Fact Checking Columbus

Mar 2019
1,469
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
155
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
5,453
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
7,594
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.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,344
Spain
#35
[QUOTE="martin76, post: 3051107, member: 32417. . .

. . .

That is the reason because I hate intepretations, or "lessons" from History... I am only interested in facts without any kind of interpretation.. any kind of manipulation...You know... June 6th, 1944: US, British and Canadian troops land in Normandy. Fact...without intepretation.
But without the interpretation, history is no fun at all. I have a few books with titles like "Seventeenth Century Europe". They are dry as dust-- recitals of facts. Good to have around as a quick resource, but not enjoyable reading for a quiet November evening. So give me something that takes an interpretive thesis and tries to prove it.[/QUOTE]

Dear David,

As you know I don´t like interpretations.. only facts. .that´s the reason because I like Official records... not interpretation.... General Jackson was a Confederate General operated in Shenandoah Valley against Federal and sometime he defeated them in numerical inferiority (Fact.. not interpretation).

General Jackson was "good", "bad", "mediocre", "excellent" etc etc are "interpretations".... not fact... not scientific...that is because artist movements are not facts but interpretaions... for example Renaissance is not a fact.. it is an interpretation... other interpretation says Rennaissance never existed...

I only like facts. Interpretations for me are tales.. everyone accepts and listens only to what they want to hear and listening...
 
Aug 2014
257
New York, USA
#36
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.
The theory is that Columbus learned about the land to the West when he visited Iceland in 1477. That prompted him to think that Ptolemy's calculation for the Earth's circumference may be correct. The whole India thing is just so he could get some $$$ for the voyage. I think people nowadays think that people like Columbus were complete suicidal idiots, when in fact he spend decades preparing for these voyages.
 
Nov 2011
4,713
Ohio, USA
#37
The whole misnomer is that Columbus underestimated the size of the Earth. That’s not true. He simply vastly overestimated the size of Asia.

As for thinking he had found India, if it sounds too hard to believe, it probably is. No firm evidence for this afaik, but he probably just said it and wrote it for political purposes. Even writing down the truth in his log would risk getting caught in the lie.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,344
Spain
#38
As I always say....reading some people in this forum... Colón was a tourist arrived to "America" (a word not even existed.. and nobody is going to use till 19th Century as the best) buying a ticket in a Traveller -agency....Colón was the first European to be in the New World.. in the West Indies. And we have not evidences if he knew about lands bound to West... in Thule (not Iceland), Canary Islands, Portugal or he never knew anything. not evidences... My scientific mind... only based on facts....
We have the letters wriiten by Colón... as everybody can read in the archives: for example here (in original language).
He always wrote and told about INDIES.. never about AMERICA.. and never about a "new world"... so.. according with Evidences.... it is clear... he believed he had arrived to India.



In his last Will (he dictated in Valladolid at May 19th, 1506) he is very clear... he arrived to the INDIES....islas y tierra firme de las Indias (Islands and mainland in the Indies). So.. I think Colón believed he arrived to Indies.... it is his last will... he is dying... not to lie to himself in the last moment.
 
Nov 2011
4,713
Ohio, USA
#39
As I always say....reading some people in this forum... Colón was a tourist arrived to "America" (a word not even existed.. and nobody is going to use till 19th Century as the best) buying a ticket in a Traveller -agency....Colón was the first European to be in the New World.. in the West Indies. And we have not evidences if he knew about lands bound to West... in Thule (not Iceland), Canary Islands, Portugal or he never knew anything. not evidences... My scientific mind... only based on facts....
We have the letters wriiten by Colón... as everybody can read in the archives: for example here (in original language).
He always wrote and told about INDIES.. never about AMERICA.. and never about a "new world"... so.. according with Evidences.... it is clear... he believed he had arrived to India.



In his last Will (he dictated in Valladolid at May 19th, 1506) he is very clear... he arrived to the INDIES....islas y tierra firme de las Indias (Islands and mainland in the Indies). So.. I think Colón believed he arrived to Indies.... it is his last will... he is dying... not to lie to himself in the last moment.
Perhaps, but it just seems inexplicable that Columbus genuinely thought he had arrived in the Indies when there was clearly not enough ‘hustle and bustle’ to be anything like what those or India and China were supposed to be like in their minds, as described by Europeans who had been there mostly by land, such as Marco Polo. There were also not nearly enough of or the right kind of spices to be anything like even the vague concept of what Europeans had of the Indies.

However, I also cannot accept the idea that Columbus was just a complete, lucky idiot because he was clearly and evidently very adept at many of the things he did. He was deluded and megalomaniacal in some ways, of course, but then so were Alexander and Napoleon who, like Columbus, also happened to be poor administrators but great at most everything else they set themselves to.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,453
Portugal
#40
There were also not nearly enough of or the right kind of spices to be anything like even the vague concept of what Europeans had of the Indies
Many years later after the arrival of Columbus America, the Spanish arrived to the Philippines. There were Portuguese in that voyage that knew quite well were the territories that today belong to India were.

Those islands didn’t have much to do with the descriptions of Marco Polo. There were no spices and yet the Spanish called Indians to the Philippines inhabitants.

India or the Indies at the time was a quite geographical vague concept.
 
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