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Florida History | EARLY CONTACT PERIOD, 1500 - 1565

WHAT SPAIN CONTRIBUTED TO THE AMERICAN CONTINENT
- Horses.
- The vine, the wine and the vinegar.
- Beans, chickpeas, lentils, beans.
- Rice.
- The almonds.
- The garlics.
- The onions.
- Prunes and other dried fruits.
- Cattle.
- The wheat.
- The sheep.
- The uses of tallow, tar.
- The wheel as an element of work and transport, as some American cultures already made use of them in toys. However, prestigious authors such as Stanley H. Boggs were skeptical of these toys found by fans, without any archaeological guarantee.
- The natives were very impressed by two western gadgets brought by the Spaniards: the car with wheels and the pulley.
- Although the Mexica had pottery lathes, they had not thought of using the wheel as a means to facilitate transport.
- The ferris wheel was also introduced by the Spanish in America.
- Iron treatment.
- The reería, both civil and religious, had elevated the treatment of iron to the category of art, with all kinds of designs and watermarks.
- The metallurgy of Toledo, the most advanced in Europe.
- Valencia ceramics: tiles, dishes, etc.
- Firearms, which trace their modern technique to the Swedish Bombardilla of Loshult (Circa 1350).
- Gunpowder, invented by the Chinese.
- The lemon, originally from Southeast Asia, was taken to Europe during the Crusades.
- Sugar, taken from the Middle East to the then territory known as Al-Andalus during the Crusades.
- Flax, hemp.
- Silk.
- The modern printing press, invented by the German Johannes Gutenberg in 1453, was brought by the Spaniards to America already in the first half of the 16th century.
- The Julian calendar, later in 1583, thanks to the Inter Gravissimas bull, the Gregorian calendar was established.
- European and Arab architectures, of which there were good examples in the Spanish kingdoms before the discovery of America: the Alhambra in Granada, the mosque in Cordoba, Medina Azahara, the Alcazares in Seville, the Renaissance palaces of Jabalquinto, that of Cogolludo , the Infantado, the Colegio Mayor Santa Cruz, and countless Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar churches, cathedrals and palaces (the Romanesque cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, from the 12th century, has the European Romanesque peak: the Pórtico de la Gloria, from the Galician maestro Mateo). The architecture of ancient Egypt, similar to pre-Columbian, had long since (since classical Greece) that had been surpassed in Europe (and in the Islamic world) by more advanced and sophisticated solutions.
- The castles and medieval monasteries such as Santa Catalina, in Arequipa.
- Gardening techniques: the Generalife gardens, dating from the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, the gardens of Aranjuez, those of Toledo, those of Seville, etc.
- The construction techniques of large tonnage ships, founding modern shipyards in Cuba and the Americas: Guayaquil, Panama, etc.
- Transoceanic navigation techniques.
- La Ballestina, used in the sea since the early fifteenth century to determine the height of the stars.
- The astrolabe.
- The quadrant.
- The marine compass (a magnetic needle mounted on rockers so that it could rotate freely despite the lurching of ships)
- La ampolleta (a kind of hourglass), and other navigation instruments.
- Cartography.
- Mining exploitation techniques.
- Iron implements such as spikes, alzaprimas, wedges and sledgehammers,
- The Spaniards invented mining techniques such as bargain mills driven by hydraulic force, or the amalgam method: silver was extracted from the ore by combining it with mercury and separated from the amalgam by distillation of the azague.
- Knowledge of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music (the "quadrivium"), which were taught in Hispanic universities since the fourteenth century.
- The financial system: money, banking, bills of exchange, commercial companies, etc.
- Knowledge of economics: in the 16th century, the Salamanca School was in the front row of these studies that saw the relationship between the abundance of currency, its depreciation and the correlative shortage of products and services. For his part, J.A. Schumpeter, in his classic work "History of economic analysis", refers to "The very high level of the Spanish economy in the sixteenth century.
Authors like Luis Ortiz ("Memorial to the King so that the monies of these kingdoms of Spain do not come out", 1558), Saravia de la Calle, elaborating a theory of prices, Martín de Azpilicueta, which offers a quantitative theory of money, Tomás Market, exposing a very modern interpretation of international change ... are just some of the names that laid the foundations of the economy in Spain, but also in Eur ope.
- Knowledge of medicine: before the discovery of America, since the thirteenth century, there was already a chair of medicine in Salamanca.

