in America. The first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated back in 1598, in New Mexico, by Spanish-Catholic colonists and Indian converts to the Faith. They thanked the true God for bringing them safely through many troubles and dangers and for the fact that the seed of the Gospel of Christ was beginning to take root. Because of the often anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic prejudice of English-speaking Protestants, generations of Americans have never learned this fact of our history." [5c]

Columbus reports on his first voyage, 1493

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Spain to find an all-water route to Asia. On October 12, more than two months later, Columbus landed on an island in the Bahamas that he called San Salvador the natives called it Guanahani.

For nearly five months, Columbus explored the Caribbean, particularly the islands of Juana (Cuba) and Hispaniola (Santo Domingo), before returning to Spain. He left thirty-nine men to build a settlement called La Navidad in present-day Haiti. He also kidnapped several Native Americans (between ten and twenty-five) to take back to Spain—only eight survived. Columbus brought back small amounts of gold as well as native birds and plants to show the richness of the continent he believed to be Asia.

When Columbus arrived back in Spain on March 15, 1493, he immediately wrote a letter announcing his discoveries to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who had helped finance his trip. The letter was written in Spanish and sent to Rome, where it was printed in Latin by Stephan Plannck. Plannck mistakenly left Queen Isabella’s name out of the pamphlet’s introduction but quickly realized his error and reprinted the pamphlet a few days later. The copy shown here is the second, corrected edition of the pamphlet.

The Latin printing of this letter announced the existence of the American continent throughout Europe. “I discovered many islands inhabited by numerous people. I took possession of all of them for our most fortunate King by making public proclamation and unfurling his standard, no one making any resistance,” Columbus wrote.

In addition to announcing his momentous discovery, Columbus’s letter also provides observations of the native people’s culture and lack of weapons, noting that “they are destitute of arms, which are entirely unknown to them, and for which they are not adapted not on account of any bodily deformity, for they are well made, but because they are timid and full of terror.” Writing that the natives are “fearful and timid . . . guileless and honest,” Columbus declares that the land could easily be conquered by Spain, and the natives “might become Christians and inclined to love our King and Queen and Princes and all the people of Spain.”

An English translation of this document is available.


I have determined to write you this letter to inform you of everything that has been done and discovered in this voyage of mine.

On the thirty-third day after leaving Cadiz I came into the Indian Sea, where I discovered many islands inhabited by numerous people. I took possession of all of them for our most fortunate King by making public proclamation and unfurling his standard, no one making any resistance. The island called Juana, as well as the others in its neighborhood, is exceedingly fertile. It has numerous harbors on all sides, very safe and wide, above comparison with any I have ever seen. Through it flow many very broad and health-giving rivers and there are in it numerous very lofty mountains. All these island are very beautiful, and of quite different shapes easy to be traversed, and full of the greatest variety of trees reaching to the stars. . . .

In the island, which I have said before was called Hispana, there are very lofty and beautiful mountains, great farms, groves and fields, most fertile both for cultivation and for pasturage, and well adapted for constructing buildings. The convenience of the harbors in this island, and the excellence of the rivers, in volume and salubrity, surpass human belief, unless on should see them. In it the trees, pasture-lands and fruits different much from those of Juana. Besides, this Hispana abounds in various kinds of species, gold and metals. The inhabitants . . . are all, as I said before, unprovided with any sort of iron, and they are destitute of arms, which are entirely unknown to them, and for which they are not adapted not on account of any bodily deformity, for they are well made, but because they are timid and full of terror. . . . But when they see that they are safe, and all fear is banished, they are very guileless and honest, and very liberal of all they have. No one refuses the asker anything that he possesses on the contrary they themselves invite us to ask for it. They manifest the greatest affection towards all of us, exchanging valuable things for trifles, content with the very least thing or nothing at all. . . . I gave them many beautiful and pleasing things, which I had brought with me, for no return whatever, in order to win their affection, and that they might become Christians and inclined to love our King and Queen and Princes and all the people of Spain and that they might be eager to search for and gather and give to us what they abound in and we greatly need.

7 'Facts' They Got Wrong in School About Christopher Columbus

Don't believe everything you learned in elementary school. Our rose-colored image of Christopher Columbus, daring discoverer of America, is largely based on Washington Irving's 1828 biography, "A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus," much of which was invented. The real history of Columbus is far more complicated, controversial — and interesting.

Let's dispel some of the most pervasive myths about the divisive figure of Christopher Columbus, starting with how people viewed the world in the 15th century.

1. Columbus Set Out to Prove the World Was Round

Contrary to what Irving wrote in his biography, Columbus was not a solitary geographical genius surrounded by a bunch of flat-Earthers. The fact that Earth is round was well-established in 15th-century scientific circles. What was still unknown was the size of the planet.

Columbus's gamble was that the Earth was really small. He calculated that the distance from Spain to Japan, sailing West, was only 2,400 miles. In fact, it's closer to 11,000 miles and there are two continents in the way. Not only was Columbus wildly wrong about the circumference of the Earth, but he thought it was pear-shaped instead of a sphere.

