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Spain -- Section 2





By Michael Johnathan McDonald
© 2005


Christopher Columbus

"Italian mariner and navigator; widely believed to be the first European to sail across the Atlantic Ocean and successfully land on the American continent. Born Cristoforo Colombo, between August and October 1451, in Genoa, Italy. Columbus was the eldest son of Domenico Colombo, a wool-worker and small-scale merchant, and his wife, Susanna Fontanarossa; he had two younger brothers, Bartholomew and Diego. He received little formal education and was a largely self-taught man, later learning to read Latin and write Castilian."

The fifteenth and sixteenth Centuries  European became a maritime strength able to wonder if they could get to India, now that the Ottoman Empire ( Islam ) Had cut off the Mediterranean routs, by scooting around the cape of South Africa. Europe just came out of the Black Death, although it would erupt here and there in France for a while later, Spain and Portugal having thrown out the Muslims recently looked to new adventures. This was the age of renaissance, a word that means ‘new beginnings,’ or more notably “awakening.” On April 1992 John Carlos celebrated Christopher Columbus’s 500 anniversary in a Spain synagogue.

Ottoman Empire had been established as the Muslim occupied Jerusalem (1503 onward) , and a bad seed stuck in the stomachs of the Christian world. Previously, there would be 12 major crusades to try to knock Islam out of the region, some with success, but most failed. The Ottomans will hold on to their empire until the time of World War I, when after slowly collapsing ever since its foundation, a final death-knell collapses their empire and they disappear for a while. Columbus believed Christians' should rule the world.

The Ottomans have the monopoly on trade, and far was that trade going into parts of China, and all the way to Moluccas islands, where the Arabs traded for spices. Spain would later focus on the Moluccas islands, for dominance in trade. The ideas floated around Spain and Portugal after their expulsion of the Moors (also Muslims) 1492. Isabella and Ferdinand will want to continue to spread Catholicism across the lands because they think this is the only way to combat people from Arab Allah influence. In retrospect, this is really a culture class and not a religious battle. The Spanish did not want to live under Arab dominance and the Arabs did not want to live under Spanish dominance. It had no relevance to a god that so many put as the forefront of the blame. It is just that they hated each other and could not get along. Call it different gene makeup or different appearance, it all equates to non similar characteristics. It is said that opposites attract, yet this had to be at a superficial level and not on a fundamental level.

What started off the search for the orient is that Marco Polo's successful trips to the Orient and all the treasures, ideas, rumors and new things that he had brought back to enhance European life triggered a search as to how to get to the Orient, via, not the Ottoman state way but by circumventing the Islamic blocade. At the time Portugal was venturing out into the Atlantic Ocean and discovering small islands. They will find Azores, Medera and Cannery islands that will support a peaceful harbor for their ships. It is said that when they came upon the Cannery islands, the only island with inhabitance, the Gaunche they were called, it was here the that Spanish and Portuguese found out how to conquer Indians and make them serfs ( A form of slavery). The Gaunche numbered in 33,000, and were related to the African Berber tribes that came their and some how were abandoned and they lived and created on the isle. It is reported that the Spainish were the ones who enslaved them and forced Catholicism on them. The Spanish also brought pathogens, possibly from pneumonia and plague in doormat stages, yet the Gaunche were not immune so they got sick easily and in 200 years their species died off, except for a few women who had children with Spanish conquerors. After forcing enslavement on the natives the Spanish made them harvest sugar in which they sold to the majority of Europe tradesmen in order to finance their maritime fleet. According to the leftwing this means that Spain conquered Americas as an evil empire bent on enslaving Indians and the such. This was the testing grounds for slavery ( Servatude – serfdom) and colonization that was to come. It took the spainsih five years to conquer the Gaunche before they turned them into slaves.

In 1497 a explorer named Vascoda Gama picked up a Muslim interpreter who guided him to the Indian continent ( Where they wanted to go) He is considered the first to be European to get their by way of sailing around the cape of Africa. Most others who tried became lost do to high winds and disorientation.

