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Pengantar

Cerita tentang Columbus pertama kali saya dengar saat belajar sejarah dunia di Don Bosco high School Padang tahun 1962, setelah itu saya berusaha mencari informasi tetapi tidak pernah sewcara lengkap,karena kesibukan sekolah dan kemudian berkerja yang snagt sibuk hanya sedikit informasi yang dapat ditemui,baru saat pension tahun 2001 saya punya banyak kesempatan meneruskan hobi sejarah saya menemui sebuah buku ensiklopedia tahun 1952 yang isinya sangat menarik karena dari ksiah tragis menimpa Columbus pada ekspidisi terakhir ia di tangkap, mengapa bisa terjadi seperti itu ? Hal ini perlu menjadi pelajaran bagi generasi penerus ,agar hal yang baik dari Columbus dapat dijadikan pedoman dan diteruskan tetapi hal yang jelek jangan diulang, belajarlah dari sejarah, maka kemudian secara serius saya kumpulkan seluruh informasi terkait Columbus dan akhirnya terjawablah tentang keberhasilan dan kegagalan Columbus.Untuk menambah informasi dalam pengantar ini saya kutip dari ensikopodia indesia tahun 1952

 Hal 337

Columbus pada tanggal 3 Agustus 1942  ia bertolak dan tanggal 14 Oktober mendarat di pulau Guanahani ,salah satu pulau dari kepulaan Bahamas ,selanjutnya ia  menemukan pulau Cuba  dan Haiti(Hispanola)  dan bulan Januari 11493 kembali ia .

Pelayaran kedua  tahun 1493-1496 dan ia menemukan  Jmaica dan Porto Rica  dan didirikanya kota Isabella  dipulau Hispanola .

Dalam Pelayan yang ketiga kalinya (1498-1500)  tibalah ia dipulau Trinidad  dan dimuara sungai Orinoco, tetapi orang-orang memusuhinya  dan mempersalahkannya  karena ia bertindak sewenang-wenang ,lalu mereka mengusahakan  supaya Bobadilla  datang untuk membawa Columbus  pulang ke Spanyol . Babadilla datang  lalu Columbus dirantainya dan dipulangkan ke Spanyol.

Setelah Columbus diampuni  ia mengadakan pelayaran keempat (1502-1504) dan pada waktu itulah   ia berlayar menyusuri pantai Amerika Tengah . Ia meninggal di Valladolid , kini tulangnya disimpan di Savilla .

Columbus tidak tahu bahwa ia menemukan benua baru.

Menurut beberapa informasi Ia menyangka tiba di India,karena itu penduduk asli dinamakannya Indian.

Bagaimana kisahnya sampai terjadi seperti tersebut diatas, marilah membaca dengan teliti kisah elngkap dibawah ini, apa keberhasilan dan apa kegagalan, mengapa ia dibebaskan oleh Ratu Isabella walaupun sudah berbuat yang tidak benar ? dan bagaimana dengan Tulangnya yang disimpan di Savilla apakah asli atau palsu?

Sorry, bahasa pengatar kisah ini dalam bahasa inggris agar dapat dibaca oleh seluruh dunia. 

 Jakarta October 2013

Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA

introduction
The story about Columbus first time I heard while studying the history of the world in Padang Don Bosco high School in 1962 , after that I tried to find information but never sewcara incomplete , due to busy school and then work that snagt busy little information that can be found , a new time pension of 2001 I had a lot of opportunity to continue my hobby to see a history book 1952 encyclopedia whose content is very interesting because of the tragic befall ksiah Columbus at last expedition he was arrested , why could happen that way ? This should be a lesson for future generations , so that ‘s a good thing from Columbus can be used as guidelines and forwarded but bad things do not repeat , learn from history , it seriously then I gather all relevant information about Columbus and finally terjawablah Columbus successes and failures . To add to the information in this introduction I quoted from ensikopodia indesia 1952
 It 337
Columbus on August 3, 1942 he departed and landed on 14 October on the island of Guanahani , one of the islands of the Bahamas island , then he discovered the island of Cuba and Haiti ( Hispanola ) and he returned in January 11493 .
Second voyage in 1493-1496 , and he found Jamaica and Porto Rico and builded  Isabella  city at island of  Hispanola .
Waiters in the third (1498-1500) he came  island of Trinidad and Orinoco river , but the people against him and blame her because she acted arbitrarily , then they pursue that Bobadilla came to bring Columbus back to Spain . Babadilla came and Columbus  was   in chain sent back home  to Spain .

After Columbus forgiven a,  he entered a fourth voyage (1502-1504) and at that time he sailed down the coast of Central America . He died in Valladolid ,  his bone now stored at  Savilla .
Columbus did not know that he had found a new continent.
According to some information he thought arrived in India, because the original named Indian population.
How did it come to happen as mentioned above, let’s peruse elngkap story below, what is success and what is failure, why he was released by Queen Isabella despite doing bad things? and how the bones are stored in Savilla whether genuine or fake?

  Jakarta, October 2013
Dr Iwan Suwandy, MHA

First Voyage of Columbus: Meeting the Islanders (1492)


Christopher Columbus had read the journals of Marco Polo, the famed Venetian merchant who travelled to China in 1170-1190 and told of Cipangu (Japan) and thousands of other populated islands. When Columbus sailed west from the Canaries in 1492, he fully expected to reach these islands in the China Sea. Instead he reached the Bahamas, and met its inhabitants, the Taino.

Sources: Two accounts exist from the first voyage. One, a letter written by Columbus on the return trip for Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, was printed in 1493, with 15 more editions in the next five years. The second primary source is the logbook or journal kept by Columbus, presented in 1493 to the Spanish monarchs. A summary of the log was written by Columbus’s son Ferdinand. The manuscript eventually passed to a Dominican monastery in Seville, where friar Bartolomé de las Casas used it for his Historia de las Indias, published in 1558. Since the original and all  known copies later disappeared, the summaries by las Casas and Ferdinand remain the only extant sources of Columbus’ journal.

 

August,3rd 1492

Voyages of Christopher Columbus

It was before sunrise on Friday morning, August 3, 1492, that Columbus, with 30 officers and adventurers and 90 seamen, in all 120 souls, set sail, “in the name of Christ,”

On the morning of August 3, 1492, Columbus departed from Palos de la Frontera for the Canary Islands with three ships. The convoy consisted of one larger carrack, the Santa Maria from which Columbus led the expedition, and two smaller caravels, the Niña and the Pinta.

 

First voyage

 

A ship replica of the Santa Maria

Columbus led his three ships – the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria – out of the Spanish port of Palos on August 3, 1492.

 

 

from behind the little island of Saltes. Those inclined to be superstitious regarding Friday will do well to note that it was on a Friday

 

Columbus set sail from Palos; it was on Friday, the 12th of October, that he landed in the New World; on a Friday he set sail homeward; on a Friday, again, the 15th of February, 1493, land was sighted on his return to Europe, and that on Friday, the 15th of March, he returned to Palos.

The story of that eventful trip has never ceased to charm the world, nor ever will so long as the triumphs of genius, the incentives of religion, and the achievements of courage have interest for mankind.

A marginal note in Columbus’s own copy of Peter d’Ailly’s Imago Mundi , now in the Columbina Library in Seville, reads:

 “Note: Sailing south from Lisbon to Guinea, I carefully noted the distance, as pilots and sailors do. Then I took the sun’s elevation many times, using a quadrant and other instruments. I found myself in agreement with Alfraganus, that is to say, the length of a degree is 56 miles. Thus this measurement must be accepted. As a result, we are able to state that the earth’s cir­cumference at the equator is 20,400 miles….”

We know from another marginal note that an astronomer named Joseph, in the service of the king of Portugal, had calculated the latitude of Los Idolos Island, off the Guinea coast, as one degree five minutes north.

The accepted lati­tude for Lisbon at the time was 40 degrees 15 minutes north. Columbus considered Lisbon and Los Idolos Island to be on the same meridian, and estimated the distance between the two places by dead-reckoning, probably comparing his own estimate with estimates made by the Portuguese navigators. By a simple calculation, he obtained the figure of 56 miles to the degree – close enough to Alfraganus’s figure of 56.

 To obtain the circumference of the earth at the equator, he simply multiplied 56 by 360. Columbus measured distance at sea by the Italian nautical mile, and thus, when he writes that the circumference of the earth is 20,400 miles, he is referring to Italian nautical miles.

 One Italian nautical mile is equivalent to 1480 meters (4856 feet), and, converted into modern units, Columbus’s meas­ure of the circumference of the earth was thus 30,185 kilo­meters (18,756 miles), or about 25 percent less than the true value of 40,010 kilometers, or 24,861 miles.

His reading of Marco Polo and the Toscanelli letter and map had convinced Columbus that Asia extended much farther to the east than Ptolemy had thought and that, conse­quently, Cipangu lay about as far to the west of Spain as – in fact – the West Indies lie.

Columbus’s argument for the feasibility of reaching the Spice Islands by sailing west hinged on this figure of 56 miles to the equatorial degree. Since he was seeking royal support for his venture, he needed an authority of more weight than either Marco Polo or Toscanelli to underpin this crucial number; while they might both be dismissed as rather dotty fantasists, it was not so easy to dismiss Alfraganus, who carried all the authority of the Arab astronomical and mathematical tradition behind him. Columbus’s claim to have verified Alfraganus’s calculations must be seen in this light.

“Alfraganus” is the Latin version of the Arabic name al-Farghani, and refers to Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Farghani. He was one of the scholars associated with the Caliph al-Ma’mun’s great efforts to produce Arabic versions of Greek scientific texts in early ninth-century Bagh­dad. He may well have himself taken part in the scientific expedition which, sometime between 820 and 833, set out to measure the actual length of one degree of a meridian.

