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 for 2 LMD ( civilisation) about Columbus

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مُساهمةموضوع: for 2 LMD ( civilisation) about Columbus   الثلاثاء أغسطس 11, 2009 6:19 am




Overview of The Discovery of the
New World



THE PERSONAL
HISTORY OF COLUMBUS.




It
was the glory of Italy to furnish the greatest of the discoverers of
the New World. Not only
Columbus,
but Vespucci (or Vespucius), the
Cabots, and
Verazzani were born
under Italian skies; yet singularly enough the country of the
Caesars was to gain not a square foot of territory for herself where
other nations divided majestic continents between them. In treating
our subject we naturally begin at the starting point of biography,
the birthplace. The generally accepted statement has been that
Columbus was born at Genoa, especially as Columbus begins his will
with the well known declaration, " I, being born in Genoa."

But it has been asserted by numerous writers that in this Columbus
was mistaken, just as for a long time

General Sheridan was mistaken in supposing himself to have been
born in a little Ohio town, when he learned, within a year or two of
his death, that he was born in Albany, N. Y. But passing this, it
remains to be said that the evidence of the Genoese birth of
Columbus may now be considered as fully established. As to the time
of his birth there has been not a little question. Henry Harrisse,
the American scholar already referred to, placed it between March
25th, 1446, and March 20th, 1447. This, however, we can hardly
accept, especially as it would make Columbus at the time of his
first naval venture only thirteen years of age. Tarducci gives 1435
or 1436 as the year of his birth. This is also the date given by
Irving, and it would seem to be the most probable. This is the
almost decisive testimony of Andres Bernaldez, better known as the
Curate of Los Palacios, who was most intimate with Columbus and had
him a great deal in his house. He says the death of Columbus took
place in his seventieth year. His death occurred May 20th, 1506,
which would make the year of his birth probably about 1436. And now
starting with Genoa as the birthplace of Columbus and about the year
1435 or 1436 as the time of his birth, we proceed with our story.
Christopher Columbus (or Columbo in Italian) was the son of
Dominico Columbo and Susannah Fontanarossa his wife. The father was
a wool carder, a business which seems to have been followed by the
family through several generations. He was the oldest of four
children, having two brothers. Bartholomew and Giacomo (James in
English, in Spanish, Diego), and one sister. Of the early years of
Columbus little is known. It is asserted by some that Columbus was a
wool comber - no mean occupation in that day - and did not follow
the sea. On the other hand, it is insisted and Tarducci and Harrisse
hold to that view that, whether or not he enlisted in expeditions
against the Venetians and Neapolitans (and the whole record is misty
and uncertain), Columbus at an early age showed a marked inclination
for the sea, and his education was largely directed along the lines
of his tastes, and included such studies as geography, astronomy,
and navigation. It is certain that when Columbus arrived at Lisbon
he was one of the best geographers and cosmographers of his age, and
was accustomed to the sea from infancy. Happily his was an age
favorable for discovery. The works of travel were brought to the
front. The closing decade of the fifteenth century was a time of
heroism, of deeds of daring, and discovery. Rude and unlettered to
some extent, yet it was far more fruitful, and brought greater
blessings to the world than are bestowed by the effeminate luxury
which often characterizes a civilization too daintily pampered, too
tenderly reared. Life then was at least serious.
Improvement in
Navigation Tools



Right here it may be in place to state how invention promoted
Columbian discovery. The compass had been known for six hundred
years. But at this time the quadrant and sextant were unknown; it
became necessary to discover some means for finding the altitude of
the sun, to ascertain one's distance from the equator. This was
accomplished by utilizing the Astrolabe, an instrument only lately
used by astronomers in their stellar work. This invention gave an
entirely new direction to navigation, delivering seamen from the
necessity of always keeping near the shore, and permitting the
little ships to sail free amidst the immensity of the sea, so that a
ship that had lost its course, formerly obliged to grope its way
back by the uncertain guidance of the stars, could now, by aid of
compass and astralobe, retrace its course with ease. Much has justly
been ascribed to the compass as a promoter of navigation, but the
astralobe was surely just as important.
Columbus
Approaches the King of Portugal



