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Lecture

Hist 191 Special Topics in History; Columbus and After; New World and the Americas.pdf

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Department
History
Course
HIST 191
Professor
Julia Roberts
Semester
Fall

Description
1 Columbus and After: The New World and the Americas Christopher Columbus - 12 October 1492 ... in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue... Why though? and How? - the people of europe looked east, the looked east out of Mediterranean, past venice, past muslim byzantine, india, all the way to china. - the sought the goods of asia and india - pepper, cloves, cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, silks - Europeans had no idea how to make, dyes, perfumes, gold, silver, sugar. - not surprisingly, each european looked for a short cut, a way past the arab middle men, a short cut to those goods, that was cheaper - one of the reasons he sailed the ocean blue, was the economic agenda of europe, particularly of spain. This reason is contrary to the belief of many N.A’s, that columbus was a hero - that he was a great navigator that added a new continent - biography furnishes no parallel to the life of columbus - And: Columbus Day (US) national holiday - columbus never set foot in anything close to what is now america - they created the holiday in the spirit of 19th century nationalism and destiny. - mythologizing columbus as a hero - has come under increasing criticism from an increasingly diverse group of citizens and scholars - Scandinavians opposed the idea of Columbus Day - they wanted a day to celebrate the first europeans to set foot in the americas - the norse/vikings/danes - The norse ended up L’Anse aux Meadows - the northern tip of newfoundland, a whole 492 years before columbus. - The first European colony in the Americas was Norse, Columbus ‘re’ discovered the americas. - Other visitors to the Americas? - e.g.. an Indian 12th century carving depicts an indian figure holding corn on the cob(only grew in america) - Then, there are Chinese monks: 2 - describe indigenous peoples of south-west US in 499 - None of these events had comparable impact to Columbus landing in the Americas. - if we stop looking a him as a hero, we look at him as a man with a certain set of special skills. Columbus - born in Genoa 1451 - “Genoa lived by trade.” - “Oriented toward the sea.” - you can see customs houses, wharfs, sea fairing trade, safe fortified harbour, almost overwhelming presence of the Roman Catholic church. - Columbus grew up the son of small business people - his father traded wool, his father operated a tavern that was frequented by sea fairers, and traders from all the points of Europe - it was in his mothers tavern that Columbus first heard the legend of a Western passage to indian, a way to avoid the arabs - he was well schooled in mathematics, latin, literature - Experienced man by 1490 - he had all the skills needed to cross the atlantic - he was an experienced map maker, sailor, navigator, he worked in large portuguese trading company, he worked on the portuguese slave operation. - he knew that discovering a new route to the riches of india would mean unimaginable riches for those who discovered it - a route west means that people in 1492 knew the world was round, no one, sailors in particular, were afraid of sailing off of the earth. - What they were afraid of, was starving to death, there was no way to cross the atlantic with the technology of their time - Rather: - Knew the world was too big to go the other way - Greek world - 38,400 km: is 40,075.16 km 3 - the greeks knew what they were doing - Ship size and technology could not support these distances - people thought they would starve to death if the tried to go from europe west to japan, which was at least - 16,000 miles to land. All except for Columbus - well versed in “geometry, geography, cosmography, astrology, & astronomy...” - “a well-read man and learned in the science of navigation” - “The Lord” had “endowed me with a great talent for seamanship, sufficient abilities, etc - in a letter to the king and queen of spain - Columbus’s mistake: - World= 18,000 miles (28,800 km) in circumference - thus, Japan is 3,500 miles away (is closer than 12,000) - He sought funding from the King and Queen - Isabella, and Ferdinand - 1st voyage; - Palos, 3 August 1492 - Pinta, Nina, Santa Maria - one of the reasons he received this attention was because there were large numbers of jewish families being pushed onto ships and deported, in the same port the Columbus was leaving from. - The king and queen gave columbus the backing and representation of the very powerful Spanish State - gives less to his image as a Hero. - It took him a long time to find someone to back his voyage, he was very lucky, has a lot to do with who he married and who his father was. - The spanish state saw him off on his journey to discover a new route to asia - by 1492., Mediterranean sailors advanced sailing technology exponentially to where it was 100 years before. - Marine Technology: the CARAVEL - the caravel was the hybrid of it’s time - it combined the sturdines
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