This was probably the first attempt since the time of Eratos­thenes to measure the length of a degree.

Although there are no surviving eyewitness accounts of the experiment, we know from later sources how it was done: Two locations were identified whose latitudes, determined astronomically, dif­fered by one degree. A north-south baseline connecting them was carefully laid out by sighting along pegs, and the length of that baseline was measured.

 In the experiment in which al-Farghani took part, two pairs of locations were actually chosen, one pair in northern Iraq, on the plain of Sinjar, and the other near Kufah – both areas as flat and feature­less as possible. The results were then compared, and the length of a degree established as56 miles.

Al-Farghani subsequently wrote a very influential little book on astronomy, a number of copies of whose Arabic text survive. The title can be translated Compendium of the Science of the Stars and Celestial Motions.

This was twice translated into Latin in Spain during the Middle Ages, once by Gerard of Cremona and once by John of Seville, working under the auspices of Alfonso the Wise. A Hebrew translation also survives. The Compendium, in its Latin version, was widely circulated in Europe and remained a standard author­ity almost to the time of Galileo; it was first printed in 1493, the same year Columbus returned from his first voyage.

It is worth quoting al-Farghani’s exact words, for they were of supreme importance to Columbus: “In that way we find that the value of a degree on the celestial sphere, taken on the circumference of the earth, is 56 miles, each mile being equal to 4000 black cubits, as was ascertained during the time of al-Ma’mun – May God’s grace be upon him! And on this point a large number of the learned are in agreement.”

Yet the correct value for the length of a degree on the meri­dian is not 56 but roughly 69 statute miles, of 60 nautical miles (by definition), or 111 kilometers and a fraction. How could competent astronomers, skilled in mathematics, have made an error of such magnitude?

The basic unit of measurement in the Arab world was the dhira’, or cubit. Originally, this was the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, but a sophisticated cul­ture could not tolerate the variation implicit in this ancient unit of measurement, so the length of a cubit was standar­dized.

The earliest standard cubit is known as the “legal cubit”, so called because it is the one used in the holy law of Islam, the shar’iya . It is equivalent to 49.8 centimeters (19.6 inches). For surveying purposes, al-Ma’mun introduced another cubit, equivalent to 48.25 centimeters (19 inches). Finally, there is the “black cubit,” the standard for which was indicated on the Nilometer on the island of Rawda, in the Nile River. This was equivalent to 54.04 centimeters (21.28 inches). Which cubit did al-Farghani use? 

The obvious answer is that he used the “black cubit” of 54.04 centimeters, since he actually uses that term. But we know from other sources that the black cubit had not yet been introduced during the reign of al-Ma’mun, when the length of a degree was measured on the plain of Sinjar. So in spite of the terminology al-Farghani uses, his “black cubit” must in fact refer to either the “surveying cubit” of 48.25 centimeters, or to the legal cubit of.49.8 centimeters. The latter is the more likely, since we know that it was the most commonly used unit during al-Farghani’s lifetime.

There are 4000 cubits in an Arab mile. If al-Farghani used the legal cubit as his unit of measurement, then an Arab mile was 1995 meters (6545 feet) long. A degree on the meridian would measure 113 kilometers (70.25 miles) – two kilometers greater than the true value, but well within acceptable limits of error. If he used al-Ma’mun’s surveying cubit, then a degree contained 109 kilometers (67.73 miles) – two kilo­meters less than the true value, but an equally respectable result under the circumstances.

In other words, al-Farghani’s so-called “short degree” of 56 miles was not short at all, but was very close to the true length of a degree of the meridian. The error was not al-Farghani’s, but Columbus’s. Unaware that an Arab mile was considerably longer than an Italian nautical mile, Columbus seized upon the figure of 56 miles for the length of the degree and used it to justify the theory which – in all probabil­ity – he already held.

It was Columbus’s intention to steer southwesterly for

 

the Canary Islands,

and thence to strike due west due to misconception occasioned by the very incorrect maps of that period.

On the third day

 

colombus out the Pinta’s rudder

 

was found to be disabled and the vessel leaking, caused, doubtless, by her owner, who did not wish his vessel to go,

the ship having been impressed and thinking to secure her return. Instead of this, Columbus continued on his course and decided to touch at the Canaries, which he reached on the 9th. Here he was detained for some weeks, till he learned from a friendly sail that

 

three Portuguese war vessels

 

had been seen hovering off

 

the island Gomera,

where he was taking in wood, water, and provisions. Apprehensive, and probably rightly so, that the object was to capture his fleet, Columbus lost no time in putting to sea.

Three days into the journey, on August 6, 1492, the rudder of the Pinta became broken and unhung, rendering the ship disabled. The owners of the ship, Gomez Rascon and Christoval Quintero, were suspected of sabotage, as they and their ship had been pressed into service against their will.

 Invasion, Conquest, Rebellion

A. Invasion

1. Columbus and Guacanagari

The reasons for Europeans to leave their homelands in great numbers to seek their fortunes in unknown lands are argued over by historians and are many. Disease and famine from 1100- 1500 was catastrophic. The disparity of classes and inheritance patterns limiting wealth to first born sons added to the fact that those that survived were not satisfied with their plight.  Portugal was granted an Eastern passage to Asia and Spain under Isabella and Ferdinand had just defeated the Moors at Grenada in Jan 1492 and decided to expel Jews a few months later.

This imperialism and religious ‘holy war’ pattern developed out of the invasions by ‘infidels’, crusades and the need for increased commerce due to economic and ecological disasters for 400 years all over Europe. So Isabella and Ferdinand took a chance on a Genoese mariner to try to find Asia to the West.

All of the notions that Columbus and his men were concerned about sailing off a flat sea was the kind of false embellishment and drama perpetrated by many writers that persist today as taught in the schools. Columbus and his men may not have been clear on the existence of an entire continent between Europe and Asia, but it became clear that they in fact had run into what became to them as the West Indies and later a ‘New World’.

 

Santa Maria, Pinta, Niña

 

Columbus (Colon

)

Landing San Salvador 1492

On October 12, 1492 Columbus with his three ships the Santa Maria, Pinta, and Nina arrived on a small island in the Bahamas. As he landed he claimed the territory for Spain by putting up a flag, a cross and naming the islands, the first being San Salvador. The Indians were Taino and Columbus found the people to be friendly so he manacled and kidnapped 10-25 Indians.  After they were captured  they were read what has been called the ‘requerimiento’ in Spanish, sort of a justification for what they were doing. On the island of Hispaniola, the flagship, the Santa Maria was washed up on the rocks on Christmas Eve , 1492. The main cacique, Guananagari,of the Taino in the area ordered his people to man canoes and rescue people and goods in the breakers. The rescued material  was used to build a settlement called Navidad (for Christmas day). Columbus left some of the men at Navidad on Hispaniola and quickly returned to Spain on the Nina. Guanangari tried to help the colony but other caciques resented the demands for food and gold and burned Navidad and Guanangari’s village.  Columbus returned with more ships and men on three more voyages.

Leaving for New World

AND NOW FOR THE NEW WORLD.

The captain of the Pinta was able to secure the rudder temporarily with cords until the Canary Islands could be reached on August 9, 1492. Here the fleet repaired the Pinta and re-rigged the Niña’s lateen sails to standard square sails.

While securing provisions from the island of La Gomera, Columbus received word that three Portuguese caravels had been seen hovering near El Hierro with the supposed intention of capturing him. However, on September 6, 1492 the westward voyage began without incident.

Early in the voyage, Columbus predicted that land should be found within 700 leagues (approx. 2500 miles), and ordered the commanders of the other vessels to refrain from sailing at night once that distance had passed to avoid wrecking. He also hedged his bets by keeping two logs of the distance traveled – a secret log with the true distance, and an altered copy that he shared with the crew, showing much less.

His objective was to sail west until he reached Asia (the Indies) where the riches of gold, pearls and spice awaited. His first stop was the Canary Islands where the lack of wind left his expedition becalmed until September 6.

Once underway, Columbus benefited from calm seas and steady winds that pushed him steadily westward (Columbus had discovered the southern “Trades” that in the future would fuel the sailing ships carrying goods to the New World). However, the trip was long, longer than anticipated by either Columbus or his crew. In order to mollify his crew’s apprehensions, Columbus kept two sets of logs: one showing the true distance traveled each day and one showing a lesser distance. The first log was kept secret. The latter log quieted the crew’s anxiety by under-reporting the true distance they had traveled from their homeland.

This deception had only a temporary effect;

It was early morning on the 6th of September that Columbus again set sail, steering due west, on an unknown sea. He need fear no hostile fleets, and he was beyond the hindrance of plotting enemies on shore; and yet so far from escaping trouble it seemed as if he had but plunged into deeper tribulations and trials than ever.

 

As the last trace of land faded from view the hearts of the crews failed them. They were going they knew not where; would they ever return?

Tears and loud lamentings followed,

 

and

 

Columbus and his officers had all they could do to calm the men.

After leaving the Canaries the winds were light and baffling, but always from the East.

On the 11th of September, when about 450 miles west of Ferro, they saw part of a mast floating by, which, from its size, appeared to have belonged to a vessel of about 120 tons burden.

To the crew this meant the story of wreck; why not prophetic of their own? The discovery only added to their fears. And now a remarkable and unprecedented phenomenon presented itself.

On the 13th of September,

at night fall, Columbus, for the first time in all his experience, discovered that the needle did not point to

 

the North star,

 

but varied about half a point, or five and a half degrees to the northwest. As he gave the matter close attention Columbus found the variation to increase with every day’s advance.