- The knowledge of pharmacy: in the Peninsula the pharmacy was researched and developed in the famous "boticas".
- Hospitals: since the twelfth century, the Camino de Santiago was dotted with hospitals that cared for pilgrims and poor people in the town where they were located. But it was the Catholic Monarchs who most promoted hospital medicine in all their Iberian domains. Perhaps the best exponent of this effort is the Hospital of the Catholic Monarchs of Santiago de Compostela, founded by themselves in 1499, today become the National Parador of Santiago.
- Hydraulic techniques, known since Roman and Arabic domination: aqueducts and reservoirs (the aqueducts of Segovia and Mérida, the Proserpine reservoir, also in Mérida, etc.), pipes and irrigation (the orchard of Murcia). ..
- The tapestry technique.
- The leather goods, the embossing, the damascene, the enamelling, the ironworks, the masonry, the goldsmithing, the jewelry.
- Book binding.
- The technique of stained glass, which had reached maturity in the decoration of some Gothic cathedrals of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (the most prominent of Leon)
- The painting techniques developed during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (tempera, oil painting ...), gold rolling techniques ("gold leaf") to cover altarpieces.
- Interwoven techniques: carpets, dresses, velvets, brocades. Some of the best carpets in Europe were manufactured since the 10th century.
- The technique of coffered ceiling.
- Urban planning techniques: Fernando el Católico wrote to Nicolás de Ovando, giving him instructions on how to plan new cities in America. The same was done by King Carlos I. But it was Philip II who, in his famous "Ordinances of Population" of 1573, established the rules to follow: a large main square, wide streets "thrown into a rope", buildings within grids, etc. .
- The military engineering, which was embodied in the forts of San Marcos, in Florida, that of San Carlos de Perote, that of San Felipe de Bacalar, that of San Juan de Ulúa, the fortified campus of Campeche, the fort of San Diego de Acapulco, all of them in Mexico; the castles of La Punta, de la Fuerza and the Tres Reyes del Morro in Havana; the castle of San Carlos de la Cabaña, also in Cuba; the castle of the Morro of Santiago de Cuba; the walled city of Santo Domingo; the walls of San Juan de Puerto Rico; the castle of San Felipe del Morro, also in Puerto Rico; the fort of San Lorenzo el Real de Chagre, in Panama; the fort of San Felipe in Puerto Cabello; the castle of Araya and the fortifications of Cumaná, in Venezuela; the fort of San Felipe de Barajas in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia; the fortress of Real Felipe del Callao, in Peru; the fortified enclosure of the castle of Niebla, in Chile, etc.
- Civil engineering: countless bridges, ports, canals and roads.
- The Universities, as instruments of knowledge transmission: already in the 16th century, those of Santo Domingo, Mexico and Lima were founded.
- The writing: the grammar of Antonio de Nebrija from 1492, the first European grammar from Rome, which would serve as a model for those of other languages ​​and marked a milestone in the maturation of Castilian.
- The manufacture of silk, spices, porcelain, ivories, etc.

 


WHAT AMERICA CONTRIBUTED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.
- The Spanish tortilla derives from the American Indian contribution of the potato.
- The Mayan Hieroglyph for zero, year 36 a. C.
- The Mesoamerican civilizations developed advanced mathematics that improved the Gregorian calendar.
- Corn or millet.
- Tomato, which would become fundamental in world cuisine.
- The potato. That in the peninsular Spain the original Quechua voice of Pope was changed that the Spaniards heard for the first time, by the English voice potato and an anglicism was formed, which resulted in potato. Very curious and significant of the things that happen in Spain.
- The potato.
- The vanilla.
- The pepper, which became essential in Thai and Indian food.
- Tobacco
- Cocoa and chocolate.
- Textile interwoven techniques.
- Rubber ("captchuc", waterproof in maya) and latex.
- Avocado.
- Bean or bean (?)
- Pumpkin (?)
- Peanut
- Pineapple (?).
- Cassava
- Chile or aji
- Jaimacan pepper
- Goose.
- Olluco.
- Prickly pear or prickly pear
- Jicama.
- Papaya or mamón
- Guava
- Amaranth
- Quinoa
- Cherimoya, Guanabana.
- Kiwicha.
- Sapodilla.
- Mamey
- Pitaya
-Yerbabuena.
- Mexican oregano
- Verbena
- Tupinambo
- Stevia
- Yerba mate
- Sunflower
- Pecana
- Araucaria pine nut.
- Quinoa
- Peyote
- Ayahuasca.
- Coke.
- Rubber
- Bubble gum.
- Cotton (the cultivation of different species began independently in America and India)
-Quina
- Achiote.
- Andean pottery.
- Andean textile techniques.
- Urban techniques.
- Pharmacological knowledge.
- New words like hurricane, macana, etc.
- Etc.

