A widespread knowledge is that Columbus died without knowing he reached a new continent.
- In Columbus Journal of the Third Voyage (1498) it is written:
"I have come to believe that this is a mighty continent which was hitherto unknown. I am greatly supported in this view by reason of this great river, and by this sea which is fresh."
- Moreover the idea of a new continent was not unknown to other Spanish crown navigators as during the lifetime of Columbus (who died in 1506), Amerigo Vespucci wrote in 1501:
"We knew that land to be a continent, and not an island, from its long beaches extending without trending round, the infinite number of inhabitants, the numerous tribes and peoples, the numerous kinds of wild animals unknown in our country, and many others never seen before by us, touching which it would take long to make reference."
My question is:
- Do we agree that at least Columbus was aware of the hypothesis that the land mass he hit was of a new continent?
- From his third Journal, can we conclude he admitted he reached a new continent and if so the sentence from Wikipedia's Columbus page:
"Never admitting that he had reached a continent previously unknown to Europeans rather than the East Indies he had set out for, [...]"