This discovery, at first kept secret, was early noticed by the pilots, and soon the news spread among the crews, exciting their alarm.

 

If the compass was to lose its virtues, what was to become of them on a trackless sea? Columbus invented a theory which was ingenious but failed wholly to allay the terror. He told them that the needle pointed to an exact point, but that the star Polaris revolved, and described a circle around the pole. Polaris does revolve around a given point, but its apparent motion is slow, while the needle does not point to a definite fixed point. The true explanation of the needle variations sometimes it fluctuates thirty or forty degrees is to be found in the flowing of the electrical currents through the earth in different directions, upon which the sun seems to have an effect.

 

Columbus took observations of the sun every day,

 

with an Astrolabe, and shrewdly kept two logs every day (SEE COLUMBUS JOURNAL). One of these, prepared in secret, contained the true record of the daily advance; the other, showing smaller progress, was for the crew, by which means they were kept in ignorance of the great distance they were from Spain.

Indications of Land

On the 14th of September the voyagers

 

discovered a water wagtail and a heron hovering about the ships, signs which were taken as indicating the nearness of land, and which greatly rejoiced the sailors.

 

On the night of the 15th  a meteor fell within five lengths of the Santa Maria.

 

 

On the 16th

the ships entered the region of the trade winds; with this propitious breeze, directly aft, the three vessels sailed gently but quickly over a tranquil sea, so that for many days not a sail was shifted. This balmy weather Columbus constantly refers to in his diary, and observes that “the air was so mild that it wanted but the song of nightingales to make it like the month of April in Andalusia.”

 

 

 

[Fig.1: Columbus meeting the Taino on Hispaniola. Letter, 1493].

The Spaniards first encountered

 

the Arawakan-speaking Taino in the southeast Bahamas.

 

 

These island were called the Lucayos (Leeward Islets) by the Spanish, and the local Arawakan dialect is named Lucayan.

Columbus left Palos, Spain with the three ships Santa Maria, Niña, and Pinta on August 3, 1492, passing Cadiz a few days later on the way to the Canary Islands. On September 6, after repairing the Pinta’s rudder, they headed due west from the Canaries along latitude 28º N to find a direct passage to Japan and the East Indies. Crossing the seaweed-filled

 

Sargasso Sea on September 16-29, they made several false sightings of land.

Guanahaní (San Salvador or Watling):

 

Guanahaní (San Salvador or Watling):.

On the 18th of September

the sea, as Columbus tells us, was “as calm as the Guadalquiver at Seville.”

Air and sea alike continued to furnish evidences of life and indications of land, and Pinzon, on the Pinta, which, being the fastest sailer, generally kept the lead, assured the admiral that indications pointed to land the following day.

On the 19th,

 

soundings were taken and no bottom found at two hundred fathoms.

On the 20th,

 

several birds visited the ships; they were small song birds, showing they could not have come a very long distance; all of which furnished cause for encouragement.

After 29 days out of sight of land, on October 7, 1492, the crew spotted shore birds flying west, and they changed direction to make their landfall. A later comparison of dates and migratory patterns leads to the conclusion that the birds were Eskimo curlews and American golden plovers.

Columbus Voyages Discover Birds in America

There were four Columbus voyages to sea-side lands of American. After the initial exploration in 1492-1493, others soon followed in response to the original discoveries. The second voyage of 493-1496 discovered the Lesser Antilles and Cuba. There was a third exploration in 1497-1498, with the final voyage of first discovery from 1502-1504.

Christofforus de Columbo received government approval and funding for the first voyage of discovery. Official documents were issued from the king and queen to allow him to sail, expenses paid, for the new world of the west Indies. Articles of agreement were signed in April 1492

Admiral Columbus set forth a few months later, on August 3rd. The sailing vessels are the now famous caravels Pinta and Nina, and the Santa Maria with their crews of sailing men.

By mid-September while floating along in the western Atlantic Ocean, there were birds being seen. Among the sea birds seen were

 

the boat-swain bird,

 

booby,

 

petrels,

 

and man-of-war bird. Terns and ducks were noted in the chronicles resulting from the brave men’s voyages.

It was mid-October when land fall in the new world occurred, and

the first sightings were made of new types pf wild birds.

Information from the voyages as summarized here, is based on an original translation of the journal narratives

.

The original spelling is retained.

 

 

 

 

 

Journal of the First Voyage –

 

 

On October 8, 1492,

Columbus observed that the needle of his compass no longer pointed to the North star, a phenomenon which had never before been recorded. The needle instead had varied a half point to the Northwest, and continued to vary further as the journey progressed. He at first made no mention of this, knowing his crew to be prone to panic with their destination unknown, but after several days his pilots took notice with much anxiety. Columbus keenly reasoned that the needle didn’t point to the North star, but to some invisible point on the Earth. His reputation as a profound astronomer held weight with the crew, and his theory alleviated their alarm.

A legend is that the crew grew so homesick and fearful that they threatened to sail back to Spain. Although the actual situation is unclear, most likely the sailors’ resentments merely amounted to complaints or suggestions.

 

On October 8, ducks and other land birds were observed flying southwest (box), and Columbus changed course. At 2 AM on October 12, crewmen from the Pinta sighted land in the Bahamas at latitude 24º N (fig.2).

 


by October 10

the crew’s apprehension had increased to the point of near mutiny. Columbus headed off disaster by promising his crew that if land was not sighted in two days, they would return home.

11 october

The next day land was discover

A New World is Revealed

Columbus’s journal of his first voyage to America has been lost. However, we do have an accurate abstract of the journal written by Bartolome de las Casas in the 1530s. Las Casas was an historian and Columbus’s biographer who had access to the original journal of the voyage.

 We join Columbus’s account as his expedition approaches the islands of the Bahamas. Throughout the account, Columbus refers to himself in the third person as the “Admiral

 

COLUMBUS – What If?

Written by
Aileen Vincent-Barwood
Saudiaramco World

It is possible that the first words spoken by Christopher Columbus on stepping ashore in the New World were the Arabic greeting “As-salam alaykum” ?

Arabic had been the scientific language of most of humankind from the eighth to the 12th century. It is probably for this reason that Columbus, in his own words, considered Arabic to be “the mother of all languages,” and why, on his first voyage to the New World, he took with him Luis de Torres, an Arabic-speaking Spaniard, as his interpreter.

Columbus fully expected to land in India, where he knew that the Arabs had preceded him. He also knew that, for the past five centuries, Arabs had explored, and written of, the far reaches of the known world. They had been around the perimeter of Africa and sailed as far as India. They had ventured overland beyond Constantinople, past Asia Minor, across Egypt and Syria – then the western marches of the unknown Orient – and into the heart of the Asian continent. They had mapped the terrain, traced the course of rivers, timed the monsoons, scaled mountains, charted shoals and reached China, and, as a result, had spread Islam and the Arabic language in all these regions (See Aramco World, November-December 1991).

It was on the 33rd day of his voyage, October 12, 1492, that Columbus made his landfall. At that point, he probably stood on the shores of a Bahamian island named Guanahani – which he immediately renamed San Salvador and claimed for “their sovereign majesties, the king and queen of Spain.”

Probably the first of his surprises that day was his discovery that the “Indians,” as he called the islanders he greeted, did not speak Arabic.

Still, he remained undaunted and wrote in his log for Friday, October 12, that he was certain he had only to sail on through these outer islands of India to reach the riches of Cipangu (Japan) and China,
a journey of only a further 1000 miles. Here, he was convinced, he would greet the Great Khan, an emperor of vast wealth who spoke Arabic and ruled over lands of gold, silver and gems, silks, spices
and valuable medicines.

 

 

One may wonder how Columbus, a 41-year-old professional mapmaker, avid reader, researcher and seasoned mariner, a man who had spent the greater part of his adult life planning his great venture to the west, could have been so far off in his calculations.

One explanation may be that, as well as a master mariner, he was also a clever politician. As a Christian whose expedition was funded by two Christian monarchs, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, Columbus’s miscalculations may well have been due not to a lack of navigational information – of which there was a great deal available – but to a calculated decision to use “acceptable” sources of scientific knowledge and to exclude or ignore other, more “foreign” sources.

During the seven centuries of Arab dominion over Spain and Portugal, from AD 711 to 1492, there had developed a culture of Muslim arts and sciences which had a deep and permanent effect on the life, arts and sciences of Europe. The roots of this culture went as far back as Europe’s Dark Ages, which can be defined as lasting roughly from AD 476 to 1000, during which the Arab world was the incubator of Western civilization. The Arabs not only preserved, refined, updated and translated into Arabic the rich heritage of classical Greek knowledge, but they also added original and significant new contributions (See Aramco World, May-June 1982).

Once Europe began its explorations of the world of knowledge, it turned not to Greek or Roman sources, most of which were lost or inaccessible, but to Arabic scientific writings. Recognizing this, Europeans in the 12th century embarked on a massive program of translation of these sources, founding a college of translators in Toledo, Spain, from which most of the Arab works on mathematics and astronomy were first made available to Europe’s scholars.

During that period and even earlier – in fact, dating back to the days of the Roman Empire (27 BC to AD 284) – people had discussed the idea of sailing west to find the riches of the Golden East. Yet no one had ever tried it.

By the seventh century, however, the Arabs were thoroughly familiar with the eastward approaches to the Orient. For over 300 years they had explored much of the known world. From Delhi and Agra in the east, through Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus, to Cairo, Tripoli, Tunis and Cordoba in the west, Arab scientists and explorers had expanded the knowledge of the known world and pushed back the horizons of the unknown.

