Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Christopher Columbus The Four Voyages

Much time has passed and still, Columbus stays a controversial figure who has been depicted in different ways as one of the greatest mariners in the world history. He was a national hero, a skilful navigator and a leader. Columbus wanted to find the westward way to Asia. He had a great practical experience of voyages over the seas. Besides, he read many theological and geographical books. Having gained the support of the monarchs Isabel and Fernando, Columbus went for a trip in 1492. The published report about this voyage made him famous all over Europe. Columbus, who never lost the belief that he had reached Asia, led three more expeditions to the Caribbean.

On May 30, 1498, Columbus left with just six ships from Seville, Spain for his third trip to the New World. The laments of the first colonists had taken their tax and Columbus was made to include condemned among the assemblage. The vessels were divided into two parts, one went immediately to Hispaniola and the other under Columbus control continued the search for China. Columbus led the fleet to the Portuguese island of Porto Santo, and then he sailed to Madeira.

The exploration party found land first at Trinidad on July 31 off the Venezuela coast. From August 4 till August 12, he explored the Gulf of Paria which separates Trinidad from Venezuela. Then sailed toward the mainland of South America. A sighting of the Orinoco River mouth convinced Columbus that he was on the shores of a major continent, not another island.

In the third part of a book about Christopher Columbus The Four Voyages where the third voyage is depicted there is the following quote: I have come to the following conclusions concerning the world: that it is not round as they describe it, but the shape of a pear, which is round everywhere except at the stalk, where it juts out a long way; or that it is like a round ball, on part of which is something like a woman's nipple. This land stands highest on the world's surface, being nearest to the sky, as I have said... Not that I believe it possible to sail to the extreme summit, or that it is even possible to go there. For I believe that the earthly Paradise lies here, which no one can enter except by god's leave. As I have said, I do not believe that anyone can ascend to the top. I do believe, however, that distant though it is, these waters may flow from there to this place which I have reached, and from this lake. All this provides great evidence of the earthy Paradise... For I have never read or heard of such a quantity of fresh water flowing so close to the salt and flowing into it, and the very temperate climate provides a further confirmation.

He described the new lands as belonging to a new continent, but later he stressed that they belonged to Asia. He sailed for the settlement on Hispaniola, where conditions were not organized well. Complaints to Spanish officials were often heard. Columbus repeatedly had to deal with rebellious settlers and Indians. That is why a royal ruler was sent to the colony in 1500. Columbus was arrested and took back to Spain on a ship in chains. Ferdinand and Isabella, whose sympathy was vanishing, made the last possible thing for him by freeing the traveler from a prison. Although he regained his freedom, he did not regain his prestige and lost his governorship.

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