 

Who really was Cristóbal Colón?

 

* Main hypothesis of Madariaga [1886 - 1978]: Christopher Columbus came from a family of Catalan Jews, that is, from Sephardim, who settled in Genoa as a result of the persecution unleashed from 1391. In his family always spoke Castilian. He was Genoese by birth. It was expressed in writing in Latin and Spanish. Name Removals Little or no Genoese patriotism.

 

 

 

* In the notes for the 4th edition, Madariaga discusses with some researchers contrary to his hypothesis, as well as brings up others that corroborate it. Among the opposites, Samuel Eliot Morison [1887 - 1976] (Almiral of the Ocean Sea. A Life of Christopher Columbus. Boston, 1942) and Armando Álvarez Pedroso [born 1907] (whose biography of Columbus was published in Havana in 1944) , to whom Madariaga does not grant consistency in their respective rebuttals. In the case of Pedroso, misrepresented, according to Madariaga, his hypothesis, because the object of his book is not to prove that Columbus was Jewish, but to make a biography of the Admiral. What he intends is to resolve the inconsistency provided by the data related to the life of Columbus.

 

 

 

Although apparently contrary to Madariaga's thesis, the truth is that the study by Ramón Menéndez Pidal (The language of Christopher Columbus, Buenos Aires, 1942) confirms his own thesis for Madariaga. He reaffirms that Columbus knew how to speak and write in Spanish before arriving in Portugal. In any case, both his explanation and that of Menéndez Pidal consider them Madariaga as hypothetical: «Neither Mr. Menéndez Pidal can prove that Columbus" chose "Spanish. Starting to learn two languages, one spoken [Portuguese] and another written [Spanish]; nor did I know that when Columbus arrived in Portugal he already knew Spanish ».

 

 Cristóbal Colón

 

Madariaga's thesis is confirmed, even reinforced, by Dr. Cecil Roth [1899 - 1970], distinguished Oxford hebraist, who in his article "Who Was Columbus" (The Menorah Journal, volume XXVIII, October-December 1940) he points out that “among the Italian Jews the transition from 'Columbus' to 'Colombo', and vice versa, […] was not only possible but constant. […] But what you can sit down is that, while other people called 'Colombo' would normally get their name in 'Colom' to give it a Spanish air, only a Jew or a person familiar with the Jewish tradition would consider it natural and automatically equivalent to 'Columbus' and I would translate it this way ». It is also very interesting Columbus's note to the copy that he had from History rerum ubique gestarum (that is, the one known as Cosmographia of 1458) of Pius II Piccolomini, note that, following the chronology of scholars and Jewish tradition, he places the destruction of the second temple of Jerusalem in 68 AD. C. and not in the year 70, which is the right thing to do. There is another interesting fact, which in principle Madariaga had not granted relevance, but which manifests a strange coincidence: the fact that Columbus waited until August 3, 1492 to leave on his first trip, when everything was ready for the day 2 (but this day was, in the Jewish calendar, the 9th of the month of Ab, a day of fasting commemorating the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and also by Titus, and in which, according to the Rabbis, who worked would receive no blessing , besides being a day of bad luck).

 

 

 

Another study with which Madariaga coincides is that of Vilhjalmur Stefansson [1879 - 1962] (Last Thule, London, 1942). The main hypothesis of this investigation is that Columbus was in Iceland, on another island, either of the Shetland or of the Faroe, and in a third, that of Jan Mayen (at 71º north latitude, it has an area of ​​372 km² and is located in the Arctic Ocean, called "Ille Tile" by Columbus). For his part, Eloise McCaskill Popini collated Colón's claims with the map of Juan de la Cosa (ca. 1500), the best map of the time, and concluded that Juan de la Cosa's knowledge of that remote region derive from its close relationship with the Admiral, conclusion that Madariaga subscribes.

 

* Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, in his History of the Indies, affirms of Christopher Columbus that he was Genoese: "this chosen man of the Genoese nation, from somewhere in the province of Genoa." Las Casas himself mentions a Portuguese historian, João (Juan) de Barros [1496 - 1570], author of a history of Portuguese conquests overseas, who also states that "this Cristóbal was a Genoese nation." Las Casas also says: «So, by name, Cristóbal was called, it is convenient to know, Christum ferens, which means traitor or bearer of Christ [...] He was nicknamed Columbus, which means settlers again».