The best authorities place the arrival of Columbus at Lisbon
about the year 1470. It is probable Columbus was known by reputation
to Alfonso V, King of Portugal. It is unquestionable that
Columbus
was attracted to Portugal by the spirit of discovery which prevailed
throughout the Iberian peninsula, fruits of which were just
beginning to be gathered. Prince Henry of Portugal, who was one of
the very first of navigators, if not the foremost explorer of his
day, had established a Naval College and Observatory, to which the
most learned men were invited, while under the Portuguese flag the
greater part of the African coast had been already explored. Having
settled in Lisbon, at the Convent of All Saints, Columbus formed an
acquaintance with Felipa Monis de Perestrello, daughter of
Bartholomew de Perestrello, an able navigator with whom Prince Henry
had made his first discovery. The acquaintance soon ripened into
love, and Columbus made her his wife. Felipa's father soon died, and
then with his wife and her mother Columbus moved to Porte Santo,
where a son was born to them, whom they named Diego. Felipa hence
forth disappears from history; there is no further record of her. At
Porto Santo Columbus supported his family and helped sustain his
aged father.
Meanwhile Columbus was imbibing to the full the spirit of
discovery so widely prevalent. It was not his wife who materially
helped him at this time, but his mother-in-law, who, observing the
deep interest that Columbus took in all matters of exploration and
discovery, gave him all the manuscripts and charts which her husband
had made. These, along with his own voyages to some recently
discovered places, only renewed the burning desire for exploration
and discovery.
But the sojourn at Portugal must be briefly passed over. The
reports that came to his ears while living at Porto Santo only
intensified his convictions of the existence of an empire to the
West. He heard of great reeds and a bit of curiously carved wood
seen at sea, floating from the West; and vague rumors reached him at
different times, of "strange lands" in the Atlantic - most if not
all of them mythical. But they continued to stimulate interest as
they show the state of public thought at that time respecting the
Atlantic, whose western regions were all unknown. All the reports
and all the utterances of the day Columbus watched with closest
scrutiny. He secured old tomes for fullest information as to what
the ancients had written or the moderns discovered. All this served
to keep the subject fresh in his mind, for his convictions were
constantly strengthened by contemporary speculators. Toscanelli, an
Italian mathematician, had written, at the instance of King Alfonso,
instructions for a western route to Asia. With him Columbus entered
into correspondence, which greatly strengthened his theories.
Constant thought and reflection resulted in his conception of a
course to take, which, followed for a specific time, would result in
the discovery of an empire. He would subdue a great trans-Atlantic
empire, and from its riches he would secure the wealth to devote to
expeditions for recovering the Holy Land, and so he would pay the
Moors dearly for their invasion of the Iberian peninsula, a truly
fanciful but not a wholly unreasonable conception, as the times
were.
At last he found means to lay his project before the King of
Portugal. But the royal councilors treated the attempt to cross the
Atlantic as rash and dangerous, and the conditions required by
Columbus as exorbitant. The adventurous King, John II, had more
faith in his scheme than his wise men, and, with a dishonesty not
creditable to him, attempted at this time to reap the benefit of
Columbus' studies and plans by sending out an expedition of his own
in the direction and by the way traced in his charts. But the skill
and daring of Columbus were wanting, and at the first trouble at sea
the expedition sought safety in flight. It turned back to the Cape
de Verde islands, and the officers took revenge for their
disappointment by ridiculing the project of Columbus as the vision
of a day dreamer.
Columbus's brother Bartholomew had endeavored about this time to
interest the British monarch in the project, but the first of the
Tudors had too much to do in quelling insurrection at home, and in
raising revenues by illegal means, to spend any moneys on visionary
projects. Henry III would have none of him.
Columbus
at the Franciscan Monastery



Meantime, indignant at the infamous treatment accorded him, and
with his ties to Portugal already dampened by the death of his wife,
he determined to shake the dust of Portugal off his feet, and seek
the Court of Spain. He would start at once for Cordova, where the
Spanish Court then was. Leaving Lisbon secretly, near the close of
1484, he chose to follow the sea coast to Palos, instead of taking
the direct inland route, and most happily so; for, in so doing he
was to gain a friend and a most important ally. Weary and foot sore,
on his journey, he finally arrived at Palos, then a small port on
the Atlantic, at the mouth of the Tinto, in Andalusia; here hunger
and want drove him to seek assistance from the charity of the Monks,
and ascending the steep mountain road to the Franciscan monastery of
Santa Maria de La Rabida, he met the pious prior, Father Juan Perez,
who, struck with his imposing presence, despite his sorry
appearance, entered into conversation with him.


COLUMBUS'S ARRIVAL AT
THE CONVENT OF LA RABIDA.



As the interview grew in interest to both the parties, Columbus
was led to impart to the prior his great project, to the prior's
increasing wonder, for in Palos the spirit of exploration was as
large as in Lisbon. Columbus was invited to make the Convent his
place of sojourn, an invitation he was only too glad to accept. Then
Father Perez sent for his friend, a well known geographer of Palos,
and, deeply interested in all that related to exploration and the
discovery of new lands, the three took the subject into earnest
consideration, thorough discussion of the question being had. It was
not long before Father Perez became deeply interested in the plans
of Columbus. To glorify God is the highest aim to which one can
address himself; of that feeling Father Perez was thoroughly
possessed; and how could he more fully glorify him than by aiding in
the discovery of new lands and the spreading of Christianity there?
Impelled by this feeling, he urged Columbus to proceed at once to
Cordova, where the Spanish Court then was, giving him money for his
journey, and a letter of commendation to his friend, the father
prior of the monastery of El Prado Fernando de Talavera, the queen's
Confessor, and a person of great influence at Court. There was hope,
and there was a period of long and weary waiting yet before him.
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