Ultimately, this knowledge – along with philosophy, logic, mathematics, natural history and much else – was to be found written down in the great libraries that were the flowers of Spain’s brilliant Muslim-Christian-Jewish culture, and in libraries elsewhere in Europe. Arab geographical encyclopedias, dictionaries, maps and charts, as well as books on mathematics, astronomy and navigation, and treatises on vastly improved navigational instruments, reposed there in Muslim Spain and in the Middle East.

So, too, did the theory of “the new world beyond the Sea of Darkness,” the idea of an uncharted continent that lay to the west of the known world. There seems to be little doubt that it was the Arabs who first made the maps that led Columbus to the New Wo

 

Growing up in a major seaport, Columbus could not have escaped hearing about Arab exploits and Arab seafaring skills at an early age. The son of Domenico Colombo, a prosperous weaver, Cristoforo Colombo was born in 1451 and grew up in Genoa. A great cosmopolitan merchant center in the mid-1400’s, Genoa had colonies in Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, Constantinople, and on the shores of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

From these far-flung colonies, Genoese merchants, colonists, diplomats and missionaries ventured forth into Anatolia, Georgia, the Caspian Sea, Persia and India. In the mid-15th century, the Levantine coast was an open door to the East, ideally situated for trading with the ports of the Black Sea and Asia Minor. Indeed, 200 years earlier, when recording his wondrous tales of his journeys to the Far East, the Venetian traveler Marco Polo wrote of meeting Genoese and Venetian merchants on the Great China Road. From some of Columbus’s letters, we know that he was profoundly affected by Marco Polo’s account of his travels.

The prosperous Colombo family lived in a house near the Porta Sant’ Andrea, and by his own account, we know that by the time he was 10 years old, the young Columbus loved the bustle of the port. He would linger on the docks and watch the seamen going back and forth from the giant sailing ships crowding the harbor, ships that had arrived across shining seas from far-off and exotic places like Chios and Constantinople, Egypt and Tunis and Syria. He and his friends liked to play games among the bales and crates of silk and cotton, the kegs of oil and wine and spices.

Entranced, he would sit down with the sailors, a small blue-eyed, red-haired lad, and listen raptly to their tales of the magical lands to the east. It is hard to imagine that the boy Columbus would not have been stirred by the daring exploits of these sailors, many of them from the Levant – or by the tales he heard later when, as a seagoing lad of 14, sailing out of Genoa, he listened to the shipboard tales of the venturesome Arab traders who roamed the eastern Mediterranean.

He was unlettered and unread in those days. Not until years later did he teach himself to read, and then it was not in his native Italian, but in Castilian Spanish.

 

 

By the time Columbus arrived in Portugal, he was somewhere in his mid-20’s. The Christians had reconquered much of Spain and Portugal from the Muslims. Nonetheless, because of the Muslim heritage, the Iberian Peninsula was still Europe’s center of intellectual and artistic endeavor. Lisbon, where Columbus lived while planning his voyage into the Atlantic, was the capital of Portugal and a learned city in which it would have been easy for him to get the books and materials he needed to pursue his research. Since his youth, he had learned Spanish, Portuguese, Latin and other languages. It therefore seems likely that Columbus – sailor, navigator, professional cartographer and later son-in-law of one of Henry the Navigator’s sea captains – would have drawn on this wealth of Muslim geographical knowledge.

Indeed, Columbus wrote in a letter in 1501 that during his many voyages to all parts of the world, he had met learned men of various races and sects and had “endeavored to see all books of cosmography, history, and philosophy and of other sciences.” It is therefore unlikely he would have overlooked the more than four centuries of Muslim science and exploration available to him so close at hand.

According to one of his biographers, the American Samuel Eliot Morison, author of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Columbus did some “heavy combing through ancient and medieval authorities on geography” before setting out on his voyage “in order to gather information and ammunition for his next bout with the experts.” If this is so, he could hardly have missed such translated works as al-Biruni’s History of India and Yaqut’s Mu’jam al-Buldan. It would seem also that he would have delved eagerly into Ibn Bat-tuta’s 13th-century Rihlah (Journey), in which that greatest of early travelers writes about his 120,000-kilometer (75,000-mile) trip from North Africa to China and back.

From several of his other biographers, most notably the Spanish priest Fray Bartolome de las Casas, it is also known that Columbus was an avid reader of books on geography and cosmography. Four of the books he owned have been preserved: a 1485 Latin translation of the Book of Ser Marco Polo, an Italian translation of Pliny’s Natural History printed in 1489, Pierre d’Ailly’s Imago Mundi and minor treatises, and a 1477 edition of the Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum by Pope Pius II.

 

Columbus also admitted relying heavily on information he gleaned from the school of navigation founded by Prince Henry of Portugal, often known as Henry the Navigator. Around 30 years before Columbus’s first voyage, some of the prince’s caravels had sailed west, to the outer edge of the Azores and perhaps as far as present-day Newfoundland. Concluding that there were other lands to explore beyond what Ptolemy had described in his second-century Guide to Geography, and eager to retain and organize the geographical information in the possession of sailors and navigators – many of them from the Levant – the prince established the school at Sagres, in southern Portugal, to act as a sort of clearing house for present and future knowledge of the sea. It may have been from this source that Columbus discovered that when, years earlier, Vasco da Gama had sailed along Africa’s east coast, he was guided by an Arab pilot, Ahmad ibn Majid, who used an Arab map then unknown to European sailors.

And yet, despite all this available information, Columbus made a major miscalculation of the distance he had to sail to reach the other side of the globe.

That the earth was a sphere was not a new idea, and it was widely accepted by well-educated people in Columbus’s time. So was the Greeks’ division of the spherical earth into 360 degrees, but where sources differed was on the question of the length of a degree. The correct measurement, we know today, is about 111 kilometers (60 nautical miles) per degree at the equator. In the third century BC, the Libyan-born Greek astronomer Eratosthenes, director of the library at Alexandria, had come up with a remarkably accurate calculation of 110 kilometers (59.5 nautical miles) per degree; in the second century, the great Alexandrian geographer Ptolemy had calculated the degree at 93 kilometers (50 nautical miles). In the ninth century, Muslim astronomer Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad al-Farghani, whose works were translated into Latin during the Middle Ages and who – under the name Alfraganus – was studied widely in Europe, had calculated that a degree measured 122 kilometers (about 66 nautical miles) – not as accurate a result as that of Eratosthenes, but better than Ptolemy’s.

 

 

Either Columbus erroneously used Roman miles in converting al-Farghani’s calculations into modern units of distance – thus coming up with a figure of 45 miles per degree at the equator – or, after first deciding that al-Farghani’s figure was right, chose in the end, perhaps for reasons of policy, to follow the revered and irrefutable Ptolemy, whose Geography, in its first printed Latin edition, had gained great popularity in 15th-century Europe. In the first case, Columbus would have underestimated the distance he had to sail to reach Asia by a third; in the second, by some 25 percent.

Had Columbus but accepted the ninth-century findings of a consortium of 70 Muslim scholars, working under the aegis of Caliph ‘Abd Allah al-Ma’mun, who had gathered them to determine the length of a degree of latitude, he might have avoided many mistakes.

Using wooden rods as measures, the caliph’s scholars traveled a north-south road until they saw a change of one degree in the elevation of the pole star. Their measurements resulted in an amazingly accurate figure for the earth’s circumference: 41,526 kilometers, or 22,422 nautical miles – the equivalent of 115.35 kilometers per degree. By Columbus’s time, a wealth of knowledge gleaned from Arab science and exploration rested in the libraries of Spain and Portugal. Al-Biruni had accurately determined latitude and longitude and – six hundred years before Galileo – had suggested that the earth rotated on its own axis. One hundred years later, in the ninth century, the mathematician al-Khwarizmi had measured the length of a terrestrial degree and Arab navigators were using magnetic needles to plot accurate courses. It was around this time, too, that the Arab astronomers Ibn Yunus and al-Battani – or Albategnius, as he was known in Europe – improved the ancient astrolabe, the quadrant, the sextant and the compass to the point that, for hundreds of years afterward, no long-distance traveler could venture forth without them. By the 12th century, the Hispano-Arab geographer al-Idrisi had completed his voluminous world atlas containing dozens of maps and charts (See Aramco World, July-August 1977).

In calculating the distances he had to travel to reach India and the Orient, Columbus chose not to rely on the Arab and Muslim sources. He was, instead, greatly persuaded by the theory of Paolo Toscanelli, a Florentine physician who dabbled in astronomy and mathematics. When he saw Toscanelli’s charts stating that Marco Polo’s estimate of the length of Asia was correct, and that it was only 3000 miles from Lisbon westward to Japan and 5000 to Hangzhou, China, Columbus accepted the figures he wished most to hear. It was Toscanelli’s chart he took with him on his first voyage of discovery.

 
   

 

Columbus also believed that his voyage west from Spain to India, though difficult, would be short. Using maps and information based on the calculations of Ptolemy and Martin Behaim, the German cartographer, he believed he could reach China after no more than a 4000-mile voyage. This notion was confirmed by Pierre d’Ailly’s Imago Mundi, a book that, according to Columbus’s son and biographer Ferdinand, was his father’s bedside companion for years. (Columbus’s copy, its margins covered with hundreds of hand-written notes, is in the Seville museum.) D’Ailly believed that the western ocean, between Morocco and the eastern coast of Asia, was “of no great width.” He followed the system of Marinus of Tyre, a second-century Greek who made Eurasia very wide east to west, and the Atlantic Ocean narrow, and predicted that the latter could be crossed in a few days with a fair wind.