 

The Genoese origin of Columbus also corroborates Andrés Bernáldez [ca. 1450 - 1513], chronicler of the reign of the Catholic Monarchs.

 

 

 

* According to the notarial archives of the city of Genoa, Christopher Columbus's grandfather was Giovanni Colombo († 1444). He had three children: Antonio, Battistina and Doménico Colombo, the latter father of four sons and one female, the oldest of whom was the discoverer. Doménico Colombo, in 1429 he was about eleven years old, and in 1447 about 29 years old. Based on these documents, Madariaga places the birth date of Columbus between 1449 and 1451, more precisely between August 26 and October 31, 1451. Two are going to be the relevant Columbus brothers in the history of the Discovery: Bartholomew ( the future Adelantado), born in 1461, and Giacomo (Diego), born in 1468.

Other texts by Genoese writers confirm the above. Among them, Antonio Gallo, chancellor of the Bank of St. George and official chronicler of Genoa since 1477, who confirms the office of "weaver" of Columbus's father and "sometimes cardinal children"; Bartolomé Senarega, Genoese diplomat, contemporary of Gallo and author of a story entitled De Rebus genuensis conmentaria ..., in which he refers to "Genoese Cristóforo Colombo"; finally, Agostino Giustiniani [1470 - 1536], bishop and scholar who published in 1516 the so-called Polyglot Psalter, where he says that Columbus was Genoese.

 

Another brother of Cristoforo Colombo is Pellegrino.

 

* The Italian humanist Pedro Mártir de Anglería [1457 - 1526] always calls Columbus Colonus Ligur, that is, Columbus Ligurius. Angelo Trivigiano translated the letters of Pedro Mártir in Venetian language, giving them to the picture in 1504, and thus begins the book: «Cristoforo Colôbo, Zenouese». For his part, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo [1478 - 1557], in his General and Natural History of the Indies, says that Christopher Columbus "was a native of the province of Liguria." The natural son of Columbus, Fernando, intentionally drops a veil of mystery on the birthplace of his father.

Madariaga, abiding by the Genoese documents, concludes that if Columbus conceals his origin it was due to the humility of his family, an obstacle to his Spanish ambitions. He is convinced that Columbus was a native of Genoa. He also considers Christóforo Colombo and Cristóbal Colón to be perfectly compatible in terms of dates. The same compatibility sees between Diego Colón and Giacomo Colombo.

The opinion of Madariaga, in line with Antonio Gallo and other authors, is that Bartolomé Colón settled in Lisbon in 1475, while his brother Cristóbal did so the following year, in 1476.

Christopher Columbus would enter the sea around 1461, with ten years. Already at 21 he was a ship captain, obtaining benefits to help his father financially (from 19 years, around 1470).

 

* The Mediterranean was the true University of the young Christopher Columbus. In the battle held near the cape of San Vicente, on August 13, 1476, Columbus fought as a privateer next to the ships of Renato de Anjou, that is, in favor of French interests and against those of Genoa, his city native. This fact confirms the scarce Genoese patriotism of Columbus.

 

* Christopher Columbus spoke and wrote Spanish before coming to Castile; Moreover, before coming to Castilla, Spanish was the language in which he expressed his most intimate and personal thoughts and for his most intimate and personal use.

 

* When Fernando Colón, the son of the discoverer, writes that «the Admiral according to the homeland where he went to live and start his new state, filed the word [Colombo] to conform with the old and distinguish those that came from him from others that they were collateral relatives, and that was the name of Colón, ”says Madariaga, the following: Columbus, says his own son, came to his homeland when he came to Spain, and returned to adopt the name of Columbus to conform to the former of his family.

 

* Alexander von Humboldt (1769 - 1859) has stressed the importance of the work of Catalan and Majorcan sailors for the Portuguese exploration of West Africa. Since the thirteenth century, the island of Mallorca was the focus of scientific knowledge in the difficult art of the navigator. We know from the Phoenix of the Wonders of the Orb (Felix or Book of Wonders), by Raimundo Lulio [written in Paris between 1287-1289], that Majorcans and Catalans used seasickness letters long before 1286.

