TO EXPLAIN WHAT IS UNEXPLAINABLE:
All the historians agree in the exquisite care that put the Admiral while he was living in concealing always any detail that could make known the origins of the own identity that the other could consider unfavorable for him, and in displaying always for itself an authentic "marketing" advertising that would envy today any political.
Before speaking of Colón, it agrees to add that when it appeared in 1571 the "Historia del Almirante" , counted by his own son Hernando, Colón was already practically done not know, nobody was recalling to him. The second book that could have contributed to his recovery, "General History of Indias" , the famous book of fray Bartolomé de las Casas, it did not saw the popular public light until principles of the XIX. That is to say, during almost 300 years Colón was ignored by the History.
The Romanticism, above all in the pictorial and literary facets, it was the responsible for "to resuscitate" to the Admiral, with what created a mythical man, to which was surrounded of all the possible topics, and of the most unlikely legends; we would cite for example that to the authors of this work, in the school "learnt" that Colón was defending that the Earth planet was round while the rest of the world, included the "wise" were asserting that was a plan; and still today they are explained, in Spain and outside of she, falsehoods of the same calibre.
|This picture, due to
the imagination of the painter, it has remained in the
mind of many persons, and however, by the agreement
between Colon and the Kings, in the first trip there were
not cures neither friars.
Already we will see that the large discussions with the experts of the Escuela de Navegantes of Portugal, and the doctors of the Universidad de Salamanca, had as friction point the diameter of the Earth. The pledge of Colón in which the land to the one which he was intending to arrive was Cypango, limit of Eastern Indias carried to the "discoverer" to use deliberately a wrong calculation (but very convenient for the project) of the earth diameter therefore was systematically rejected.
Furthermore, and in fact that was offering he?: a new route shorter than the land or the one which were attempting the Portugueses by the end of Buena Esperanza; but a new route does not mean a "contract in exclusive" , or a development only of the trade. And was known the fact of the fact that in 1486 the brothers Juan and Alvaro Fonte, of the Azores, they had been ruined trying to reaching "the islands of the setting of the Ocean"
If was offering "new lands" , Portugal as well as Spain, they were not the suitable places. Portugal already it had quite problems with the African coasts, the kingdom from Aragon was obtaining fatty benefits from the Mediterranean accessions, and Castille was needing first of all to conquer the Grenada lands to have the free enemies south and to avoid other Arabic invasions by Gibraltar, and power be faced to the nobility to diminish the lordly power, that in fact was the common policy of the Catholic Kings. From there that it sent to his brother Bartolomé to England and France (where received the news from the return of the first trip from Colón) to negotiate in those countries, and where it was by more than thirteen years without positive results.
Evidently, it of baptizing to Gran Khan sounds to buffoonery until for the most pious cure of both courts. For so much, and to the sight of the historical data that they have arrived us, the offer of a new route was for anyone of the kingdoms a smaller cause; nevertheless Portugal as well as Castille cause that their erudite study the topic; after Colón, with the Kings, was speaking of benefits, and of rapid benefits, tangible, immediate, palpable in how much he returned, and the own Portuguese king subsidizes an expedition to backs of Colón, what causes that this resign definitely to negotiate in Portugal.
In this framework, we should register the history of Sánchez de Huelva, perhaps sponsored by the own Colón, and that was helping Admiral to hide a part of as had information on the route without having to give too explanations. The center of the history consists in which the navigation that accomplished Colón already had been accomplished some ten years before by a Huelva pilot, nicknamed Alonso Sánchez and that was carrying aboard neighboring several his. After a violent storm in which the ship remained without course, and after twelve or fourteen navigation weeks were dashed in the reefs of some unknown lands, and inhabited by happy and peaceful peoples. In that land, Alonso Sánchez remade the ship, and drew marine maps of the involuntary navigation.
