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KF5JRV > TODAY    12.10.18 13:30l 57 Lines 3012 Bytes #4 (0) @ WW
BID : 22937_KF5JRV
Subj: Today in History - Oct 12
Sent: 181012/1124Z 22937@KF5JRV.#NWAR.AR.USA.NA BPQ6.0.16

After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher
Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia.
His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for
Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a
western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice
islands of Asia.

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Little is known of his early
life, but he worked as a seaman and then a maritime entrepreneur. He
became obsessed with the possibility of pioneering a western sea route
to Cathay (China), India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. At the
time, Europeans knew no direct sea route to southern Asia, and the route
via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire,
as were many land routes. Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans
of Columbus’ day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St.
Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others,
underestimated the world’s size, calculating that East Asia must lie
approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet
know that the Pacific Ocean existed).

With only the Atlantic Ocean, he thought, lying between Europe and the
riches of the East Indies, Columbus met with King John II of Portugal
and tried to persuade him to back his “Enterprise of the Indies,ö as he
called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where he was also
rejected at least twice by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. However,
after the Spanish conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in January
1492, the Spanish monarchs, flush with victory, agreed to support his

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small
ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. On October 12, the
expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later
that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China,
and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus
thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of
his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and “Indianö
captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the
Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since
the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New
World, discovering various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and
the South and Central American mainlands, but he never accomplished his
original goal—a western ocean route to the great cities of Asia.
Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what
he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches
over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most
powerful nation on earth.

73 de Scott KF5JRV


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