 

* Master Jaime, by another name Jehuda Cresques, an eminent member of a Catalan Jewish family to whom the persecution of 1391 transfigured from Jehuda Cresques in Jaime Ribes, settled in Barcelona around 1438, about sixty years old, date on which Don Enrique el Navegante, Infante de Portugal, invited him to come to this country to preside over the famous Sagres Academy (in the Rock of Sagres), near the cape of San Vicente, a new center of cosmographic science that continued the tradition in this way Majorcan The Portuguese explorer Diogo Gomes († ca. 1502), in his As Relaçoes do descobrimento da Guiné e das ilhas Açores, Madeira e Cabo Verde, states that the two main purposes of Enrique the Navigator when founding the Academy of Sagres, were to open the route

India, going around the African continent, and secondly the exploration of the west in search of the islands and mainland of which Ptolemy speaks.

 

When both brothers, Cristóbal and Bartolomé Colón, arrived in Portugal, they found in Lisbon the Judeo-Mallorcan tradition of that first director of the Sagres Academy, Master Jaime or Jacome. As said before, it seems that Bartholomew arrived in 1475, while Christopher did it by swimming from the place where the naval battle took place on August 13, 1476, near the end of San Vicente. The discoverer was then barely twenty-five years old.

 

* In 1419 the Portuguese discover Madeira. In 1434 Gil Eanes bends Cape Bojador and Alfonso Gonçalvez Baldaia († 1481) reaches the Tropic of Cancer, bordering the torrid zone. In 1445 Dinis Dias passes in front of Senegal and reaches Cape Verde.

 

* At the time that Christopher Columbus arrives in Lisbon, two illustrious Jews appear at the head of the cosmographic studies in Portugal: Mestre Joseph Vizinho, physician of the King, and the famous Spanish astronomer Abraham Zacuto (Salamanca, ca. 1450 - Damascus, ca. 1522). When Columbus arrives in Portugal, concession and exploration concessions by the Crown become almost daily.

 

* The French Cardinal Guillaume Filliastre or Philastre (1348 - 1428) prepared in 1427 an atlas of twenty-six maps, atlas where a collaborator of his native from Wales, Claudio Cymbrico, inserted a map of Greenland with a note that said: "Beyond this gulf is Greenland, which lies towards the island of Thule [Iceland] located east of it."

 

* On June 25, 1474, the Italian mathematician and physicist Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli (1397 - 1482) sent a reply letter to the Portuguese canon and doctor Fernâo Martins de Roriz (Fernâo de Roritz or Fernáo Martíns de Roriz) in which he attached «A map made by my own hands, on which your coastlines and islands are drawn from which you can start your journey to the west ...». Among Toscanelli's ideas, we are interested in four in relation to Columbus: a) the distance by sea between Portugal and the East Indies was 130º (from the total 360º of the earth's circumference), sailing towards Poniente. Portuguese cosmologists knew that this calculation was inaccurate, although without being able to specify the margin of error; b) the length of the terrestrial degree is for Toscanelli of 62.5 miles, with which the total distance from coast to coast by the Atlantic is 62.5 x 130 = 8125 miles, a calculation that the Portuguese also considered erroneous, since the grade length was estimated at 70 miles; c) from Cape Verde to the coast of Asia the distance is one third of the sphere, that is, 116º; d) on the road to Asia are Antilia [the Antilles] and Cipango [Japan], separated by 50º.

This last opinion was the only one that could interest and make the Portuguese meditate.

 

* It is highly probable that it is true what Fray Bartolomé de las Casas says referring to some annotations of Columbus himself to the Medea of ​​Seneca, that is, that in February 1477 Christopher Columbus was in Iceland, the Thule of then, and even one hundred leagues beyond "the last of the lands." In addition, a marginal note to his copy of the History of Pope Pius II, shows that Columbus was not only in the seas of the Northwest in 1477, but that in that year the plan to go to Catayo [China] for his the west road.

Since mid-1477 Columbus is already back in Lisbon from his trip to Iceland.

 

* In 1478 or 1479, Columbus (named Christovâo Colombo in Portugal) married Filipa Moniz Perestrello, whom he had known in the Lisbon convent known to the Saints, where he used to go to Mass. In this convent there resided ladies of the nobility, and it cannot be considered as something purely casual that Columbus chose him for his Christian devotions. Filipa was noble on the part of mother and father. On the mother's side it came from the famous and powerful house of Moniz. Of the paternal, of the Italian family of the Palestrellos or Pallastrellis, native of Piacenza, being the grandfather of Filipa the first to settle in Portugal at the time of the reign of Don Juan I (king between 1385 and 1433). That tycoon had four children: Richarte, Isabel, Branca and Bartholomeu, this last father of Filipa and father-in-law of Columbus. Through the influence of Don Pedro de Noronha, Archbishop of Lisbon, who maintained intimate relations with Isabel and Branca, sisters of the father-in-law of Columbus, the Perestrello family benefited from the Captaincy of the island of Puerto Santo (43 km to the NE of the island of Madeira), granted to Bartholomeu by inheritance. This Bartholomeu I died in 1457 or early 1458, and his widow, mother-in-law of Columbus, ceded the Captaincy of the island to a brother of the deceased, but in 1473 he passed to Bartholomeu II, son of Bartholomeu I, who exercised the Captaincy when Colón married his sister Filipa. Madariaga suspects that the impulse towards the Ocean and the route of the Indies was already in the spirit of the discoverer before his alliance with this Portuguese family, and that it is more than likely that he would seek it for the relationship of such family with the mentioned island of Porto Santo, admirable exploration base for the Unknown Sea.