Nearly all the crew that survived to the expedition, succumbed in the return due to the fevers and the scurvy but the marine streams drove the remains of the vessel to the coasts of La Gomera, where arrived six sailors that the inhabitants of San Sebastián were strengthened in rallying. There, by chance, it were found a merchant of Génova service of the Kings of Portgal, fan the things of the sea and especially the cartography called Cristóbal Colón, and that had commercial dealings with sir Diego García Herrera, lady son-in-law Inés de Peraza, countess of la Gomera.
Evidently, several of the members of the crew were saved, except the famous Sanchez that it went to die in arms of Colón, relying to him the maps and their secret.
The legend, results very convenient to the cause from Colón by several reasons, in the first place locates it in a "port" that he being knowledgeable by the trips there accomplished as "representative" of a commercial company of Genova, (one must to clarify that of the Canary Islands, in those years, La Gomera was the most meaningful island, since Tenerife and La Palma they were by conquering, and the conqueror of Gran Canaria, were strengthened in the conquest and not in asserting commercial accessions) and at the same time removes to our personage from other port that was knowing much better: the island of Porto Santo in the western extreme of the Azores, since the deceased father-in-law of our "hero" , the Perestrello captain exercised as governing of the island, therefore Colón inhabited in her during several years and where the historiography says that he arrived to see carved logs "that not were seeming it with iron" , and that were arriving to the island from setting dragged by the streams.
In second place, hides very well the reality on the safety of Colón within which was the distance between Cypango and Lisbon. This legend, already was known in times of Colón, though the first written witness that of she have is due to a manuscript of the Padre Ramos of 1574 and that it was in the files of the Counts of la Gomera, totally ignored, until 1929 date in the one which was published.
Most of Latino historians consider untruthful this legend, but the teacher Manzano does not doubt of his veracity together with several Anglo-Saxon colleagues. It will be certain or not, what none casts doubt on is that Colón or had very direct testimonies and concrete tests of some lands "by the setting" , or he same had arrived to them; also it is proven that the same as the expedition that Juan II King of Portugal sponsored backs of Colón, and the mentioned previously that sailed of the Azores, other several departed from various Europe points during those years, but no achieved to return, since the east winds that help the navigation in the departure, hinder it in the return.
But we would continue with the legend, what real guarantees obtained that notary of the court, Luis de Santángel, whose cargo was that of ration notary of the Court of Aragon, to convince the queen of Castille?. Because without him is had dismissed definitely the Columbian adventure, and since he, to the service of Aragon speech with the queen of Castille, until the Capitulaciones de Santa Fe elapse some few months. We would not forget that was converse Jew, and that he same put above of table a million four hundred thousand maravedís to finance the project.
And yet it is more, the best Mexican historian on the topic, Carlos Pereyra, is asked why for the first trip Colón chose the longest route. Perhaps the maps could give us a response.
We can observe in a map of the first trip, the exquisite care of Colón in maintaining the route originated by the shock of streams that arrive from the Cancer Tropic, against those which are branching from the Gulf's Stream. That stream is as a kind of "river" within own sea, but it is a river that carries directly to the Antilles. Other point to take into account, would be that of the winds; thanks to the modern meteorology can locate the anticyclone of the Azores during the month of August.
We should notice us that "to cross" in south address the line of 1015 millibars, supposes be found face winds that would hamper the trip, while to cross in north address the line of 1020 millibars is enter the zone without wind, and in fact the Admiral narrates that that occurred during the trip.
But there was that to find the solution of commitment to arrive to the current that permitted to him to decrease until the Antilles, and the zone where are remained without wind.
It more sure is that Colón did not know the topic of the winds such and as now it is known, but what yes was knowing very well was the topic of the stream; enough with which we observe the path of the first trip.
It can be observed that to road half "takes" course NNO, the same course that will lead to him until the "river" that is originated by the shock of currents and that will decrease to Colón until the Antilles, and also to the center of the anticyclone and to the sea of the Sargassos. However he was knowing very well that was that sea, and therefore writes in the Diario that "were finding herb" . Though would be worth the trouble to make an inventory of the times that names that "the sea was as a river" .
