Tag Archives: Columbus

Columbus sighted land October 12, 1492


Columbus sighted land October 12, 1492

Christopher ColumbusAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

Columbus was looking for a SEA route to India and China because 40 years earlier Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 cutting off the LAND routes.

A biography of Columbus was written by Washington Irving in 1828, filled imaginative dialogue, such as Europeans arguing that the Earth was flat.

Washington Irving was known for imaginative stories such as “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow,” Dutch tales of visits from St. Nick, and coining New York City’s nickname “Gotham.”

Europeans knew the Earth was round from as far back as Aristotle in the 4th century BC.

In the 3rd century BC, Eratosthenes computed the circumference of the Earth with geometry and measurements of shadows cast by tall objects in Alexandria and Aswan.

In the 1st century BC, Posidonius used stellar observations at Alexandria and Rhodes to confirm Eratosthenese’s measurements.

In the 2nd century AD, astronomer Ptolemy had written a Guide to Geography, in which he described a spherical earth with one ocean connecting Europe and Asia.

St. Isidore of Seville, Spain, wrote in the 7th century that the earth was round.

Around the year 723 AD, Saint Bede the Venerable wrote in his work “Reckoning of Time” that the Earth was spherical.

Columbus knew the Earth was round, but the question was, how far around.

The confusion was over the length of a mile.

Columbus read Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly’s “Imago Mundi,” which gave Alfraganus’ estimate that a degree of latitude (at the equator) was around 56.7 miles.

What Columbus did not realize was that this was expressed in longer Arabic miles rather than in shorter Roman miles.

Therefore Columbus incorrectly estimated the Earth to be smaller in circumference, about 19,000 miles, rather than the actual nearly 25,000 miles.

Columbus knew there was land to the west, as he had heard stories of Irish monk St. Brendan sailing in 530 AD to “The Land of the Promised Saints which God will give us on the last day.”

He knew of the Christian Viking Leif Erickson’s voyage in the year 1000 to Vinland.

Columbus read of Marco Polo’s travels to China and India in 1271.

He studied Pliny’s “Natural History,” Sir John Mandeville, and Pope Pius II’s “Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum.”

Columbus corresponded with Florentine physician Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, who suggested China was just 5,000 miles west of Portugal.

Columbus may have possibly seen maps, rumored to have been in Portugal’s royal archives, from China’s treasure fleets which were sent out in 1421 by Ming Emperor Zhu Di.

Based on this, Columbus estimated that Japan, or as Marco Polo called it “Cipangu,” was only 3,000 Roman miles west of the Canary Islands, rather than the actual 12,200 miles.

Since no ship at that time could carry enough food and water for such a long voyage, Columbus would have never set sail if he had known the actual distance.

As a young man, Columbus began sailing on a trip to a Genoese colony in the Aegean Sea named Chios.

In 1476, he sailed on an armed convoy from Genoa to northern Europe, docking in Bristol, England, and Galway, Ireland, and even possibly Iceland in 1477.

When Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 and hindered land trade routes from Europe to India and China, Portugal, which had been freed from Muslim domination for two centuries, began to search for alternative sea routes.

Portugal, under Prince Henry the Navigator, led the world in the science of navigation and cartography (map-making), and developed a light ship that could travel fast and far, the “caravel.”

During Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery under King John II, Columbus sailed along the west coast of Africa between 1482-1485, reaching the Portuguese trading port of Elmina on the coast of Guinea.

In 1498, Portuguese sailor Vasco de Gama did make it around South Africa to India.

But six year before that, in 1492, the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella finished driving the Muslims out of Spain and wanted to join the quest for a sea trade route to the India.

They backed Columbus’ plan.

Though Columbus was wrong about the miles and degrees of longitude, he did understand trade winds across the Atlantic.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail on the longest voyage to that date out of the sight of land.

Trade winds called “easterlies” pushed Columbus’ ships for five weeks to the Bahamas.

On OCTOBER 12, 1492, Columbus sighted what he thought was India.

He imagined Haiti was Japan and Cuba was the tip of China.