According to Columbus’s log – the original of which has been lost, or, as some historians suggest, destroyed – he sailed his tiny fleet of three small ships to the New World by dead reckoning. This means he crossed the vast expanse of Atlantic Ocean between the Canary Islands and the Bahamas using only a mariner’s compass and dividers, a quadrant and lead line, an ampolleta, or half-hour glass, a ruler, and charts. His charts were sheepskins that showed the coasts of Spain, Portugal and North Africa, the Azores, Madeira and the Canaries. He took his course from his mariner’s compass, developed from the magnetic needle used four centuries before by Arab navigators. His quadrant was an early invention of the great Arab astronomer Ibn Yunus of Cairo.

There is no doubt that Columbus deserves to be celebrated, in this anniversary year, for his courage, perseverance, sailing skills and superb navigational ability. On the other hand, one can only wonder what might have happened that October day in 1492 had he heeded eight centuries of Arab invention and navigational knowledge. Certainly it would have made his navigation easier, his fears fewer, and his landfall more acc

 

Aileen Vincent-Barwood,

former Middle East correspondent,
newspaper editor and author,
free-lances from upstate New York.

This article appeared on pages 2-9 of the
January/February 1992 print edition of

Saudi Aramco World.

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday October 11

The course was W.S.W., and there was more sea than there had been during the whole of the voyage. They saw sand-pipers, and a green reed near the ship. Those of the caravel Pinta saw a cane and a pole, and they took up another small pole which appeared to have been worked with iron; also another bit of cane, a land-plant, and a small board. The crew of the caravel Niña also saw signs of land, and a small branch covered with berries. Everyone breathed afresh and rejoiced at these signs. The run until sunset was 27 leagues.

After sunset the Admiral returned to his original west course, and they went along at the rate of 12 miles an hour. Up to two hours after midnight they had gone 90 miles, equal to 22 1/2 leagues. As the caravel Pinta was a better sailer, and went ahead of the Admiral, she found the land, and made the signals ordered by the Admiral. The land was first seen by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana. But the Admiral, at ten o’clock, being on the castle of the poop, saw a light, though it was so uncertain that he could not affirm it was land. He called Pero Gutierrez, a gentleman of the King’s bedchamber, and said that there seemed to be a light, and that he should look at it. He did so, and saw it. The Admiral said the same to Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, whom the King and Queen had sent with the fleet as inspector, but he could see nothing, because he was not in a place whence anything could be seen.

After the Admiral had spoken he saw the light once or twice, and it was like a wax candle rising and failing. It seemed to few to be an indication of land; but the Admiral made certain that land was close. When they said the Salve, (Salve Regina) which all the sailors were accustomed to sing in their way, the Admiral asked and admonished the men to keep a good look-out on the forecastle, and to watch well for land; and to him who should first cry out that he saw land, he would give a silk doublet, besides the other rewards promised by the Sovereigns, which were 10,000 maravedis to him who should first saw it. At two hours after midnight the land was sighted at a distance of two leagues.”

 

Columbus ordered the three ships to halt and wait for daylight before venturing further.

 

 

 

 

The next morning, as Columbus reports in the 1493 Letter,

 ” On the thirty-third day after I departed Cadiz, I came to the Indian sea, where I found many islands inhabited by men without number… To the first of these I gave the name of the blessed Saviour [San Salvador]… But the Indians call it Guanahaní…” [Taino for “iguana”]

 

 

The Taino islanders arrived in large numbers with cotton, parrots, and spears to trade with the Spaniards: ” Presently many inhabitants of the island assembled… That we might form great friendship, ..

 

. I gave to some of them red caps, and

 

glass beads to put round their necks, and many other things of little value, which gave them great pleasure, and made them so much our friends it was a marvel to see.

They afterwards came to the ship’s boats… bringing us parrots, cotton threads in skeins, spears, and many other things; and we exchanged them for… glass beads and small bells. “[Journal, Oct. 12, 1492]

 

Columbus notes the appearance of the Taino, and their use of body paint

:

 

 

” They go as naked as when their mothers bore them, and so do the women, although I did not see more than one young girl. All I saw were young men, none more than 30 years of age.

 

They are very well made, with very handsome bodies, and very good countenances.

 

Their hair is short and coarse… down to the eyebrows, except a few locks behind, which they wear long and never cut. Some paint themselves white, others red, and others of what color they find. Some paint their faces, others the whole body, some only round the eyes, others only on the nose. “[Journal, Oct. 12, 1492]

 

Some of the Taino wore gold ornaments, in which the Spaniards took much interest

” I saw that some of them had a small piece [of gold] fastened in… the nose, and by signs I was able to make out that to the south… there was a king who… possessed a great quantity. “[Journal, Oct. 13, 1492]

Columbus soon learned that the Taino of Guanahaní had enemies on other islands called the Caniba (Caribs):

 

” I saw some with marks of wounds on their bodies, and I made signs to ask what it was, and they [told] me that people from other adjacent islands came with the intention of seizing them, and that they defended themselves. I believe… that they come here from the mainland to take them prisoners. “[Journal, Oct. 12, 1492]

The Taino lacked iron and used spears with sharpened wood or bone tips: ” They neither carry nor know anything of arms, for I showed them swords, and they took them by the blade and cut themselves through ignorance. They have no iron, their darts [short spears] being wands without iron, some of them having a fish’s hook at the end, and others being pointed in various ways. “[Journal, Oct. 12, 1492]

 

His journal continues:

“Friday October 12

 
The Santa Maria, Columbus’s flagship
 
The vessels were hove to, waiting for daylight; and on Friday they arrived at a small island of the Lucayos, called, in the language of the Indians, Guanahani. Presently they saw naked people. The Admiral went on shore in the armed boat, and Martin Alonso Pinzon, and Vicente Yanez, his brother, who was captain of the Niña. The Admiral took the royal standard, and the captains went with two banners of the green cross, which the Admiral took in all the ships as a sign, with an F and a Y and a crown over each letter, one on one side of the cross and the other on the other.

Having landed, they saw trees very green, and much water, and fruits of diverse kinds. The Admiral called to the two captains, and to the others who leaped on shore, and to Rodrigo Escovedo, secretary of the whole fleet, and to Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, and said that they should bear faithful testimony that he, in presence of all, had taken, as he now took, possession of the said island for the King and for the Queen his Lords, making the declarations that are required, as is now largely set forth in the testimonies which were then made in writing.”

Shortly after landing, many of the island’s inhabitants assembled on the beach and Columbus gave them gifts of red hats and beads. The natives reciprocated with gifts of parrots, cotton and other goods. In describing the natives, Columbus wrote: “They go as naked as when their mothers bore them, and so do the women, although I did not see more than one girl. They are very well made, with very handsome bodies, and very good countenances.”

References:

 

Columbus’s journal appears in Olson, Julius, The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 985-1503 (1926);

Dyson, John, Columbus: for Gold, God, and Glory (1991);

Morrison, Samuel Eliot, Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1942

 

The “league” used by Columbus is estimated by modern researchers to measure 2.67 nautical miles. 

The exact location and name of the island where Columbus first made landfall is in dispute.

We do know that it is in the Bahamas and that Columbus spent 5 days exploring the area before sailing
to Cuba.

Land was sighted at 2 a.m. on October 12,

by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana (also known as Juan Rodriguez Bermejo) aboard Pinta. Columbus would later assert that he had first seen the light which was suspected as land, and thus earned the reward of 10,000 maravedís.  Columbus called the island (in what is now The Bahamas) San Salvador, although the natives called it Guanahani. Exactly which island in the Bahamas this corresponds to is an unresolved topic; prime candidates are Samana Cay, Plana Cays, or San Salvador Island (named San Salvador in 1925 in the belief that it was Columbus’ San Salvador). The indigenous people he encountered, the Lucayan, Taíno or Arawak, were peaceful and friendly. Columbus proceeded to observe the natives and how they went about.

 

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER 12, 1492 –

 Christopher Columbus Discovers America

 

Christopher Columbus Discovers America

A New World is Revealed

Columbus’s journal of his first voyage to America has been lost. However, we do have an accurate abstract of the journal written by Bartolome de las Casas in the 1530s. Las Casas was an historian and Columbus’s biographer who had access to the original journal of the voyage. We join Columbus’s account as his expedition approaches the islands of the Bahamas. Throughout the account, Columbus refers to himself in the third person as the “Admiral”:

On Oct. 12, 1492, as every schoolchild has been taught, Columbus came ashore on an island northeast of Cuba. He later named it San Salvador (Holy Savior).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Discovery of the West Indies, 12 October 1492 – 15 January 1493

 

 

Friday, 12 October

“… I saw no animal of any kind in this island, except parrots. …”

Saturday, 13 October

 

“… They brought skeins of spun cotton, and

 

Parrot

 

, and darts, and

 

other trifles that would be tedious to describe, …”

The Islanders had dugout canoes, similar to those later illustrated by Oviedo and other chroniclers:” They came to the ship in small canoes, made out of the trunk of a tree like a long boat, and all of one piece, and wonderfully worked… They are large, some of them holding 40 to 45 men, others smaller, and some only large enough to hold one man. They are propelled with a paddle like a baker’s shovel, and go at a marvelous rate… “[Journal, Oct. 13, 1492]

Rum Cay: Leaving Guanahaní with native guides aboard on October 15, the Spanish ships passed Rum Cay which they named Santa Maria de la Concepción. They encountered a single man in a canoe with trade goods already including some Spanish-made items, going from Santa Maria to Fernandina (Long Island):  “He had a little of their bread, about the size of a fist, a calabash of water, a piece of brown earth [pigment] powdered and then kneaded, and some dried leaves [probably tobacco], which must be a thing highly valued by them, for they bartered with it at San Salvador. He also carried with him a basket of their make, in which he had a string of glass beads and two blancas [copper coins], [showing] he came from…San Salvador…”.[Journal, Oct. 15, 1492]

[Fig.2: Map of the first two weeks of Columbus’ first voyage in the Caribbean (after Morison 1942).]

