10 Things You May Not Know About Christopher Columbus
- Columbus didn’t set out to prove the earth was round. Forget those myths perpetuated by everyone from Washington Irving to Bugs Bunny. ...
- Columbus was likely not the first European to cross the Atlantic Ocean. ...
- Three countries refused to back Columbus’ voyage. ...
- Nina and Pinta were not the actual names of two of Columbus’ three ships. ...
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Oct 08, 2015 · Christopher Columbus wasn't Italian? Kris Lane, professor of colonial Latin American history at Tulane University, busts five myths about the explorer.
A painting depicts Christopher Columbus and shipmates landing at sunrise Oct. 12, 1492, on the island he named San Salvador. The Disembarkation of Christopher Columbus with Companions on Three Launches, 1892, by Ivan Aivazovsky / Wikimedia Commons
- Death and legacy
Monday is Columbus Day, time to buy appliances on sale and contemplate other things that have nothing to do with Christopher Columbus. So much of what we say about Columbus is either wholly untrue or greatly exaggerated. Here are a few of the top offenders.
If he did, he was about 2,000 years too late. Ancient Greek mathematicians had already proven that the Earth was round, not flat. Pythagoras in the sixth century B.C.E. was one of the originators of the idea. Aristotle in the fourth century B.C.E. provided the physical evidence, such as the shadow of the Earth on the moon and the curvature of the Earth known by all sailors approaching land. And by the third century B.C.E., Eratosthenes determined the Earth's shape and circumference using basic geometry. In the second century C.E., Claudius Ptolemy wrote the \\"Almagest,\\" the mathematical and astronomical treatise on planetary shapes and motions, describing the spherical Earth. This text was well known throughout educated Europe in Columbus' time. [Related: Earth Is Flat in Many People's Minds]
Yes, let's ignore the fact that millions of humans already inhabited this land later to be called the Americas, having discovered it millennia before. And let's ignore that whole Leif Ericson voyage to Greenland and modern-day Canada around 1000 C.M.E. If Columbus discovered America, he himself didn't know. Until his death he claimed to have landed in Asia, even though most navigators knew he didn't. [Top 10 Intrepid Explorers]
But aside from descriptions of syphilis-like lesions by Hippocrates, many researchers believe that there was a syphilis outbreak in, of all places, a 13th-century Augustinian friary in the English port of Kingston upon Hull. This coastal city saw a continual influx of sailors from distant lands, and you know what sailors can do. Carbon dating and DNA analysis of bones from the friary support the theory of syphilis being a worldwide disease before Columbus' voyages.
Columbus wasn't a rich man when he died in Spain at age 54 in 1506. But he wasn't impoverished. He was living comfortably, economically speaking, in an apartment in Valladolid, Crown of Castile, in present-day Spain, albeit in pain from severe arthritis. Columbus had been arrested years prior on accusations of tyranny and brutality toward native peoples of the Americas. But he was released by King Ferdinand after six weeks in prison. He was subsequently denied most of the profits of his discoveries promised to him by Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.
After his death, though, his family sued the royal crown, a famous lawsuit known as the Pleitos colombinos, or Columbian lawsuits, lasting nearly 20 years. Columbus' heirs ultimately secured significant amounts of property and other riches from the crown. Also, most European navigators understood by the end of the 15th century, before his death, that Columbus had discovered islands and a large landmass unknown to them.
With all this talk of a hapless Columbus accidentally discovering the New World, as well as the subsequent genocide of native cultures, it is easy to understand the current backlash against Columbus and the national holiday called Columbus Day, celebrated throughout North and South America. This isn't entirely fair. While Columbus was wrong about most things, he did help establish knowledge about trade winds, namely the lower-latitude easterlies that blow toward the Caribbean and the higher-latitude westerlies that can blow a ship back to Western Europe. Also, while Columbus wasn't the first European to reach the Western Hemisphere, he was the first European to stay. His voyages directly initiated a permanent presence of Europeans in both North and South America.
News of the success of his first voyage spread like wildfire through Europe, setting the stage for an era of European conquest. One can argue whether the conquest was good or bad for humanity: that is, the spread of Christianity, rise of modernism, exploitation and annihilation of native cultures, and so on. But it is difficult to deny Columbus' direct role in quickly and radically changing the world.
Christopher Wanjek is the author of the books \\"Bad Medicine\\" and \\"Food At Work.\\" His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on LiveScience.
Learn the facts versus the myths surrounding Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer whose voyage of discovery to the New World in 1492 linked Europe and the Americas and began a new age of exploration.
Christopher Columbus Enslaved the Native People for Gold Because Columbus reported a plethora of Natives for slaves, rivers of gold and fertile pastures to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, Columbus was given 17 ships and more than 1,200 men on his next expedition.
- Columbus proved the "flat Earth" theory wrong. In an early scene in the 1992 Ridley Scott film "1492: Conquest of Paradise," Columbus, played by Gerard Depardieu, gazes out at the Atlantic Ocean with his son.
- Columbus was Italian. The National Italian American Foundation calls the Columbus Day parade in New York "the most visible and accessible manifestation of our Italian American Pride," and Italian Americans have led efforts to oppose changes to the holiday's focus nationwide.
- Columbus was a successful businessman and a model leader. An early American archetype, Columbus has long served as a model entrepreneur. Columbus Day blog posts and articles have included "3 Business Lessons Learned from Christopher Columbus" and "5 Lessons in Leadership Effectiveness from Christopher Columbus."
- Columbus committed genocide. On Columbus Day in 1989, the late Native American activist Russell Means led an American Indian Movement protest, pouring buckets of fake blood over the Columbus statue in downtown Denver while Italian Americans paraded in the streets.
- Dave Roos
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 TRUTH ABOUT COLUMBUS. Neither a perfect man, nor the historic villain that recent critics have sought to make him, Christopher Columbus was actually a man ahead of his time whose vision and discovery changed the course of world history by connecting the peoples of the world for the first time.
Aug 31, 2018 · 1. Columbus didn’t set out to prove the earth was round. Forget those myths perpetuated by everyone from Washington Irving to Bugs Bunny. There was no need for Columbus to debunk the flat ...
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- The Age of Discovery. During the 15th and 16th centuries, leaders of several European nations sponsored expeditions abroad in the hope that explorers would find great wealth and vast undiscovered lands.
- Christopher Columbus: Early Life. Christopher Columbus, the son of a wool merchant, is believed to have been born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. When he was still a teenager, he got a job on a merchant ship.
- The First Voyage. At the end of the 15th century, it was nearly impossible to reach Asia from Europe by land. The route was long and arduous, and encounters with hostile armies were difficult to avoid.
- Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria. On August 3, 1492, Columbus and his crew set sail from Spain in three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. On October 12, the ships made landfall—not in the East Indies, as Columbus assumed, but on one of the Bahamian islands, likely San Salvador.