Prince Henry knew about a place in Constantinople that had a map drawn up by the ancient and famed Ptolemy, ( Books; Fixed Stars and Almagest – The Great Book, named by the Arab translators who transcribed it from the Original Greek) This was a third century map of Europe and North Africa, which makes one wonder what the Hellenistic crowd knew about earth back them ( remember the world is coming out of the dark ages, meaning all literacy was absent ) There was a tenant of Catholicism who had the map and was about to sell it. Prince Henry was angry man and this is one of the reasons that he sold it to an unknown man named Christopher Columbus, who duly had it copied and sold copies for his income. Now Christopher had a unique idea that after getting information about the circumference of the earth (They had these measurements back in the Hellenistic days, that were close ) . What if one would sail west instead of east and wind up in the Indies. (Indies was a popular name back then for the continent that held India, Japan, and China.) Columbus laid in a unique position as this map had grids and was the only one in existence in the European world. He could calculate about the tip of Africa then, make correction, but sail west and not east and wind up in the Indies.

Columbus went to some kings and had no luck; he even tried the English court who gave him a nudge back to European land. He met up with a chief councilor and a treasurer and some nobles of Spain who told him the reason that they are not listening to you is they haven’t finished up delegating responsibilities and the clean up of the Moors. Columbus tried the King of Portugal who was not interested in his plan, then he married and had a two children with a Spanish mistress waiting for about a year until the Moorish situation was finished. He was also married with a child at the time by another wife.

“In 1479, Columbus married Felipa Perestello e Moniz, from an impoverished noble Portuguese family. Their son, Diego, was born in 1480. Felipa died in 1485, and Columbus later began a relationship with Beatriz Enríquez de Harana of Cordoba, with whom he had a second son, Ferdinand. (Columbus and Beatriz never married, but he provided for her in his will and legitimatized Ferdinand, in accordance with Castilian law.)”

Now when the Moorish problem was over and people started to settle in to their new Espana civilization, Christopher meet a duke and along with the treasure his friend he was introduced to Isabella at he Alhambra. Isabella taken by this man who energy and conviction astonished her, yet it was not the whole reason, he was devout Catholic like she,  he had red hair and so did she, they both enjoyed the same birthday but not the same year and Columbus asked her how old she was not knowing that you do not do things like that to a queen, she ended up liking him so much that they had a meeting with various intellectuals of astronomy, navigators and planners. The royal treasure said, “ Why not, no lost ot us but if he finds a rout to India ( Indies) we get rich.” Under a few conditions that Ferdinand took hard to accept but relented on was, Columbus would have titles of Viceroy ( Like a vice President) of all the lands ( He conquered) 1/10th of all the gold and silver he finds, and titles for his two sons that would inherit his finds, as well as “Admiral of the fleet.” The king and queen also set up a monetary reward for the first person to sight land. Isabella also sold $30,000 dollars in our money to finance the operation. ( Which I find hard to believe)

The Nina, Pica, and Santa Maria in which Columbus sailed on set off on an adventure of a lifetime. On August 3, 1492, the fleet of three ships—the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María—set forth from Palos, on the Tinto River in southern Spain. After a small stay at the Canneries,  the voage took 33 days and on October 11 Clumbus said he saw a light at 10:00 p.m. in the evening, yet it would be October 12, 2:00 a.m. when one of the shipmates said “ Land Ahead” a word that would claim him the monetary prize. Columbus disputed this and took the reward. No one knows if he really told anyone that he saw a light or he just wrote it in his journal because many of the men who were left on the island after he went back to Spain died by the hands of the Indians, so no one could tell for sure. This place he found is called the Watling Islands, in the Bahamas - and he named it La Isla Española  and it is said they all prayed with their heads to the ground. One this is for sure, the men knew about the trips to the orient and this didn’t  look even close to the images. According to records of the voyage, weather remained fair throughout. “Thinking he had reached the East Indies, Columbus referred to the native inhabitants of the island as “Indians,” a term that was ultimately applied to all indigenous peoples of the New World.1”

Tiano, naked Indians, greeted them. Columbus wrote back to the queen who he would send one ship back to tell her. “ This looks like the garden of Eden with the naked people (Indians) and psalm trees and blue skies and clear water and white sand beaches. He assumed the Indians had no religion and that the worshipped the sun and moon. The Santa María hit some type of reef and was damaged, so he had to head back on the other ship. It is said the naked women wanted to get into bed with him, possibly because he looked different and possibly seemed as a god to them. The first fort he built was on Christmas, so he called it Navidad. He named the Island Hispaniola.