Fernandina: The next four days (Oct.16-19) were spent at Fernandina, where Columbus saw more of the trading skill of the natives: ” These people are like those of [San Salvador], and have the same speech and manners, except that these here seem to be somewhat more domesticated and tractable, and more intelligent… [because] they know better how to bargain than the others did.” [Journal, Oct. 16, 1492]

Here Columbus also saw dogs and other aspects of daily life such as houses, hammocks, clothing, and personal ornaments:”…Their beds and coverings are like nets of cotton… The houses are all like tents and very high and with good chimneys, but… I have not seen… [a village] of more than… twelve to fifteen houses. Here they found that married women wore cotton drawers, but girls do not, except some who were already eighteen years old. There are here mastiffs and small dogs, and here they found a man who had in his nose a piece of gold, which might have been half the size of a castellano…” [Journal, Oct. 17, 1492]

[

 

Sunday, 21 October

 

‘At ten o’clock I arrived here at the Cape of the Islet and anchored, … Here are some great lagoons, and around them, on the banks, the verdure is marvellous; and round about there is a marvellous amount of woodland, the grass like in April in Andalusia,

and the singing of the little birds such that it would seem that man would never wish to leave here; and the flocks of parrots obscured the sun, and big and little birds of all sorts, and so different from ours that it is marvellous. …”

 

Colombus the first leap and kiss the earth

Fig.3: Native house in Hispaniola (Oviedo 1547) ]

Samoet (Isabella, now Crooked Island): A short distance east was the island called Samoet where the Spaniards anchored from October 20-24, 1492: “There [came] many… [as on] the other islands, just as naked and just as painted… They brought spears and some skeins of cotton to exchange, and they bartered these with some sailors for bits of glass from broken cups and for bits of earthenware. Some of them wore some pieces of gold, hanging from the nose, and they gladly gave these for a hawks’ bell, of the kind made for the foot of a sparrow-hawk, and for glass beads…” [Journal, Oct. 22, 1492]. Morison (1942) notes that Columbus carried the standard trade goods used by the Portuguese in West Africa: Venetian glass beads, red caps, and small round bells called hawks’ bells, used in falconry.

Colba (Juana, now Cuba):

After briefly sailing west, on Oct. 25-26 they ran into shoals (the Islas de Arena), and turned south. On Oct. 27, Cuba was sighted and the Spaniards spent five weeks (Oct.28-Nov.5, 1492) along its northeast coast. “As soon as we had arrived at… Juana… I proceeded [west] along its coast… for some distance… seeing however, no towns or cities situated on the seacoast, but only some villages and rude farms, with whose inhabitants I was unable to converse, because… they took flight. “[Letter, 1493]

Columbus’ first Cuban landing was at Bahia Bariay, near a fishing camp: “The Admiral jumped into the boat and went to shore, and he came to two houses, which he believed to be those of fishermen who fled from terror. In one of them he found a [kind of] dog that never barked, and in both houses he found nets of palm-fibre and lines and horn fish hooks, and bone harpoons, and other fishing-tackle, and many fires in the houses… In each one of the houses many persons lived together.” [Journal, Oct. 28, 1492]

 

 

Sunday, 28 October

 

“… never beheld so fair a thing; trees all along the river, beautiful and green, and different from ours,

 

with flowers and

 

fruits each according to their kind,

 

many birds and

 

little birds which sing very sweetly. …”

Columbus also explored the northeast coast of Cuba (landed on October 28) and the northern coast of Hispaniola, by December 5. Here, the Santa Maria ran aground on Christmas morning 1492 and had to be abandoned. He was received by the native cacique Guacanagari, who gave him permission to leave some of his men behind. Columbus founded the settlement La Navidad and left 40 men.

Monday, 29 October

 

“… There were dogs that never barked,

 

 

wild birds tamed in their houses, … large birds and small birds and

 

the chirping of crickets, …”

Next day Columbus visited río de Mares (Puerto Gibara), where he found more large houses containing furniture, wooden carvings, and tame birds. “[The houses] looked like tents in a camp, with no regular streets, but one here and another there. Inside, they were well swept and clean, and their furnishing…[was] made of very beautiful palm branches… There were wild birds, tamed, in their houses… They found many images made like women, and many heads like masks, very well worked. He did not know if they had them for their beauty or whether they worshipped them.” [Journal, Oct. 29, 1492]

Ferdinand’s account provides a valuable description of duhos, carved seats found in Taino cacique houses: “They seated each in a chair made of one piece and in a strange shape, for it resembled some short-legged animal with a tail as broad as the seat of the chair [which] had a head in front with eyes and ears of gold. They call these seats duhos.” [Arrom 1988]

[Fig.4: Stone duho, or carved seat with effigy head, from the West Indies (Fewkes 1922; Berlin Museum.)]

After fanciful descriptions by his native guides of western Cuba, Columbus decided to turn back east. ” There are two more provinces in that part [of Cuba] which lies towards the west, which I did not visit; one of these the Indians call Anan, whose inhabitants are born with tails…  [perhaps the Ciboney, who occupied cave sites; Letter, 1493]

Columbus returned to río de Mares for the next twelve days (Nov. 1 – 12, 1492): “…presently there came to the ships more than sixteen boats or canoes, with spun cotton and their other trifles, of which the admiral commanded that nothing should be taken, in order that they might know that the admiral sought nothing except gold, which they call nucay… “[Journal, Nov. 1, 1492]

 

Artifacts, Documents Reveal Info About Those Columbus Met in Cuba
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Life News (Social and Behavioral Sciences)   Keywords
CUBA CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS ARAWAKAN INDIANS ARCHAEOLOGY EL CHORRO DE MAITA SPANISH COLONIZERS AL 

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Description

Interpretations of a now defunct form of Spanish writing, in combination with a joint U.S.-Cuban archaeological effort, are granting researchers insight into the Cuban people who Christopher Columbus encountered on his first voyage to the “New World.”

During the two previous summers, an archaeological effort in eastern Cuba has recovered several thousand pottery and stone artifacts from the site of a former large native village, El Chorro de Maita. 
 
Newswise — Interpretations of a now defunct form of Spanish writing, in combination with a joint U.S.-Cuban archaeological effort, are granting researchers insight into the Cuban people who Christopher Columbus encountered on his first voyage to the “New World.”

During the two previous summers, an archaeological effort in eastern Cuba has recovered several thousand pottery and stone artifacts from the site of a former large native village, El Chorro de Maita. The effort is co-led by The University of Alabama and the Central-Eastern Department of Archaeology of the science ministry of Cuba and sponsored by the National Geographic Society. Roberto Valcarcel led the Cuban contingent.

Dr. Jim Knight, a UA professor of anthropology who set up and is advising the project, said the artifacts from the site, in combination with the research of documents archived in Spain, are shedding light on the early history of the Indians of Cuba.

“We should be able to put together a map of who was where – where the different towns and tribes were and which Spaniards were where and what they were up to,” Knight said. Handwritten documents originally produced by the early Spanish colonizers of Cuba recorded, as it were, some of the 16th-century “news of the day,” Knight said. On at least one occasion, a detailed inventory of the possessions of an early Spanish colonizer provides insight into 16th-century life. The researchers’ insight, however, doesn’t come without effort.

“It’s handwritten in a script that is barely recognizable as Spanish, even to a native speaker,” Knight said. Dr. John Worth, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of West Florida who is trained in interpreting the period’s writings, traveled to Spain to review the material and ordered relevant copies for further study. “Our hope is to correlate the documents with what we’re finding at the site,” Knight said.

The people Columbus encountered during his first voyage to northeastern Cuba in 1492 are known as Arawakan Indians. There is no concrete evidence, Knight said, that Columbus visited El Chorro de Maita, but this large village was occupied by Arawakans. There has been speculation since the 1940s, Knight said, that Columbus did visit the site. “That’s never been proven, but it’s in the right area,” he said.

The Arawakans of that day were of a similar level of sophistication, although quite different culturally, as the Mississippian Indians, their contemporaries, who lived at Moundville, some 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa and which Knight has studied for more than 30 years.

“They were chiefdoms, as were the inhabitants of Moundville,” Knight said. “And they were agriculturalists, but they primarily grew root crops instead of corn.”

Chiefdom is the name given to societies of the period that were headed by a chief, who would have unusual ritual, political or entrepreneurial skills. The societies were very hierarchical, with power concentrated within other kin leaders, who would then redistribute the resources to the others.

Artifacts recovered from the site, including evidence of the manufacturing of “idolillos,” or little idols, at portions of the site is among the evidence that the society had both elite and non-elite members, Knight said. The elite members of the group would have produced and worn these small, human-shaped figurines as part of a necklace. “They probably represent a god-figure, but we don’t know which god,” Knight said.

Working alongside the Cuban and U. S. professional archaeologists during the excavations were students from Syracuse and Penn State, and three students from The University of Alabama.

The project is a part of the UA Cuba Initiative, which provides opportunities for UA students to pursue their education under a special academic license granted by the U.S. government. Since 2002, UA has received academic travel licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury which permits travel to Cuba for specific academic activities.

 

 

 

 

Brooke Persons 
These five artifacts are among the several thousand recovered from the site of a 16th Century Cuban village during joint U.S. Cuban archaeological excavations during the last two summers. Two of these artifacts (top row, right) are examples of unfinished “idolillos,” or little idols. These human-shaped figurines were produced at the site and worm by elite members of the group as part of a necklace.