As a result of the aforementioned marriage of Columbus, his son Diego was born in 1479 or 1480, who was to be the second hereditary Admiral of the Ocean Sea.

 

* Among the books read and studied by Columbus, in which he left numerous marginal notes, the following should be noted:

-History rerum ubique gestarum, by Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II from 1458 until his death in 1464), Venice, 1477.

-Ymago Mundi, of Cardinal Petrus de Alliaco or Pierre d'Ailly [1351-1420], printed as believed in Leuven between 1480 and 1483.

-De consuetudinibus et conditionibus orientalium regionum, by Marco Polo, printed as believed in Antwerp in 1485.

-Historia Naturalis, by Pliny the Elder, Venice, 1489.

-Life of the Illustrious Men, of Plutarch, translated into Spanish by Alonso de Palencia, Seville, 1497.

-Almanach Perpetuum, by Abraham Zacuto, printed in the Portuguese city of Leiria (north of Lisbon) in 1496.

 

The marginal notes reveal the deep attraction that Columbus felt for metals and gold, for gems and precious stones, that is, those products easily transformable in wealth and power. But this does not mean that his primary interest was oriented towards material goods. Those products were for him mere instruments of the human spirit. His tendency to fantasy and imagination comes to him to overcome the dense magnetism that drags him to metals and gems. When the wonders become too wonderful, Columbus adopts a cautious silence. Among the books noted by him, the Ymago Mundi is especially important and revealing. Here you can see the fertile mistakes that guided him in his search and shaped his plan.

 

The great similarity of the ideas of Columbus with those of Toscanelli, allows to ensure that in 1480 Columbus had already read the letter and studied the map sent to Portugal by the Italian mathematician in June 1474. But Columbus's plan differed from that of Toscanelli in an important point: it was much more erroneous, that is, it went much further than Toscanelli's in the error on which Toscanelli himself based his belief in the possibility of crossing the Unknown Sea (the relatively short distance by sea between Portugal and the East Indies), with which Columbus still increased faith in this possibility. The Colombian ideas in this regard were the following:

 

1. The earth is round.

2. The distance by land between the eastern edge (the eastern edge of Asia) and the western edge (Portugal) is very long. This is the fundamental error, foundation of the entire Colombian building. Both this error and the following had a long tradition.

3. The distance between Spain and India (Asia) by sea is very small. Columbus places the so-called Island of Taprobana in the Indian Ocean (which could be either Ceylon, Sumatra or a ghost island), 58º west of the true West, and that, therefore, “there is only a narrow sea between Spain and India".

4. The length of the grade is 56 2/3 miles. Toscanelli, on the other hand, takes 62.5 miles to Ecuador as the basis of his calculations. Columbus endorses the figure proposed for the first time by an Arab cosmographer named El Fargani and known by Alfraganus (whose real name was Ahmet ben Kebir), who carried out measurements made under the auspices of the Abbasid caliph Almamum (al-Ma'mun, 813-832). But the miles used by El Fargani were Arabs, that is, 1973.50 meters; hence, its measurement of the Earth's equator, that is, the circumference of the Earth by Ecuador, was the most accurate until modern times, since it only exceeded the 40,007,520 meters that such circumference actually measures by 25,880 meters. Now, since the miles used by Columbus were 1477.50 meters, their calculation reduced Ecuador to three quarters of its real length.

