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124

There's a lot in the question that seems to be assuming modern knowledge that Columbus most likely did not possess. There is no good evidence the Iberian maritime community in the late 15th century had any knowledge of Greenland. The European settlement there did not exist by the time the printing press was invented, so any knowledge of it (unlike Portugal'...


50

Columbus is traditionally (and indeed still) credited with the discovery of the Americas for a number of reasons, some dubious but others quite legitimate. First of all, we must qualify this discovery as discovery by Old World people. Clearly, the original "discovery" by the human species was some 40,000 years ago by the ancestors of the indigenous ...


36

As fate would have it, the first known globe of the Earth was created in 1492, the same year as Columbus' voyage. As such, it is also the only known globe to depict the area between Western Europe and East Asia prior to the discovery of the New World. None of the earlier flat maps I could find made any kind of legitimate effort at depicting this area. The ...


23

Eratosthenes' calculations did turn out to be quite accurate. This was mostly a matter of luck though. He in fact had two major errors, that just happened to cancel each other out. It is also a fact that nobody is sure how big his unit of distance was, and it is only now after the fact that we can take one of the possibilities and say he was only 2% off. It ...


22

Let's suppose that Columbus knew about Greenland. European colonies in Greenland were abandoned by that time. Therefore sailing there was actually useless, because it would be impossible to get supplies (except for fresh water) or guides there. It was just an empty island. He thought that east Asia was closer, so the estimated distance between Asia and ...


19

The word corn, Wiktionary tells us, can mean: (Britain) The main cereal plant grown for its grain in a given region, such as oats in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and wheat or barley in England and Wales. (US, Canada, Australia) Maize, a grain crop of the species Zea mays. A grain or seed, especially of a cereal crop. A small, hard particle. ...


15

Europeans, perhaps not, someone in the old world, yes. Al-Biruni (973–1050) lived in Khwarezm (modern Uzbekistan). Among other works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, mineralogy, history and geography, he calculated the circumference of Earth with a precision higher than his predecessors, and made some precise maps of known lands. In his work Codex ...


13

According to I Am America. (And So?), a New York Times article by Wyatt Mason (published in 2007), the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller was "misled by a document known as the Soderini Letter, a narrative account said to have been by Vespucci but believed by modern scholars to have been forged by unscrupulous publishers." The Soderini Letter ...


12

Columbus' origins are a bit of a mystery. He himself claimed to have been born in Genoa, but this may have been a ruse according to some. http://www.christopher-columbus.eu/birth-1492.htm lists the most notable claims, Poland is not among those. What all the possible locations have in common is that they're in southern Europe, a quick look at the map shows ...


12

Christopher Columbus thought the world was spherical (like most educated people of his era) but he also thought the size of the Earth was small enough that a westward boat trip from Europe to Asia was achievable with existing ship building technology. In this regard he differed from the more accurate size estimates of scholars in Isabella and Ferdinand's ...


12

I think this question is conflating two things: whether Columbus thought he had found the Indies, and whether he thought he might have also discovered a new continent. Did Columbus think for the rest of his life he had sailed to the Indies1? Yes he did. Columbus appears to have been one of those people who believes things that they want to be true, and ...


11

The map shows the general shape of South an Central America, and the general shape of the Atlantic coast of North America. If it shows it in "such detail" or not is a matter of opinion. Sure, a lot of things are correct, but a lot of things are incorrect. The question then is how they could know the general shape of South and Central America at all, and the ...


11

Manuel da Silva Rosa, an information technology analyst, claims that Columbus was the son of Władysław III of Poland (and Hungary, but for some reason nobody seems to mention that). To make this claim, he has to first claim that Władysław III, who died in a battle in 1444 without having children and had his head displayed on a pole, for no good reason faked ...


10

This is highly speculative and subjective. After all, you put forth very valid contenders to hold the title, particularly the natives and the Vikings. But what I find most likely is that Columbus was the first to do it for profit. He (and those who paid him) were the first to capitalize on it. The Viking settlement didn't last all that long, and didn't ...