 

Saturday, 3 November

“… all he had seen was so beautiful that his eyes would never tire beholding so much beauty, and the songs of the birds large and small. …”

Sunday, 4 November

 

“Presently at sunrise the Admiral got into the barge and went ashore

 

to hunt the birds that he had seen the day before. …”

Columbus failed to find any gold on Cuba, although a silver nose ring ornament was seen, the only mention of silver on this voyage.  The next day, still believing they were near Cipangu (Japan), Columbus sent two of his men inland with Taino guides to search for the local chief and sources of spice. They returned in four days, after “… [marching] twelve leagues, [to] a village of fifty large wooden huts, thatched with palms, and shaped like tents or pavillions… There must have been as many as a thousand families in that village, because all the people of the same kindred live in a single house… The principal men of that country came out to meet them, and carried them on their shoulders to the village… ” [Ferdinand Columbus, ch.5]

Finding no large towns, and returning to the ships, the Spaniards saw many people “…on their way to their villages, men and women, with a brand in their hands, the herbs for smoking which they are in a habit of using.” [Journal, Nov. 6, 1492].With this (the first historical mention of tobacco smoking), Columbus also notes other plants cultivated at río de Mares: “…these lands are very fertile; they are full of mames which are like carrots and have the flavor of chestnuts; and they have beans and kidney beans very different from ours and much cotton, which they do not sow… ” [Journal, Nov. 4, 1492]

 

 

Tuesday, 6 November

 

“… They saw many kinds of trees and plants and

 

fragrant flowers;

 

saw birds of many kinds different from those of Spain, except partridges and nightingales which sang; and geese, of which there were many; … “

Saturday, 17 November

 

“… many birds he saw … “

[Fig.5: Fruit-bearing trees of Hispaniola, including the mamey (Mammea americana), guava (Psidium guajaba), guanabana (Annona muricata), and the plantain or banana (Musa sp.) (Benzoni 1572).]

He also encountered natives who claimed cinnamon and gold could be found at a place to the southeast called Bohío (Hispaniola; now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Bohío, Taino for the rectangular houses of the nobles, also meant home country (Morison 1942).

There, as the Cubans claimed, “…they wore [gold] round their neck and on the ears and legs, and also pearls… [and] there were large ships and merchandise..”.

From the Taino on Cuba Columbus also heard about hostile Caribs on Bohío: “…far from there were men with one eye, and others with dogs’ noses who ate men..”. [Journal, Nov. 4, 1492]. ” All the people who have been found up to this time have… the very greatest fear of those of Caniba or Canima [Caribs] and they say that they live in the island of Bohío which must be very large, as it appears, and he believes that those of Caniba take these people… from their lands and houses. ” [Journal, Nov. 26, 1492]

Although Columbus did not encounter Caribs on this voyage, he conveyed reports from Dominica, a Leeward Island later visited on the second voyage: “This island [Dominica] is inhabited by a certain people who are considered very warlike by their neighbors. They eat human flesh. The said people have many kinds of row-boats, in which they cross over to all the other Indian islands, and seize and carry away every thing that they can. They differ in no way from the others, only that they wear long hair like the women. They use bows and darts made of reeds, with sharpened shafts fastened to the larger end, as we have described. On this account they are considered warlike, wherefore the other Indians are afflicted with continual fear..”. [Letter, 1493]

Departing río de Mares on November 12, Columbus set out for an island called Babeque (Great Inigua) where: “…the people… gather gold on the shore at night with candles, and…with a mallet they make bars of it. “[Journal, Nov. 12, 1492].  Unfavorable winds kept Columbus from Babeque, although on November 22 Martin Alonso Pinzón broke away in the Pinta and sailed (against orders) for this place of alleged gold. The Pinta was not seen again until January 6, 1493. Columbus, meanwhile, sailed around the northeast coast of Cuba for the rest of November, observing that the local Taino  ” …carry for weapons… reeds baked in the sun, on the lower ends of which they fasten some shafts of dried wood rubbed down to a point… [though] it frequently happened when I sent two or three of my men to some of the villages, that… they would quickly take flight… not because any hurt or injury had been inflicted on any one of them… but they are by nature fearful and timid.” [Letter, 1493]

Evidence for long distance trade by the Taino included beeswax found in one house on Cuba (thought to come from the Yucatec Maya who practiced beekeeping), and a variety of sea-going canoes: “…On every island there are many canoes… with which they cross to all those islands, which are innumerable, and with these boats they perform their trading, and carry on commerce among them. I saw some of these… canoes which were carrying seventy and eighty rowers. [Letter, 1493]

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 27 November

“… As he went along it was a marvellous thing to see

 

the trees and greenery and

 

the very clear water, and the birds and

 

he amenity, … “

 

 

Autographed sketch by Christopher Colombus of the Northwest
coast of Hispanola (Haiti), executed in December 1492.

Columbus toppled as indigenous people rise up after five centuries
Explorer’s reputation is victim of region’s pink tide of leftwing governments

Rory Carroll in Caracas and Lola Almudevar in SucreFriday October 12, 2007
The Guardian

Victorian illustration by T Sinclair idealising Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World. Photograph: PoodlesRock/Corbis
 

He had been sailing west for five weeks and sensed he was close when at 2am on October 12, with nothing but stars and moon to illuminate the waves, it was spotted: a dark lump ahead. Land. Christopher Columbus had reached the New World.

 


At sunrise he took a small boat and armed men to shore and planted a royal standard. With a solemn oath he took possession of the territory for the king and queen of Spain. Natives emerged from the trees and watched from a distance, puzzled. It was 1492.

More than five centuries later the anniversary of that event resounds with an ominous clang. Millions of people in central and South America lament that encounter in the Bahamas as the beginning of their ancestors’ annihilation.
The indigenous inhabitants lost everything to the invaders: gold, land, freedom, culture, until there was almost nothing left. Disease and slaughter wiped most of them out. “It was a calamity,” said Mark Horton, an archaeologist and Columbus expert at the University of Bristol.

Now, however, a counter-attack is under way. After centuries as underdogs, indigenous people are rising up – peacefully – to seize political power and assert their heritage.

The so-called pink tide of leftwing governments has surged on the back of indigenous movements intent on dismantling the region’s eurocentric legacy – starting with Columbus.

Across the Andes the explorer once feted as a hero by the Europeanised elite is having his story rewritten, his statue toppled and his name turned to mud. Leading the assault is Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez.

“They taught us to admire Christopher Columbus,” he said during a recent televised address, his tone incredulous, while flicking through a 1970s school textbook. “In Europe they still speak of the ‘discovery’ of America and want us to celebrate the day.”

Instead Mr Chávez has renamed October 12

“indigenous resistance day” and mounted a campaign against colonial residue. Textbooks are to be revised under a curriculum that will stress the opposition to Spanish conquest as doomed but heroic.

This week the president, who boasts of having an indigenous grandmother, renamed the cable car system which soars over Caracas, the capital, as Warairarepano, which means big mountain in an indigenous coastal tongue.

“For Chávez this is a natural cause because of his philosophy about the mistreatment of the downtrodden and the need for redress,” said Larry Birns, of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs thinktank.

City authorities confirmed this week that a bronze Columbus statue which activists toppled from a Caracas plaza three years ago will remain under wraps. Repairs were almost complete but it would not return to its plinth because the site had been renamed: Avenue Columbus is now Avenue Indigenous Resistance. The statue is expected to go to a museum.

In contrast, a statue of María Lionza, a legendary indigenous queen who is the subject of a thriving cult, has been prominently restored. Last night thousands of devotees made their way to the holy mountain of Sorte for an annual festival which honours her and an indigenous chief and black slave killed by the Spanish.

Rehabilitated

Scholars tend to assign Columbus a walk-on part in history as the one who opened the New World door but had little role in the bloody aftermath. “He was part of a process that was inevitable, of Europe coming into contact with the wider world,” said Dr Horton. “It’s mistaken to see him as a totem of the bad guys. He actually wasn’t too bad.”

It has been a rollercoaster reputation. A dispute with Spain’s king and queen landed Columbus in chains and disgrace. The Victorians rehabilitated him as an inspiration for their own explorers, a valiant image which largely endures in the west. Spain hopes DNA analysis will prove he came from Castille, while Italy hopes to confirm he was Genoese.

The 500th anniversary in 1992 prompted debate in the US about whether he should be recast as a villain but the controversy petered out, leaving the navigator a bruised but still revered figure. US schoolchildren get the day off on what remains Columbus Day.

In South America, however, radical leftwing governments in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela are busy overturning what they see as his legacy: centuries of domination by Spaniards and their descendants, pale-skinned elites who continued oppressing darker compatriots even after the continent gained independence.

“Even now they conceive us as animals, as dogs. That has got to change, which is what we are fighting for – to be recognised as equal citizens with equal rights,” said Wilber Flores, a congressman and president of Bolivia’s indigenous parliament.

In Venezuela Mr Chávez enshrined indigenous rights in a new constitution and made the country’s 35 tribes visible through state-funded TV stations which broadcast from regions barely known to city-dwellers.

In Ecuador President Rafael Correa, who often wears traditional dress and speaks in Quechua, has rallied indigenous voters behind his effort to “reinvent” the country along socialist lines.

President Evo Morales, an Aymara Indian and Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, has also fused indigenous rights with a socialist agenda hostile to Washington. He regards the US as the latest manifestation of a predatory colonialism that started in 1492.

Last month it voted against a United Nations declaration on indigenous rights.

Rapacious

Mr Morales has accused the US of raiding Bolivia’s natural resources and persecuting coca farmers as **** producers when in fact they are cultivating a plant that has had other, innocent, uses since the Incas.

He will mark the anniversary of Columbus’s landing with a visit to the coca growing region of Chapare, which is playing host to a summit of indigenous people from across Latin America.

