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27
votes
4answers
14k views

Why is Christopher Columbus credited for “discovering” America?

Even if we ignore the millions of native Americans who lived in the continent before Columbus "discovered" it, even if we ignore other civilizations (eg: Polynesians, Phoenicians, Chinese, Arabs, ...
17
votes
1answer
329 views

Did anyone predict the existence of the Americas?

According to the answer of this question, Columbus was pretty much unique in his belief that the world was small enough and Asia was big enough to make sailing west to Asia possible. Everyone else ...
8
votes
2answers
281 views

Why aren't the Americas named after Christopher Columbus

I was reading the question Why is Columbus Credited with Discovering America, and I wondered why aren't the Americas named after him? I was under the impression that although he is the one we credit ...
7
votes
5answers
362 views

Was Christopher Colombus Polish?

A Polish friend of mine stated that Colombus was of Polish heritage. Claims are made that he was a Polish immigrant to Italy, and that he came from a disgraced noble family in Poland. ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why did Christopher Columbus think he had arrived near Japan?

This question came to our mind as a long discussion in chat between some users over ELU including me and we thought to post the question here. Wikipedia states he thought he had arrived Japan. In ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

How did Diego Gutiérrez know the boundaries (shape of the Americas) when he drew the 1562 Map of America

The map drawn by Diego GutiƩrrez in 1562 shows both North and South American shapes (borders). How did he (or the 15th century Europeans) know the shapes of the American continents and their geography ...
4
votes
1answer
574 views

How did Columbus calculate the size of the Earth?

Eratosthenes' calculations of the size of the Earth were very precise and very accepted during Columbus' time. Still, Columbus was convinced that the world was significatively smaller and that getting ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

What does 'half-decked' mean?

I'm reading Washington Irving's Life of Christopher Columbus, where he writes: Two of them were light, half-decked caravels; the Santa Maria, on which Columbus hoisted his flag, was completely ...
0
votes
1answer
98 views

In 1492, what was the shortest distance you could travel to discover the new world from the old world? [closed]

In 1492, when Christopher Columbus brought the new world to the attention of the old world. What was the extent of the known world, and what was the shortest distance someone could have travelled to ...