Fact Checking Columbus

Mar 2019
1,410
KL
#31
You are suffering from presentism here. India for the “Europeans” in the 15th century is not the India that you know today. It was a vague concept. Few “Europeans” had been there. Few direct information. The Arabs, or the Muslims in general, had much more direct information about the trade in the Indian Ocean. India or the Indies in the plural were vaguely all the territories around the Indian Ocean with uncertain limits. That concept lasted long. What is today Indonesia (Indo+nesia) was called The Dutch East Indies. For Portugal all the fortress and trade posts in the Indian Ocean were under the control of the Vice-king in the State of India during centuries, often including Macau and Timor. And you are aware that all the peoples in these vast areas had different stages of development, different languages, customs, ethnicities… and this is even after the voyage of Vasco da Gama that linked directly Europe to India, so imagine this before.

As for the real dimensions of the planet there were different theories. You know that sometimes people don’t want to face scientific facts: Even today there are denials of the global warming, the defenders of the flat planet, the hallow hearth…

Only with the first circum-navigation of the Planet, with the voyage of Magalhães-Elcano the last doubts we definitively empirically won (1519-1522).
Actually I made a classic mistake in my post, which I think is a usual myth about Columbus, apologies for that.

But Columbus wanted to find the east passage to the East Indies, not to India - meaning Indonesia and the Philippines from where a lot of valuable spices were imported.

EDITED: changed Indies to East Indies to be more precise, thank you Tulius.
no, spices were still imported from india even indonesian spices were imported from india.

a guy and nation who doesnt know anything about india in the first place but knew he was sailing to philippines/indonesia as opposed to india hard to believe such an argument, vasco de gamma did sail or was guided to india not SEA, same case with greeks and romans who were all guided to india and not SEA and they never bothered to go their as well, the SEA familiarity as you yourselves stated happened much after india itself, even most of the chinese trades were conducted through india so trades were definitely happening through india and its ports, hence spice trades were happening through india as well, both for indian and non indian spices of indonesia.

so my argument stays, that, when columbus wanted to sail to india where all the trading was taking place, the guy should have immediately realized he was not in india because there was no trading taking place. Its very hard to beat this argument without declaring columbus as an idiot.

im not really sure about earth circumference, but i have read that many europeans themselves had warned columbus of his misguided reality that india was near and not that far, the indians and arabs already knew about earth's real circumference for ages, not sure about the europeans though.

regards
 
Aug 2013
109
Finland
#32
The ancient Greeks made several estimations of the Earth's circumference, Eratosthenes' calculation from the third century BCE was very close to the actual one. But Ptolemy didn't choose that calculation for Geographia, which Columbus obviously had based his estimations on.

Columbus never believed he had found what we now name India, he was certain he had reached islands off the east coast of Asia and for example to heard about a large island which he initially thought might be Japan (but it of course turned out it wasn't, it was Hispaniola). So obviously he did realize he had not found India, but was certain he was exploring the Indies.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,349
Portugal
#33
no, spices were still imported from india even indonesian spices were imported from india.

a guy and nation who doesnt know anything about india in the first place but knew he was sailing to philippines/indonesia as opposed to india hard to believe such an argument, vasco de gamma did sail or was guided to india not SEA, same case with greeks and romans who were all guided to india and not SEA and they never bothered to go their as well, the SEA familiarity as you yourselves stated happened much after india itself, even most of the chinese trades were conducted through india so trades were definitely happening through india and its ports, hence spice trades were happening through india as well, both for indian and non indian spices of indonesia.

so my argument stays, that, when columbus wanted to sail to india where all the trading was taking place, the guy should have immediately realized he was not in india because there was no trading taking place. Its very hard to beat this argument without declaring columbus as an idiot.

im not really sure about earth circumference, but i have read that many europeans themselves had warned columbus of his misguided reality that india was near and not that far, the indians and arabs already knew about earth's real circumference for ages, not sure about the europeans though.

regards
I don’t think you read my post, the one that you are quoting, since you are addressing to items that were already dealt with.

Just for curiosity, do you know how the Spanish called to the inhabitants of the Philippines in the chronicles: Indians. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate when they are referring to the Indians in America or to the Indians in the Philippines.

To understand better the 15th century in the Iberian mind, were Columbus lived, you should not equate the word “India” of those days with the word India, of the country that today we know with that name. They aren’t the same. That confusion is clearly showed in this part of the sentence: “…non indian spices of indonesia.”

So, again, “Indonesia”, what is today “Indonesia” was within the vague concept of India or Indies.

Similar reasoning can be made to other vague designations such as “Guinea” or “Ethiopia”.

About the size of the planet it was also already answered.
 
Nov 2010
7,540
Cornwall
#34
so my argument stays, that, when columbus wanted to sail to india where all the trading was taking place, the guy should have immediately realized he was not in india because there was no trading taking place.s
Not sure about that argument to be honest. Does trade take place on every beach one lands on? :)

Conspiracy theories would suggest Columbus knew about the existence of a continent but that the only way to get people to sponsor or crew it was to talk about the wonders and spices of India. Maybe.