In an interview with the Guardian the Bolivian leader suggested the rapacious intruders who crossed an ocean thirsting for riches, and those who later invented capitalism, should have been studying, not conquering, the natives.

“Indigenous communities know how to live in harmony with mother earth and that is the difference between us and Europe and the United States.”

Further explorations in Cuba found ritual use of human heads in nearly deserted Taino villages. These were interpreted by Columbus as due to ancestor worship. ” The sailors also found in one house a man’s head in a small basket [jaba], covered with another basket, and hanging to a post of the house. They found another of the same kind in another village. The admiral believed that they must be the heads of some principal ancestors, because those houses were of a kind so that many persons find shelter in one house, and they could only be relations, descendants of one common ancestor. ” [Journal, Nov. 29, 1492]. According to Rouse and Arrom (1992), Columbus’ interpretation seems accurate.

Bohío (Española): Reaching Cuba’s eastern end on December 5, Columbus again started north for Babeque, but seeing the island of Bohío off to the east, he followed more favorable winds to this large island, which they called Española (Hispaniola). There they remained for a month until January 6, 1493.

 

 On December 5,

when the Niña anchored at Puerto Saint Nicholas. “Many fires were seen that night, and by day much smoke as if from lookouts, which seemed to be designed to guard against some people with whom they were at war…” [i.e. the Caribs]. [Journal,, Dec. 6, 1492]

Columbus was impressed by the country’s fertility. In the harbor mouth was “… a field of trees of a thousand kinds, all laden with fruit… believed to be spices and nutmegs… Opposite the harbor there was a beautiful fertile plain and in the middle of it [a] river, and… in this neighborhood there must be large centers of population… [but] the Indians took to flight and fled when they saw the ships.” [Journal, Dec. 6, 1492]

 

Friday, 7 December

 

“… He went a short distance into that country, which is all cultivated, and

 

heard sing the nightingale and

 

other songbirds like those of Castile. … “

Thursday, 13 December

 

“… And because the Indians aboard had understood that

 

the Admiral , it seems that Indian who went with the Christians told them something of it, and so they brought parrots, and gave them as they wanted, without asking anything for them. … “

The Spaniards sat at anchor through heavy weather from December 8-10. Believing there were villages, Columbus “…sent six men…two or three leagues inland, in order to discover if they could have speech. They went and returned, having found [only] some huts and very wide roads, and places where many people had made fires. “[Journal, Dec. 10, 1492].  On December 12, a larger group of natives were encountered, and fled except for a young woman who was brought back to the ship. Speaking the same language as the Cuban Taino, she had a small piece of gold in her nose and seemed to be a member of the nobility. Columbus gave her clothing and sent her back to her people.

Next day, when Spaniards went to her town they found it momentarily deserted. The villagers returned, however, when a Taino interpreter reassured them that the Spaniards were not Caribs. “When at last they had lost their fear, they… brought what they had to eat, which was bread of niames [yams] that is roots like large carrots which they grow… their mainstay of life. They make bread from these roots and boil and roast them, and they taste like chestnuts… They gave… bread and fish and whatever they had. And as [they] had understood that the admiral wished to have a parrot … they brought them parrots and gave them as many as they asked. “[Journal, Dec. 13, 1492]. The high ranking girl they had met the previous night appeared borne on the shoulders of retainers to give thanks for the gifts. Columbus’ men had high praise for these villagers and for the land’s fertility.

[Fig.6: New World parrots from the 1502 Cantino Map.]

Columbus sailed towards Tortuga Island on December 15, returning to the coast of Haiti later that day. He landed at Valle de Paraiso (Paradise Valley), from which flowed the river Guadalquivir (today, Trois-Rivières). The next morning, Columbus found an Indian in a canoe, and “…had him and his canoe taken aboard the ship, and… gave him glass beads, hawks’ bells and brass rings, and carried him in the ship [to] a village…16 miles from there near the sea…” [Journal, Dec. 16, 1492]

Soon over 500 men had assembled by the ship, many eager to trade bits of gold worn in their ears or noses. In hopes of more gold, Columbus remained there (Cabo de Elefantes) for several days. The young chief of the island arrived borne on a litter accompanied by over 200 men, to dine on board with Columbus, exchanging gold for cloth, amber beads, and red shoes. After the chief departed, his brother arrived and told Columbus that “..

.in their language they called the king cacique…[and that] there were many islands near… in which very much gold was produced… so great a quantity that they gather it and sift it with sieves, and they smelt it and make bars and a thousand worked articles..”  [Journal, Dec. 18, 1492]

On December 20, Columbus landed at Acul Bay. Islanders came, “…some [running] to bring us the bread they make of niames [yams], which they call ajes… and they brought us water in gourds and clay pitchers… They did all this with such generosity of heart and such joy that it was wonderful… for they did the same and as freely when they gave pieces of gold as when they gave a gourd of water…” [Journal, Dec. 21, 1492]

On December 22, a chief invited Columbus to visit his island, sending a large canoe of men and a mask with beaten gold ears, tongue, and nose. Columbus sent six men, led by his secretary “…so he might prevent the others doing anything unjust to the Indians. For the Indians were so liberal and the Spaniards so greedy and unrestrained… [that] the admiral ordered that nothing should be accepted from them without something being given in exchange.” [Journal, Dec. 22, 1492].

 

Saturday, 22 December

 

“… After evening fell the lord gave them three very fat geese, … “

Sunday, 23 December

 

“… Afterwards the king gave to each one some cotton cloth which the women wear, and parrots for the Admiral, and

 

some pieces of gold. … “

That same day, the ship was visited by more than 120 canoes full of people, bringing gifts of bread, fish, and seeds. Some men went ashore to a village ” …better laid out in streets than any of those previously found… [canoes] went ahead to give news to the cacique, as they call him there. Up to that time the admiral had not been able to understand whether by this they meant ‘king’ or ‘governor.’ They also use another name for a ‘grandee,’ whom they call nitayno… [Journal, Dec. 23, 1492]. As confirmed by Friar Pané, later appointed by Columbus to record Taino customs, the word nitaíno is the source of Taino, name of the island culture.

The cacique gave food and cotton cloths like those worn by women, parrots for the admiral, and pieces of gold. Before sunrise on Christmas Eve, Columbus set sail for a land described by an Indian visitor the previous day: “…they spoke of Cipangu, which they call Cibao, [declaring] that there was a great quantity of gold there, and that the cacique carries banners of beaten gold, but that it is very far to the east. “[Journal, Dec. 24, 1492]. Thus Columbus continued to believe he was near the fabled land previously reported by Marco Polo.

Wreck of the Santa Maria: Perhaps dreaming of Japan, Columbus slept at 11:00 PM on Christmas Eve in calm seas, leaving the tiller to a ship’s boy or gromet. By early Christmas morning, however, currents had eased the Santa Maria onto a reef. In a last attempt to lighten and save the ship, Columbus ordered the mast cut, only running it further aground. The local cacique, Guacanagarí, hurried from his village (near modern Caracol) offering canoes to help unload the wrecked ship, and houses for Columbus’ crew. Next day, a native canoe came to trade gold for hawks’ bells: “…they called out and showed the pieces of gold, crying “chuque chuque,” meaning hawks’ bells, for they almost go crazy for them… they called the admiral and asked him to have a hawk’s bell kept until next day, since they would bring him four pieces of gold as large as the hand.” [Journal, Dec. 26, 1492]

Guacanagari told more tales of the riches of Cibao, which Columbus still thought was Cipangu (Japan). “The king ate in the caravel with the admiral… and gave him a repast of two or three kinds of ajes and with them shrimp and game, and other foods which they had, and some of their bread which they call cacabi [cassava made from yuca root]…. The king now wore a shirt and gloves, which the admiral had given him, and he rejoiced more over the gloves than over anything which had been given to him…

They brought the admiral a large mask, which had great pieces of gold in the ears and eyes and in other places… which the king himself placed on the admiral’s head... ” [Journal, Dec. 26, 1492]

Villa de la Navidad: In these apparently friendly environs, Columbus used supplies salvaged from the Santa Maria to found a colony where he left 39 men, the rest sailing on the Niña: “…to [this colony] we give the name of our Lord of the Nativity [Villa de la Navidad]. And I commanded a fort to be built there… in which I left as many men as seemed necessary, with all kinds of arms, and plenty of food for more than a year.” [Letter, 1493].  Columbus was confident that the fort would be safe from the natives. Its ultimate fate, however, would also rest on the actions of the colonists themselves.

 

Return to Spain:

 On January 4, 1493,

Columbus departed for Spain, two days later meeting up again (after six weeks) with Pinzón and the Pinta. During a storm on Feb.14, fearing all record of the discovery might be lost, Columbus summarized his journal in the letter which has provided much of this description

Sunday, 13 January

 

“… He had his face all stained with charcoal, although in parts they are wont to use different colors;

he wore his hair very long and drawn together and fastened behind, and gathered into a little net of parrots’ feathers; and

 

he as naked as the others. … “

COLUMBUS’S SECOND AND LARGEST VOYAGE

 

 

 

 

Columbus Returns Ready for War

COLUMBUS DISCOVERS DESCTRUCTION OF “LA NAVIDAD”

 

WAR WITH INDIANS OF HISPANIOLA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Columbus’s Second Voyage they brought Horses

 

COLUMBUS’ COLONIAL GOVERNMENT

 

Bartolomeo Columbus Arrives to Help his Brother

While Columbus is Away Exploring a Group of Spaniards Rebel under Muxica

Columbus Forces Natives to Dig and Pan for Gold

 

 

 

Francisco de Bobadilla Arrives as Governor and Arrests both Christopher and Bartolomeo Columbus

 

 

 

 

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