Read First Voyage to America: From the Log of the "Santa Maria" by Cristoforo Colombo Free Online
Book Title: First Voyage to America: From the Log of the "Santa Maria"|
The author of the book: Cristoforo Colombo
Edition: Dover Publications
Date of issue: August 13th 1991
Loaded: 1258 times
Reader ratings: 3.3
ISBN 13: 9780486268446
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 568 KB
City - Country: No data
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I was dreading this book at first - Christopher Columbus has always reminded me of having to learn boring, heroic stories of early Americans in middle school. But by the first few pages of this I was completely engaged, then increasingly obsessed. I can't believe this guy! First, he lies to his crew about how far they're going. They think they're going to be on the sea for a few weeks and then get to China or India or somewhere thereabouts. Um...wrong. Columbus realizes the journey is going to take longer than he expected so he starts keeping two sets of mileage numbers - the real tally of miles and a lesser tally which he tells his crew so they don't freak out and mutiny his ass. About a month in, everybody starts getting really nervous. There is no land - so everything becomes a sign of land - every bird, piece of grass - hell, by the end their toenails are a sure sign of land.
Then they see it - and Columbus figures he has hit the islands of Japan but really - oh Columbus! - he is sailing around Cuba and Haiti. Considering the task before him - you know - upending Europe's entire concept of the universe - Columbus is considerably less bright than he needs to be. His men and, most likely, the Arawak natives realize this immediately and give him all sorts of trouble. But you can't accuse Columbus of not being determined - he wants one thing and one thing only: gold. It is always just out of his reach. Every native village says that gold is in the next village (or at least that's what Columbus thinks they're saying. In a terrible ironic twist for Columbus, the natives of one village tell Columbus they have gold in their huts, but Columbus thinks they're talking about another island. This makes for one of the most hilarious translator's footnotes I've ever seen).
So much of the focus on Columbus these days is focused on correcting for the fact that native history has been actively erased by whites for 450 out of the last 500 years - and this is understandable. But you can't finish reading this book without having a sense of Columbus as a tragic figure - a man whose determination brought him glory back in Europe, but eventually destroyed him as he became increasingly delusional and desperate in his search to find gold.
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Read information about the authorChristopher Columbus (c. 1451–1506) was a Genoese navigator, colonizer and explorer whose voyages across the Atlantic Ocean led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere. Although not the first to reach the Americas from Europe—he was preceded by the Norse, led by Leif Ericson, who built a temporary settlement 500 years earlier at L'Anse aux Meadows — Columbus initiated widespread contact between Europeans and indigenous Americans. With his four voyages of discovery and several attempts at establishing a settlement on the island of Hispaniola, all funded by Queen Isabella of Spain, he initiated the process of Spanish colonization which foreshadowed general European colonization of the "New World." (The term "pre-Columbian" is usually used to refer to the peoples and cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus and his European successors.)
His initial 1492 voyage came at a critical time of growing national imperialism and economic competition between developing nation states seeking wealth from the establishment of trade routes and colonies. In this sociopolitical climate, Columbus's far-fetched scheme won the attention of Queen Isabella of Spain. Severely underestimating the circumference of the Earth, he estimated that a westward route from Iberia to the Indies would be shorter and more direct than the overland trade route through Arabia. If true, this would allow Spain entry into the lucrative spice trade — heretofore commanded by the Arabs and Italians. Following his plotted course, he instead landed within the Bahamas Archipelago at a locale he named San Salvador. Mistaking the North-American island for the East-Asian mainland, he referred to its inhabitants as "Indios".
Academic consensus is that Columbus was born in Genoa, though there are other theories. The name Christopher Columbus is the Anglicisation of the Latin Christophorus Columbus. The original name in 15th century Genoese language was Christoffa Corombo. The name is rendered in modern Italian as Cristoforo Colombo, in Portuguese as Cristóvão Colombo (formerly Christovam Colom), and in Spanish as Cristóbal Colón.
The anniversary of Columbus's 1492 landing in the Americas is observed as Columbus Day on October 12 in Spain and throughout the Americas, except that in the United States it is observed on the second Monday in October.