2. Columbus Was Italian

This is a touchy subject, since Italian-Americans are some of Columbus's greatest supporters and defenders. But if we're going to be historically accurate, Columbus couldn't have been Italian, because Italy wasn't a thing until 1861.

Columbus was born in Genoa, a port city in the northern region of Liguria in modern-day Italy. But the Kingdom of Italy wasn't unified until 1861, more than 350 years after Columbus sailed to America. In Columbus's day, Genoa was an independent republic with its own language and currency. Complicating matters was that Columbus left Genoa early and made his name in Portugal and Spain.

Italian-Americans latched on to Columbus in the late 19th century to combat virulent discrimination against Italian immigrants. Italian-American communities in cities like San Francisco began holding annual Columbus Day parades to celebrate an American hero with Italian heritage, and to promote Italian contributions to American society and culture.

3. Columbus Discovered America

Ask any random first-grader, "Who discovered America?" and they'll proudly tell you it was Christopher Columbus. Heck, ask most 50-year-olds and they'll give the same answer. But there are several serious problems with that claim.

Even if we ignore the fact that millions of indigenous people had lived in the land now known as North America for more than 10,000 years before Columbus "discovered" it, Columbus was still not the first European to make landfall in the New World. Historians and archeologists agree that Viking explorers and possibly Leif Erikson himself established colonies along the eastern coast of Canada as early as the 10th century.

But even if you ignore both the indigenous issue and the Viking claims, you're still stuck with the fact that Columbus never set foot in North America. Columbus's first expedition landed on a small island in the Bahamas Oct. 12, 1492. Subsequent expeditions came ashore in Cuba, Jamaica and Hispaniola, among other islands. While these islands are most certainly part of "the Americas," none of Columbus's expeditions found what most Americans would consider "America."

4. Columbus's Ships Were the Niña, Pinta and the Santa Maria

Well, this one is only half false. Columbus and his crew may have called the three ships the Niña, Pinta and the Santa Maria, but those were probably just nicknames.

The Niña was not the ship's official name. The small caravel-style vessel was originally called the Santa Clara, but dubbed the Niña ("girl" in Spanish) by the sailors in homage to the ship's owner, Juan Niño. No one knows what the original name of the Pinta was, but some historians speculate that nickname was short for la pintada or "the painted lady," a possible reference to a prostitute.

For the Santa Maria, one story is that it was a name given by Columbus to a ship originally called la Gallega or Santa Gallega because its owner was from the Spanish region of Galicia. The more colorful explanation is that the "saintly" name is another nod to a favorite prostitute named Maria Galante.

5. Columbus Thought He Had Discovered a New Continent

Nope. Columbus had no idea that he had accidentally found the edge of two massive continents equaling nearly 40 percent of the world's total landmass. Instead, he died convinced that he had discovered a Western sailing route to Asia or the "East Indies." That's why he called the local indigenous tribes "Indians," of course.

Instead of thinking that he had discovered some truly unknown "New World," Columbus believed that he had merely landed on some Asian islands that hadn't been described by Marco Polo. Incredibly, Columbus came this close to being the first European in South America, but he mistook the coast of Venezuela for mainland China and wasn't interested in pursuing it further.

6. Columbus Was a Genocidal Murderer

In recent decades, Columbus has been vilified by critics who blame him for the eventual deaths of millions of native people who contracted European diseases or fell to the sword of conquistadors and colonists. While that's a lot of death to place on the shoulders of one man, Columbus's direct interactions with the Taíno natives on Hispaniola were also disastrous.

It's estimated that 300,000 Taíno lived on Hispaniola in 1492. Just 16 years later, that number had dwindled to 60,000. By 1548, only 500 remained, according to Columbus biographer Laurence Bergreen. As many as 50,000 are believed to have committed mass suicide rather than to live under Spanish rule.

Columbus's fiercest critics label him a murderer who willfully committed genocide. Kris Lane, a historian of colonial Latin America, disagrees. Lane recognizes Columbus's personal crimes, which included rounding up and selling natives as slaves, and working some Taíno to death in gold mines. But he doesn't believe that Columbus was intent on wiping the Indians out, even if that was the result.

"Was Columbus an active protector of Native Americans?" wrote Lane in the Washington Post. "No. Did he wish to eliminate them? No. Did genocide directly result from his decrees and his family's commercial aims? Yes."

7. Columbus Was a Respected and Beloved Leader

It wasn't just American Indians who suffered under Columbus. Even if we include the caveat that he was "a man of his time," it's hard to dismiss the evidence that he was a tyrannical and even cruel leader who often imposed his will on his Spanish subjects through violence and fear tactics.

In "Columbus: The Four Voyages," author Lawrence Bergreen published firsthand accounts of Columbus's oppressive methods as the leader of the Spanish settlement on Hispaniola. He was fond of public beatings and whippings, cutting out a woman's tongue for "speaking ill" of Columbus and his brothers, hanging other Spaniards for stealing bread, and ordering vicious lashings for crimes as petty as not properly stocking Columbus's pantry.