In this way, Columbus not only reduced the width of the sea that separates from the Indies, by making the degree too short, but narrowed the width of that sea even more as a result of the number of meters the mile he had used to measure it . Columbus believed that the distance by land between Spain and the Indies covered 282º ​​of the earth's circumference, leaving only 78º (360º minus 282º ​​= 78º) as the distance between Lisbon and Catayo. As these grades also had 56 2/3 miles to Ecuador, that is, about 50 miles at the height of the Canary Islands, the total distance from Spain to India (Asia) by the West came to be the parallel of La Gomera of about 3900 miles (78 x 50 = 3900), that is, 975 leagues (975 x 4 miles that has one l equ= 3900 miles, that is, 5762 km; 3900 miles x 1477.50 meters = 5,762,250 meters, that is, 5762 km).

Columbus also takes into account the prophet Ezra, one of the sacred authors of the Apocryphal Books. This allows him to affirm that "the world is six parts dry and one part sea" (of the seven into which it is divided).

Technicians have discussed a lot about why Columbus was sure to find islands between 600 and 700 leagues to Poniente de La Gomera; but it is clear that if he sailed with Ezra in mind, only one seventh of the earth was covered with water for him, and then, either he calculated this seventh in degrees or calculated it on the surface: in the first case, he had to measure the water between Spain and India as 1/7 of 360º, that is to say 51º, which, at the rate of 50 miles that he gave to the degree at the height of the Canary Islands, is 2550 miles, that is 537.50 leagues (3,767,625 meters or almost 3768 km). Following, then, Ezra, the distance was shortened considerably by almost two thousand km (5762 km minus 3768 km = 1994 km). If, on the contrary, that seventh calculated it on the surface, the width of the sea would depend on whether or not there were seas in the southern hemisphere. From his numerous notes, it is clear that for him the southern hemisphere was populated, that is, dry. If, therefore, he thought that the southern hemisphere was as dry as the north, he had to interpret Ezra in the sense that the seventh of water was divided equally between the two halves of the earth; In one way or another, then, the distance between the Indies and Spain came to be 51º of 50 miles at the height of La Gomera.

 

* Columbus already in 1478 spoke of the discovery with the Infante Don Juan de Portugal (the future Juan II), since he was in charge of matters concerning maritime exploration. Don Juan II, when he was already king, did not see with much sympathy the Colombian project, which was presented in its final form around 1483-1484, which is why the discoverer decided to leave Portugal in 1484 and try his luck in Castile. He did it accompanied by his son Diego, then five years old, although without his wife Filipa because she had died shortly before. Madariaga's thesis is that Columbus secretly copied the famous map of Toscanelli that had arrived in Portugal in 1474, taking it with him to Spain. He copied it in one of the blank pages of his copy of the Rerum Ubique Gestarum History of Pope Pius II, but with the precaution of omitting in the copy the essential data, as the starting point of the calculations that gave the length of the crossings; Then he took enough notes to copy the map to his pleasure. He also took with him some fake letters from Toscanelli addressed to him, who, in the case of discovering his abduction, could present them to defend himself, as if the letters had been accompanied by the map, since the falsification of those no one could certify it, as Toscanelli had died in 1482.

* Madariaga sees in Colón a kind of pre-incarnation of Don Quijote. Columbus does not move primarily for greed or purely material interests, but for an ideal and for achieving glory.

 

* Three features of the Jewish faith transferred to the Christian faith of Columbus: a) prophetic sense; b) believe an elected; c) contractual sense.

 

* Most likely, Columbus did not convert to the Christian faith during the course of his life, but was already born into a Christian family, as it is reasonable to think that his ancestors became Christians after the terrible events of 1391 .

 

* Columbus left, almost in all likelihood, Lisbon through the Tagus estuary and entered Castile disembarking in Palos. In the Franciscan convent of La Rabida in the same town of Palos, Fray Juan Pérez welcomed him cordially, who heard the story of Columbus accompanied by the convent's doctor, García Fernández or Hernández. The convent then had a true astrologer, Fray Antonio de Marchena, absent when Columbus first arrived. It was in this monastery where a Castilian pilot, Pedro Velasco, told Columbus about the Portuguese expedition under Diego (Diogo) de Teive, in which Velasco himself was listed as a pilot. The expedition took place in 1452, at the time of Henry the Navigator, and it happened in it that, after the island of Faial (Fayal), the 5th largest in the size of the Azores, about 150 leagues were interned in the Ocean (perhaps they arrived, although it is very unlikely, to the Sargasso Sea itself), and on the way back they discovered the island of Flores, which is the westernmost of that archipelago.

 

When Columbus arrived in Huelva, the Court was then in Seville. He addressed, first, the Duke of Medina-Sidonia, Don Enrique de Guzmán, who declined to take over the company. Later, Columbus addressed the Duke of Medinaceli, Don Luis de la Cerda, legitimate heir of the first-born branch of Castile (he was a direct descendant of the eldest son of Alfonso X the Wise, who died young. 

