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Christopher Columbus and the Discovery of the America

Autor:   •  November 15, 2011  •  Essay  •  2,262 Words (10 Pages)  •  772 Views

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CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND THE DISCOVERY OF THE AMERICA

Born in 1451 in Genoa, Cristoforo Colomb was the eldest son of the couple Domenico et Susan Colombo. The Republic of Genoa was at its peak and it owed its wealth from the trade with the Orient. The port of Genoa hosted many ships which crisscrossed the Mediterranean.

The young Cristoforo was destined to the trade of wool which he learned from his father. But he could not help but watch the ships come and go in the harbor.

Centurioni brothers, the biggest bankers in the Republic, were looking for good sellers who were not afraid to face the sea, and hires Cristoforo Colombo. He makes his first sea voyage to the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. Then he went to Madeira to bring sugar and after went to Tunis in search of spices.

In 1476, the Turks took over the port of Gaffa and blocked the trade routes to the Orient. Genoese bankers turned then their attention to the Atlantic, North Africa and Europe. On August 1st, Bechalla, the merchant ship in which Cristoforo was traveling, is sunk by a French squadron. Cristoforo jumped overboard and with the help of the wreckage, reached the Portuguese coast.

A few days later, Cristoforo Colombo reached Lisbon where he became Cristovao Colombo. Portuguese sailors had already mastered the high seas navigation to get to Mina in Guinea, where they brought back gold, spices and slaves.

While continuing to work for the brothers Centurioni, Columbus became passionate for cartography, astronomy and marine science. He read many books and studying Ptolemy gave him the certainty of the roundness of the earth. Little by little he was convinced that there was a road to the west, beyond the Atlantic to Indies.

During a trip in autumn 1476 off the coast of Ireland, Columbus observed tides that he had never seen. To him, only the existence of land could explain that phenomenon.

In an Irish tavern he heard of Viking stories, who 500 years earlier, had discovered a land they called Vinland. The story narrated that in the year one thousand, Leiv Erickson, son of Erick the Red, sailing to Greenland, ended up in Newfoundland and they were chased out by indigenous three years later. The Vikings regained the road to their homeland but forgot the path which led to Vinland.

In 1480, Columbus moved with his wife, Dona Felipa, to Porto Santo, near Madeira. He sailed to the coast of Africa and studied the winds and currents from the west. Several intriguing questions of: where did come from the pinecones rejected by the sea? Why did unique plants and flowers grow in Madeira and nowhere else? Where did come from these strange carvings in wood that sailors gathered on the high seas? Columbus was convinced there was land west.

He then became obsessed with the idea of discovering this new road to reach the Indies. By using Italian miles instead of Arab miles, his calculations

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