Was Knowing Colón the existence of that "river" ?. We should not forget that, independent to the experience that he had as marine, during the years that Colón do you live in Lisbon while negotiates with the king, lives of selling books and to make "maps of navigating" . Lisbon in that era was the starting point of all the Portuguese expeditions, having thus access to information on the current news and the routes of the expeditions that were returning, what united to the extraordinary observation abilities of our personage (of those which below we will speak), to the study capacity that he had and to the observations accomplished in Porto Santo made possible that he arrived to trace their own and hypothetical maps until Cypango.
The coincidences of the maps seem to attest that such were, as well as the form of "to go to seek it" in the just point of the ocean. The route, according to attests Pereyra is misses, and the test is that never he returned to follow it in none by the others trips that he accomplished. Why? , perhaps a last idea clarify us a little more the situation.
Now, we know that all the eels go to spawn to the sea of the Sargassos, and then they migrate to their rivers of origin. The sucklings delay some two years in arriving to the European coasts and in the form of elvers are agglomerated in the outlets of the rivers. There they was fished from the antiquity as fodder, until the Basques, at the beginning of century, in an era of famine decided be eaten the fodder they same, with something which have given to the universal kitchen one of the better foods.
But to the margin of the anecdote. How much marine predator banks were following, to the eels decreasing to the sea of the Sargassos, as well as in the return of the elvers from this? .
It is logical to think that various fisherman peoples could know the migration route so much of departure as of return of the fish banks that was fed of the elvers or of the eels. Arrived some of the ships of the fishermen, by accident, beyond sea of the Sargassos? . Helped Colón in the design of the departure route the knowledge of the streams that drag to the eels and after to the elvers? ... And what is most important?, As obtained Colón the return route? . To arrive was simple all over what have seen, but.. To return?.
Finally, and above all to what is long of the year 92, we have tired us of hearing the history of "Colón in three caravels. .. "; other falsehood to the one which by certain is very given the TV as a rule. Colón departed with two caravels (la Pinta and la Niña), and a nao: la Santa María; evidently they exist differences. It nao, hoists five candles, round four and a latina, such and as describes the Admiral in the Diario. The nao, era a load ship with top, that was using as propulsion element a squared or mixed canvas, castle in the prow and in the stern other mean cover on the one which were armed the command bridge; and with rigging of three sticks, spar in cross and watchman tops in the foresail and the greater stick.
Normally was serving for transportation and foods and chattels allotment between both caravels, while these were simply mercantile ships, of round hull with squared stern and rounded prow and command bridge; Latin candles canvas prow and fortress castle of stern displacing between 150 and 200 tons. As can be proven the differences between both ships are important. Nevertheless during many years we will follow hearing the history of the three caravels.
And this point of the nao Santa María indicates clearly that Colón when planned the trip was knowing very well what was making, but was letting a clear track of the knowledge that he had on the fishing elements of high sea. As leave the fishing fleets? : with two different types of ships, some ready for the fishing, and other with the provisioning to distribute between the ships and the fleet until is arrived to the banks, and for the return. On the other hand, it exists a singularity with respect to the nao:
"Departed, in his first trip, 3 of August of 1492 of Palos (Huelva) with three caravels. La Pinta, errand by Martín Alonso Pinzón, la Niña, by Vicente Yañez Pinzón, and la Santa María, with the cartographer Juan de la Cosa, and the own Colón as expedition chief. "
Putting aside the mistake of considering the nao as a caravel, the important detail is that it nao was belonging to Juan de la Cosa and arrived from Santander to participate in the expedition by desire of the own Admiral. The Admiral, seeks marine in Palos, but is brought to the better cartographer of the moment, and in addition to a zone that wide has relationship to the Basques and a built ship probably in Galicia, and by so much by bank carpenters with wide experience in Atlantic voyage ships. That is to say, round ship, heavy, healthy and of great transportation, front to the long ship of smooth hull and easy to maneuvering of the Mediterranean construction.