The heirs were dispossessed of the Crown by their uncle, the youngest son of Alfonso X, who reigned under the name of Sancho IV). The Duke of Medinaceli tuned in to Columbus, protecting him between the autumn of 1484 and the beginning of 1486, although he gave spontaneously to the Crown the honor of such a high enterprise. The Duke resided in the Port of Santa Maria. On one occasion, at the docks of the town of Cádiz, a one-eyed sailor told Colón how in the course of a trip to Ireland “he saw that land that the others had there knew, and imagined that it was Tartaria, who turned around the west »(Las Casas, Book I, chap. XIII). The Duke was then very busy in the war in Granada. The spring campaign of 1485 was a success. The Catholic King returned to Cordoba, where Mrs. Isabel was, on St. John's Day. By a letter written by the Duke of Medinaceli to the Cardinal of Spain, Don Pedro González de Mendoza, dated March 19, 1493, we know that the Duke wrote to the Queen from Rota, answering Doña Isabel to send him to Columbus, who was received for his Highness and given to Alonso de Quintanilla (this interview of Columbus with the Queen is not demonstrated). Madariaga's conclusion is that the discovery plan was submitted to the Royal Chancellery of Castile on January 20, 1486, date that Columbus himself designates as the official beginning of his "service." That January 20 the Kings were in Madrid. Columbus went to Córdoba, and, following the instructions received, presented himself to Alonso de Quintanilla [ca. 1420 - 1500], Senior Accountant of the Kings. Through Quintanilla's mediation, Columbus met the Cardinal of Spain, known as the "Third King," first archbishop of Seville and then Toledo, a kind of Prime Minister of the Monarchy; This contact assured Columbus access to the Kings. In late April or early May 1486 the Kings arrived in Cordoba. In this city, during the spring of 1486, Columbus met for the first time with the Catholic Monarchs.

 

* In early May 1486, according to Madariaga, the Catholic Monarchs decided to appoint a commission of technicians (astronomers, cosmologists, navigators and "philosophers") to evaluate the Colombian proposal. The commission worked mostly in Salamanca, and did not rule until 1490. The president of the commission was Fray Hernando de Talavera [1428 - 1507], appointed in 1470 Prior of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Prado in Valladolid, and of whom Madariaga makes a splendid semblance. Of the vowels, only the name of one is known, Don Rodrigo Maldonado de Talavera [1456 - 1517], Governor of Salamanca, jurist and versed in scientific matters. The causes and motives of the disagreements between Fray Hernando and Colón have nothing to do with petty reasons, as this was impossible in a spirit as selfless, noble and charitable as that of the Queen's confessor. Madariaga analyzes very well the clash of these two spirits, that of the hero and that of the saint. The fact is that Fray Bartolomé de las Casas and Hernando Colón are right to talk about Talavera's opposition to the Colombian project, which partly explains the commission's delay in issuing an opinion, but they err on the real reasons that guide the conduct from the former Prior del Prado. According to Madariaga, only Columbus could speak before the commission according to Toscanelli, according to Marco Polo and according to Ezra, making a mescolanza between the three. His reluctant attitude, in addition to the clash with Talavera, explains his failure before the commission. Columbus was not only vague in his arguments, but he did not show any map. It is clear that he did not want to reveal his sources, nor that he knew how he had obtained the map of Toscanelli, in case it occurred to the members of the commission to find out their origin. In Salamanca, Columbus found another powerful protector, the Dominican Fray Diego de Deza [1443 - 1523], Professor of Theology at the University, who became Archbishop of Seville and succeeded Tomás de Torquemada [1420 - 1498] as General Inquisitor of Castile . Deza facilitated the delivery of sums of money to Columbus from the Treasury.

 

* The years immediately after 1487 must have been for Columbus of spiritual deprivation, due to the delay in the authorization of his project, although the great navigator was not neglected, nor lacked influential friends, nor lacked the protection of the Kings. It is nothing strange for Madariaga that it was at that time, in 1487, the year of the conquest of Malaga, where the discoverer was possibly, in which Columbus had his only love affair, with Beatriz Enriquez, Cordoba, Fernando's mother (Hernando ) Columbus, who was born on August 15, 1488. The documents prove that Columbus, although he did not marry her, loved and esteemed this woman, who must be between eighteen and twenty years old when he met her. Not only did he leave her well insured, but he had family members of her for positions he trusted: Diego, cousin carna