Naming the first island “San Salvador” for the Holy Savior, Columbus wrote of the inhabitants:

“So that they might be well-disposed towards us, for I knew that they were a people to be. ..converted to our Holy Faith rather by love than by force, I gave to some red caps and to others glass beads…

They became so entirely our friends that…I believe that they would easily be made Christians.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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Christopher Columbus set sail August 3, 1492


Christopher ColumbusAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

“There are but 155 years left…at which time…the world will come to an end,” wrote Christopher Columbus in his book Libro de Las Profecias, composed in 1502 between his 3rd and 4th voyages.

“The sign which convinces me that our Lord is hastening the end of the world is the preaching of the Gospel recently in so many lands.”

Though his predictions were off, Columbus revealed his motivation for setting sail AUGUST 3, 1492, with the Nina, Pinta and the Santa Maria on his first voyage to find a sea route to India and China, as an alternative to traveling by land through Muslim territories.

Muslims, called “Moors,” had invaded Spain in 711AD, with a cavalry of 80,000 wielding scimitar swords and “went through all places like a desolating storm.”

The Mozarabic Chronicle, 754AD, recorded that thousands of churches were burned and: “God alone knows the number of the slain.”

In 1011, Muslims killed 2,000 in Cordoba, Spain.

In 1066, Muslims massacred every one of the 5,000 Jews in Granada, Spain.

In 1189, Muslims raided Libson, Portugal, and enslaved 3,000 women and children.

In 1191, Muslims attacked Silves, Portugal, enslaving another 3,000.

The Catholic Orders of Montjoie, and Calatrava, were organized to ransom back Christian slaves.

It took over 700 years to drive Muslims out in what was called the re-conquest or “reconquista.”

In 1085, the Kingdom of Castile freed Toledo from the Muslims, and in 1119, the Kingdom of Aragon freed the city of Zaragoza from the Muslims.

The Spanish knight Rodrigo Diaz, called “El Cid,” drove Muslims out of Valencia in 1094. (Charlton Heston starred in the movie, “El Cid,” in 1961).

Columbus wrote in his El Libro de la Primera Navegacion, as recounted by Bartolome’ de Las Casas’:

“After Your Highnesses had made an end to the war with the Moors who ruled in Europe, and had concluded the war in the very great City of Granada, where in the present year, on the 2nd day of the month of January, I saw the Royal Standards of Your Highnesses placed by force of arms on the towers of the Alhambra (which is the citadel of the said city),

And I saw the Moorish King come forth to the gates of the city and kiss the Royal Hands of Your Highnesses…

and soon after in that same month, through information I had given to your Highnesses concerning the lands of India, and of a Prince who is called Gran Can [Khan], which is to say in our vernacular ‘King of Kings,’

how many times he and his predecessors had sent to Rome to seek doctors in our Holy Faith to instruct him therein, and that never had the Holy Father provided them, and thus so many people were lost through lapsing into idolatries and receiving doctrines of perdition;

And Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians and Princes devoted to the Holy Christian Faith and the propagators thereof, and enemies of the sect of Mahomet and of all idolatries and heresies,

resolved to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the said regions of India, to see the said princes and peoples and lands and the dispositions of them and of all, and the manner in which may be undertaken their conversion to our Holy Faith,

And ordained that I should not go by land (the usual way) to the Orient, but by the route of the Occident, by which no one to this day knows for sure that anyone has gone…”

In his Libro de Las Profecias, Columbus wrote:

“I spent seven years in your royal Court arguing the case with so many persons of such authority and learned in all the arts, and in the end they concluded that all was idle nonsense…yet the outcome will be the fulfillment of what our Redeemer Jesus Christ said…

that…all that was written by him and by the prophets to be fulfilled.”

Columbus continued:

“The Holy Scriptures testify…that this world will come to an end…St. Augustine says that the end of this world will occur in the seventh millennium following the Creation.”

Columbus ended:

“I have already said that for the execution of the enterprise of the Indies, neither reason, nor mathematics, nor world maps were profitable to me; rather the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled.”


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.

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