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Christopher Columbus

Discussion in 'The Blind Parrot' started by Hylie Pistof, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    I got an early Christmas present. A book about Christopher Columbus by Laurence Bergreen.

    It turns out Columbus was an accomplished sailor who had sailed all over the Mediterranean. He was a sailor in a Genoan convoy that was attacked. He was wounded and the ship he was on was sunk off Portugal. He climbed onto a piece of flotsam and paddled 10 km to land.
    From there he sailed to France, England, Germany, Ireland, and well North of Iceland. He also engaged in the slave trade to Guinea.

    I have only gotten as far as the early parts of his first voyage but it is clear that he was a master mariner. He complained that his hourglass was not giving good times, and at one point his quadrant said he was at 42 degrees when he was actually around 21 degrees latitude. But he was able to read the sea and sky, the wind and clouds, and got where he wanted to go.

    His slaver background also shows as he was trying to make up his mind if the natives would be better used as slaves or converted to Christianity. You see, the Pope had already issued a Papal Bull saying Christians could not be slaves, but everyone else could be.

    Lots more reading to do. :read
     
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  2. Thagarr

    Thagarr Pining for the Fjords! Staff Member Administrator Creative Support Storm Modder News Gatherer Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Great stuff mate, sounds like an awesome book!

    He has been much maligned in recent years, while he was certainly not the saintly hero he has been portrayed as by some, he was also not the devil incarnate as others would have you believe. He was a man. The times he lived in were much different than the "enlightened" age we supposedly live in now. It's easy to judge someone else’s actions when you supposedly have all the facts laid out before you, it is quite another to live that persons experiences for yourself. There is no doubt that he certainly was a master mariner. Not many would have even attempted to do what he did in sailing West, it took great courage and skill to handle both the ships and the men that were under his command on that fateful voyage.

    I don't think we will ever really know the full story as to what happened at that first encounter with the natives, while they certainly weren’t cannibalistic Carib's, they were still uncivilized savages to European eyes. If I recall correctly from what I remember, there were incidents on both sides that led to the natives attacking the group of men Columbus had left on the island, and that was what led to the attempted enslavement on the subsequent voyage. I could be mistaken though, I am much more familiar with the Viking voyages 500 years earlier. Who, by the way, were also attacked and driven off by the natives.

    As for the Pope, it has always been my understanding that to be a Christian means that one is dead to ones fleshly desires, such as wealth and power. Two things which historically the Roman Catholic Church seems to value above all others. It's interesting that the Apostle Paul called himself a slave to Christ Jesus, but I will leave that judgement to God, as he is much more capable than I.
     
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  3. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    I haven't gotten to anything involving fighting. So far the Tainos natives run into the jungle when Columbus and his men approach, and have to be coaxed out and bartered with. Columbus did take some prisoners and used them as guides but there was no violence early on.

    Slavery was very common in Europe at that time and everyone who could afford them had slaves.

    On a side note it is mentioned that his ship hit 9 knots at one point.
     
  4. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    9 kts is pretty good going!
     
  5. Thagarr

    Thagarr Pining for the Fjords! Staff Member Administrator Creative Support Storm Modder News Gatherer Hearts of Oak Donator

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    Yes, especially when you consider the time frame and the vessels he was using. They certainly were not designed for speed. During her Trials, the top speed I was able to confirm for L'Hermione was 11 knots, I believe under full sail.
     
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  6. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    Still reading. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. During Columbus's 3rd voyage he had to try to put down some rebellions and stayed some time. The Sovereigns sent an investigator to look into stories his opponents were sending back to Spain and Columbus was clapped in irons and sent back, where he was released and even got a 4th fleet together and headed West again. He crossed the Atlantic in 20 days this time, which is excellent speed even today.

    In the meantime his enemies had confiscated his personal treasure, but the Sovereigns told them to give it back and bring it to Spain. So they all headed back to Spain in a 20 ship fleet and put Columbus's treasure in the least sea worthy ship. Columbus arrived just before they set sail and warned them that a big storm was about to hit, but they sailed anyway. Columbus sheltered in the lee of an island but the fleet was destroyed. Many ships including the one his enemies were on were sunk outright. Many more managed to make it back to port where they sank in the harbor.

    Only one ship made it to Spain. The one carrying Columbus's treasure!

    Columbus got hit by a tsunami at one point. It must have been a really big one because he talked about it for years.

    The storms! In one storm the waves were so big that the sailors, when high up on them, could look down and see the sea bottom through the water. In another storm they said "the ocean floor was laid bare". And they survived!
     
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  7. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    That last part sounds like a fisherman's tale. Is that even physically possible?
    The water would need to be pretty shallow for that.
    Sounds like something out of a bad computer simulation.
     
  8. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    All I know right now is that much of the Caribbean is fairly shallow. I have also read about damaged corals after storms, so it seems that wave action can reach fairly deep. I have read speculation that storm waves can reach the sea floor. If a wave is 10 meters high is the trough between waves 10 meters deep? Anyway, these are the only eye witness accounts I have stumbled across.
     
  9. Thagarr

    Thagarr Pining for the Fjords! Staff Member Administrator Creative Support Storm Modder News Gatherer Hearts of Oak Donator

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    That's a great story about the treasure ship! :onya

    Even in shallow waters I find it difficult to believe that even a major storm could cause the exposure of the sea floor, a tsunami on the other hand would certainly be capable of doing so. Although I couldn't find a reference for such an occurrence in the Caribbean, according to an article I found over at Maritime Museum of Nova Scotia, Ca, there was one in 1929 that did just that along the East Coast.

    It's a fairly long article, and doesn't really go in to detail about how shallow the part that was exposed was, but you can read the full post HERE!
     
  10. Hylie Pistof

    Hylie Pistof Curmudgeon Staff Member QA Tester Storm Modder

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    What I have found so far says wave action reaches about half the height of the wave down, so a 6 meter wave would reach 3 meters down.
     

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