We learned it this way in elementary school:
"In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two,Columbus sailed the ocean blue."
|Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria|
Today it is fashionable to substitute half truths and lies about Cristoforo Colombo il gran conquistador who looked for India and China and found instead the shores of the Americas.
Well, I am having no part of it. It took great heroism to sail in those three little ships.
Here is the story and a song we all sang in school:
In 1485, Columbus presented his plans to King John II of Portugal. He proposed the king equip three sturdy ships and grant Columbus one year's time to sail out west into the Atlantic, search for a western route to India, and return. Columbus also requested he be made "Great Admiral of the Ocean Sea" ( Atlantic Ocean ), appointed governor of any and all lands he discovered, and be given one-tenth of all revenue from those lands. The king submitted the proposal to his experts, who rejected it after several years. It was their considered opinion that Columbus' estimation of a travel distance of 2,400 miles (3,900 km) was, in fact, far too short.
In 1488 Columbus appealed to the court of Portugal and once, again John II invited him to an audience. It also proved unsuccessful, in part because not long afterwards Bartolomeu Dias returned to Portugal following a successful rounding of the southern tip of Africa. With an eastern sea route now under its control, Portugal was no longer interested in trailblazing a western trade route to Asia crossing unknowns seas. Columbus traveled from Portugal to Spain to convince the Catholic Monarchs of Spain to finance the expedition.
King Ferdinand II of Aragon married Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1469, formally uniting the two largest kingdoms in what is now Spain. They were known jointly as the Catholic Monarchs, and ruled their kingdoms independently, but had common internal and foreign policies.
Columbus was granted an audience with them; on May 1, 1489, he presented his plans to Queen Isabella, who referred them to a committee. They pronounced the idea impractical, and advised the monarchs not to support the proposed venture.
However, to expand the Spanish empire and Catholicism in the name of Spanish Kings, and to assure a better market position in trading, the Queen gave Columbus an annual allowance of 12,000 maravedis and part of the newly conquered lands.
Columbus and Queen Isabella. Detail of the Columbus monument in Madrid (1885).
After continually lobbying at the royal court and enduring two years of negotiations, Columbus finally succeeded in 1492. Queen Isabella's forces had just conquered the Moorish Emirate of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold of Al-Andalus on the Iberian peninsula, for Castile. Isabella and Ferdinand received Columbus in the Alcázar (castle) in Córdoba to support his plans.
The monarchs left it to the royal treasurer to shift funds among various royal accounts on behalf of the enterprise. Columbus was to be made "Admiral of the Seas" and would receive a portion of all profits. The terms were unusually generous but, as his son later wrote, the monarchs were not confident of his return.
According to Columbus' contract made for the expedition commission by Queen Isabella for Castile, if Columbus claimed any new islands or mainland for the Crown, he would receive many high rewards. In terms of power, he would be given the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and appointed Viceroy and Governor of the newly colonised lands. He had the right to nominate three people, from whom the sovereigns would choose one, for any office in the new lands. He would be entitled to ten per cent of all the revenues from the new lands in perpetuity.
Columbus was later arrested in 1500 and supplanted from these posts, which led to Columbus's son taking legal action to enforce his father's contract, who was also arrested. Many of the smears against Columbus were initiated by the Spanish crown. (Boo Hiss.. for shame!!)