131 votes
Accepted

Why did Columbus cross the mid-Atlantic instead of exploring from Greenland?

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 ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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130 votes

Why Were Madagascar and New Zealand Discovered So Late?

By and large new uninhabited landmasses were discovered in one of three ways: By hunter-gatherers, walking there when the sea level was much lower at the end of the last glaciation. By hunter-...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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31 votes
Accepted

Did Egyptians circumnavigate Africa in three years during Nekau's reign?

While researching for this question, I found more details about what could be this (possible) adventure. Necho II hired a fleet of Phoenicians, who supposedly sailed from the Red Sea around Africa ...
Brian Hellekin's user avatar
22 votes

Why did Columbus cross the mid-Atlantic instead of exploring from Greenland?

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 ...
Santiago's user avatar
  • 4,901
21 votes
Accepted

How did Bligh navigate during his open boat voyage after losing The Bounty?

The book The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S Bounty by Sir John Barrow includes a chapter on the remarkable voyage of Bligh and his 18 companions in their 23-foot boat, ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
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19 votes

Why Were Madagascar and New Zealand Discovered So Late?

Because New Zealand is an isolated archipelago a long way from anywhere; and everywhere: Here is the North Atlantic at the same scale: One might as well ask why it took so long for the Americas or ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
15 votes

Why Were Madagascar and New Zealand Discovered So Late?

You can't just go sailing to nowhere. You need to know where you're going, what you expect to find, and how long it'll take to get there. Imagine for example you're a native on Australia. You look ...
Allure's user avatar
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13 votes

Did Egyptians circumnavigate Africa in three years during Nekau's reign?

This story depends entirely on Herodotus 4,42. The passage in question reads: I wonder, then, at those who have mapped out and divided the world into Libya, Asia, and Europe; for the difference ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 9,810
11 votes

Did Egyptians circumnavigate Africa in three years during Nekau's reign?

The strongest evidence that this voyage really happened is the sentence in Herodotes: For my part I do not believe them, but perhaps others may-that in sailing round Lybia they HAD THE SUN UPON ...
Alex's user avatar
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11 votes
Accepted

When did we find out time of day changes with longitude?

Well, the potential for using time to measure longitude was certainly understood by Hipparchus in the second century BC. He proposed that longitudes of distant places could be calculated by ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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11 votes

How did Bligh navigate during his open boat voyage after losing The Bounty?

As Mark has noted above, Bligh was denied charts when he was set adrift by Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers. He was, however allowed to take a copy of John Hamilton Moore’s Practical ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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5 votes

Why did Columbus cross the mid-Atlantic instead of exploring from Greenland?

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 ...
David Richerby's user avatar
5 votes

How long would it take to sail from New Orleans to Belize in late Summer 1867?

New Orleans to Cancun is approximately 550 NM, so it would be considered an ocean passage. On a 40 to 50 ft sailboat in good conditions the trip would likely take 4 to 5 days. Source. July is early in ...
Ryan Williamson's user avatar
4 votes

Did Christopher Columbus ever have any direct contact with the Genoese colonial Aegean region?

For what we know, Columbus traveled to Chios. He talks about his voyages in Chios in his own diary (12th November 1492) when describing what he found in actual Cuba, when describing mastic plant: E ...
Dan M's user avatar
  • 429
4 votes
Accepted

What was the typical error with dead reckoning navigation?

About as accurate as it was for Amelia Earhart - which was usually pretty good, but subject to limitations. Accuracy in Latitude was far better than accuracy in Longitude because of the well known ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
4 votes

When did we find out time of day changes with longitude?

Essentially when they understood that the Earth is round, and the Sun rotates about it with a period one day. Ancient Greeks credited this discovery to Pythagoras. Modern scientists consider ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.9k
4 votes

Why did Columbus cross the mid-Atlantic instead of exploring from Greenland?

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 ...
MikeMontana's user avatar
3 votes

How did sailing technology improve during the Age of Sail?

It is an exaggeration that in 16th century the crossing took months. Columbus's first voyage took 6 weeks (I subtracted the stop on Canary islands). This was not the shortest route, and this was his ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.9k
3 votes

Which prayer did sailors in Russian America expect to hear?

A tough but interesting nut to crack, I don't think I have the definitive answer, but I did find some promising leads. Firstly, there's the Orthodox prayer of intercession: O Lord, Lover of men, ...
gktscrk's user avatar
  • 10.8k
3 votes

How did Bligh navigate during his open boat voyage after losing The Bounty?

Not a full answer, but one of the key requirements when sailing by dead-reckoning is to calculate the leeway accurately, so that the course sailed can be adjusted properly from the course steered. (...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
1 vote

How close did a Manila galleon ever come to Hawaii?

The following passage is from the book The Early Mapping of Hawai'i by Gary L. Fitzpatrick. There is an open-access but poorly formatted copy of the book on ulukau.org. Could the Spanish have sailed ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 20.8k
1 vote

When did we find out time of day changes with longitude?

When the eight remaining crewmembers of Magellan's circumnavigation of the earth reached the Cape Verde Islands in July of 1522, they were puzzled by their apparent loss of one day with respect to the ...
DJohnM's user avatar
  • 329
1 vote

When did we find out time of day changes with longitude?

Its likely pretty much everyone who understood that the Earth was a sphere also understood this. All you'd need to see it is a sphere of your own to act as a model. Eratosthenes in the third century ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k

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