When King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella sent an officer of the Spanish crown to assist Columbus, the man found a colony devolved into rebellion and chaos. When Columbus refused to follow the officer's orders, Columbus was arrested and sent back to Spain in shackles.

The movement to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day started back in 1977 at a United Nations International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations. At least eight states and 130 cities have now made the switch.

Why did Christopher Columbus think he had arrived near Japan? - History

On April 17, 1492, before his first voyage to the Americas, Columbus negotiated a business contract with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, entitling him to 10% of all profits. In this contract, the Spanish sovereigns agreed:

After his fourth and final voyage to the Americas, Columbus summed up his feelings about gold in a July 7, 1503, letter to Ferdinand and Isabella: "Gold is most excellent gold is treasure, and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in this world." [2]

Beyond profits, Columbus sought to convert native people to Catholicism. In the prologue to his journal of the first voyage, Columbus wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella:

On October 12, 1492 (the first day he encountered the native people of the Americas), Columbus wrote in his journal: "They should be good servants . I, our Lord being pleased, will take hence, at the time of my departure, six natives for your Highnesses." These captives were later paraded through the streets of Barcelona and Seville when Columbus returned to Spain. [4]

From his very first contact with native people, Columbus had their domination in mind. For example, on October 14, 1492, Columbus wrote in his journal, "with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them." [5] These were not mere words: after his second voyage, Columbus sent back a consignment of natives to be sold as slaves. [6]

Yet in an April, 1493, letter to Luis de Santangel (a patron who helped fund the first voyage), Columbus made clear that the people he encountered had done nothing to deserve ill treatment. According to Columbus:

Nonetheless, later in the letter Columbus went on to say:

Following Columbus' discovery, Pope Alexander VI issued a May 4, 1493, papal bull granting official ownership of the New World to Ferdinand and Isabella. To these monarchs, the Pope declared:

This decree did not go unchallenged. Francis I of France, for example, later quipped: "The sun shines on me as well as on others. I should be very happy to see the clause in Adam's will which excluded me from my share when the world was being divided." [10]

Nonetheless, the Pope's declaration ultimately had dire consequences for native inhabitants of the Americas. Beginning in 1514 Spanish conquerors adopted "the Requirement," an ultimatum in which Indians were forced to accept "the Church as the Ruler and Superior of the whole world" or face persecution. If Indians did not immediately comply, the Requirement warned them:

Often the Requirement was read to Indians without translation, or in some cases even from ships before crew members landed to kill Indians and take slaves. [12]

Since 1971 Columbus Day has been celebrated in the U.S. as federal holiday, and on October 9, 2002, President George W. Bush issued a presidential proclamation celebrating "Columbus' bold expedition [and] pioneering achievements," directing that "the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of Christopher Columbus." [13]

Missing from this proclamation was any mention of violence, slavery, religious persecution, or the pursuit of gold. Yet Columbus himself was more forthcoming about how he should be remembered. In a letter penned a few years before his death, Columbus wrote: "I ought to be judged as a captain who for such a long time up to this day has borne arms without laying them aside for an hour." [14]

&ldquoI went to sea from the most tender age and have continued in a sea life to this day. Whoever gives himself up to this art wants to know the secrets of Nature here below. It is more than forty years that I have been thus engaged. Wherever any one has sailed, there I have sailed.&rdquo

&ldquoSpeaking of myself, little profit had I won from twenty years of service, during which I have served with so great labors and perils, for today I have no roof over my head in Castile if I wish to sleep or eat, I have no place to which to go, save an inn or tavern, and most often I lack the wherewithal to pay the score.&rdquo

&ldquoThey say that there is in that land an infinite amount of gold, and that the people wear corals on their heads and very large bracelets of coral on their feet and arms and that with coral they adorn and inlay chairs and chests and tables.&rdquo

&ldquoThis island and all the others are very fertile to a limitless degree, and this island is extremely so. In it there are many harbors on the coast of the sea, beyond comparison with others that I know in Christendom, and many rivers, good and large, which is marvellous.&rdquo

&ldquoOur Almighty God has shown me the highest favor, which, since David, he has not shown to anybody.&rdquo

&ldquoAlready the road is opened to gold and pearls, and it may surely be hoped that precious stones, spices, and a thousand other things, will also be found.&rdquo

&ldquoI have now seen so much irregularity, that I have come to another conclusion respecting the earth, namely, that it is not round as they describe, but of the form of a pear.&rdquo

&ldquoIn all the countries visited by your Highnesses' ships, I have caused a high cross to be fixed upon every headland, and have proclaimed, to every nation that I have discovered, the lofty estate of your Highnesses, and of your court in Spain.&rdquo

&ldquoThus the story of Christopher Columbus reminds us that all fruitful exploration and discovery begins with a willingness to set one's sails higher, to seek new horizons, and to follow wherever one's imagination and experience might lead. It also reminds us that industry and labor are the foundation of learning and progress.&rdquo (George H.W. Bush)&rdquo

&ldquoI ought to be judged as a captain sent from Spain to the Indies, to conquer a nation numerous and warlike, with customs and religions altogether different to ours.&rdquo


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  2. Whitcomb

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