When Columbus got back to the Columbus was able to  return to Spain in the spring of 1493 with small riches, a few nuggets of gold, yet the captive Indians had gold adornments, he was greeted by many commons and then when to visit sovereigns and show his success. This would be his greatest and last welcome he would ever get. It was March 1493 that made history for the Queen escorted Columbus down a isle of a church where no commoner had been able to do before. News would eventually get around that a new world was discovered and set off a huge gallop to inhabit and conquer new lands.

After a spout with the Portuguese king who thought Columbus was a traitor, things were ironed out as Spain and Portugal were to sign a treaty of “ Tordesillas” in 1494 that the new would be divided among them – this would take 200 years until all was ironed out. So off on the next journey. It was Isabella that was anxious to beat other countries out in the quest for territory.

15,000 men and seven ships went off to colonize the new world. These men that Isabella sent with Columbus were jailed men and also Jews and mostly sailors, but the bulk were called “Hidalgos,” another term for that culture to say the were the lowest nobility. Although, being still a noble meant one thing. They would not be told what to do, by Columbus or anyone. In fact they wanted to enslave the Indians to do their work for them and then reap all the profits. ( As most aristocracy people do). One must remember that Columbus even though had the titles of “Viceroy” and “Admiral of all lands,” was not a Spaniard by birth. In history a count the equivalent to a Hidalgo did not work or take orders from a commoner. This will prove combative as they set off.

When Columbus reaches La Isla Española , he finds out the 39 men left there to make the colony had been murdered. The Indians tell him that it was them, yet, “it was the Spanish persistence to force us to look for gold.” You make up your minds. Now the Hidalgos start off on their purpose to enslave the Indians to work for them and Columbus sees this as bad etiquette so he flogs and hangs many rabble rousers. This does not play well with the Spanish as he is relived from his duty by Isabella upon return and a new  as governor is set up to rule  this new land. Only, his stature of being the founder of this new abode gets him off the hook and he gets a new voyage. It will be a hard time for the city when he gets back a terrible hurricane has toppled the city. He will tell of everything that he did.

Gout was setting in on him and mild arthritics and he set out to different places of the new world, this time cruising the cost of modern Venezuela.  He wrote a letter back to the queen telling her he found a new and much larger mainland; “ another world “as he put it in the letter. He would not get the credit for saying this because he did not get off the ship and prove to himself that this was a different place. Amerigo would take that credit a few years later and this is how we get “America.”

At this time he goes back to fond another section in the Bahamas, called Santo Domingo ( Another capital named by Columbus). Only this time one group want to stay and pillage the land for gold and the other wants to keep exploring with Columbus. So when another fleet comes upon Santo Domingo and finds all the opposes' hanging from the gallows, whipped and beaten to death, it forces them to put Columbus into chains and bring him back to Spain. One of the guards told him that he would release his chains once on the ship, but Columbus replied. “ I will let the queen take them off herself.” It was the governor who Isabella appointed who put him in chains.

 He was received in Granada and sent to a monastery for about three months to recuperate as he was suffering higher levels of gout and arthritic symptoms. The Queen allowed him to keep his profits and titles. ( She really liked the guy)

“17 ships and 1,300 men set sail from Cádiz on September 25, 1493. En route to Hispaniola and Navidad, the settlement he had founded there, Columbus and his fleet entered the West Indies near Dominica (which he named) and proceeded past Guadeloupe and other Lesser Antilles before reaching Borinquén (modern Puerto Rico).1”





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