10

Well, Columbus case is one hallmark how to cherry-pick your data to come to desirable conclusions. Columbus began with the values of the best sources available: from the Arabian astronomer al-Farghani. Al-Farghani calculated very carefully that the distance of one degree latitude (north-south) equals 56 2/3 arabian miles (1972 m) which is 111.8 km; the ...


9

Simply, the Greenland settlement those discoveries were centered on died out before the Printing Press. The last anyone heard from it for sure was 1410, and Gutenberg started working on his press in 1436. Back then information had to be hand-copied by professional scribes, which was a relatively time-consuming and expensive process. Because of this, only ...


8

Question: In his day, Columbus was considered to be more or less a failure, but he opened the way for the success of others. His death in 1506 was scarcely noted. Are the above remarks true? Answer: Noted by whom? Columbus died in his bed, surrounded by his family and friends, well off due to profits from his discoveries. ...


7

While it would be hard to disprove an early Portuguese presence in New England, it seems unlikely. One could argue that 16th century fisherman don't often leave behind a wealth of evidence, but consider how much evidence survives linking the Portuguese to Newfoundland around the same time. According to Mark Kurlansky: A 1502 map identifies Newfoundland as ...


7

Max Weber has a great quote on culture: 'Culture' is a finite segment of the meaningless infinity of the world process, a segment on which human beings confer meaning and significance. Well, the same goes for the history. There are an infinity of possible facts that a historian could study, a teacher teach, or a politician or activist mention in a ...


7

There is a mounting body of evidence that the continent (originally the area of Newfoundland) is actually named after Richard Amerike, of Bristol. Amerike was very involved in arranging and aiding the voyages of John Cabot (Giovanni Cabotto) to the new world. In fact, he bore a great deal of the cost of these expeditions, hoping to gain new trade business ...


6

0 meters, as the known world (that is, known by Europeans, which I assume you mean) already included parts of the "new world", ie Greenland and the coast of Canada. As for the distance between the "old world" (ie Afro-Eurasia) and the "new world" (ie the Americas), the Bering Straight is about 80 kilometers wide. However, very few people live either side ...


6

Columbus's original goal in his voyage was to reach Asia, to visit Japan and have some of it is riches (spices, gold ..) I guess Colombus thought the world map looked like this.(America doesn't exist) He thought if he traveled towards the west, he would reach Asia .He didn't know that the world map was different and that America exists in between.


5

This story was also noticed by all Polish media. In the Polish Radio channel 4 (link) there was an programme about Manuel Rosa, "Portuguese historian, from Azores. He works on Duke University in Northern Carolina. Fluent in seven languages​​, has been hailed as the greatest living repository of knowledge about Columbus. He studies [Columbus'] life for over ...


5

Although the discovery of new routes was quickly published (as Tyler points out in his response), the first recorded descriptions of the lands as a "New World" was made by Americo Vespuccio in the beginning of the 1500s decade. It is to note that Vespuccio's orignal claims were only about the Brazil coast that he had explored. But those were in private ...


5

The question seems to be based on something of a false premise. Although the great circle routes from Europe to north American cities do often pass close to or over Greenland, Columbus was starting from close to the southern tip of Europe and he ended up in the Caribbean. His first voyage was from Palos de Frontera and he initially made land on Plana Cays, ...


4

General navigation practice of the time was to find your latitude, and then sail along that parallel until you reached your destination, as determining longitude was problematic at best. It also happened to give him the best use of the direction of the trade winds (blowing west from his departure point)


4

The word history is used to describe both past events themselves, and the study and recording of past events. Those who study history inevitably put it into a contemporary, ideological context. Say you are writing a history of the second world war. When did it start? When Japan invaded China? When Germany invaded Poland? When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor? ...


4

Question: Did Portuguese fisherman frequent New England prior to 1492? . John Cabot or Giovanni Caboto, was an Italian navigator and explorer. His 1497 discovery of the coast of North America under the commission of Henry VII of England is the earliest known European exploration of coastal North America since the Norse visits to Vinland in ...


4

By March 1496 even the English had located and employed their own adventurers to explore the New World, namely John Cabot and Sons, by granting Letters Patent in exchange for a 20% Royal interest in profits: For John Cabot and his Sons. The King, to all to whom, etc. Greeting: Be it known and made manifest that we have given and granted as by these ...


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