So many Italian Explorers and ?

Nov 2009
3,883
Outer world
#51
The 1498 testament was confirmed by the Spanish monarchs in 1501.
There is a 1479 notary act where a "Cristoforus Columbus civis Januæ" (Christopher Columbus citizen of Genua) is a witness and the act is officially signed and conserved in the archives of Genoa (which are way more trustworthy than any Spanish claim).
The reasons he did not write in "Italian" are pretty simple: he did not speak Italian but Genoese which was not commonly used in written forms; in addition to this, He was of rather humble origins (his father was a wool weaver and a tavern owner) and using Spanish hid that and gave him importance (after all, he was a nobleman in Spain) and, as a matter of fact, he was quite reserved about his origins throughout all his life.
Plus, there are many witnesses stating his Italian origins and an academic consensus so either Italian nationalists (already operating to create this fiction in 1479) are pretty damn convincing or the Spanish hypothesis makes little sense.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,369
Portugal
#52
He remembered one of these documents in his last times. And all people said he was genoese, were all idiots?
Sorry, can you specify what document are you talking about “He remembered” “in his last times”?

The 1498 testament was confirmed by the Spanish monarchs in 1501.
There is a 1479 notary act where a "Cristoforus Columbus civis Januæ" (Christopher Columbus citizen of Genua) is a witness and the act is officially signed and conserved in the archives of Genoa (which are way more trustworthy than any Spanish claim).
The reasons he did not write in "Italian" are pretty simple: he did not speak Italian but Genoese which was not commonly used in written forms; in addition to this, He was of rather humble origins (his father was a wool weaver and a tavern owner) and using Spanish hid that and gave him importance (after all, he was a nobleman in Spain) and, as a matter of fact, he was quite reserved about his origins throughout all his life.
Plus, there are many witnesses stating his Italian origins and an academic consensus so either Italian nationalists (already operating to create this fiction in 1479) are pretty damn convincing or the Spanish hypothesis makes little sense.
I think you missed my point, xander. I am not defending the hypothesis that he was “Spanish”, since in some way as Italian, it doesn’t make much sense to talk that way. The “Spanish” differentiated themselves as Castilians, Aragonese and Portuguese, among others. And the time the Portuguese didn’t had problems to consider themselves Spanish (from the Spains, AKA Iberian Peninsula), as they don’t have today problems to consider themselves Iberians (from the Iberian Peninsula). I even think that there is a strong possibility that he was born in “Italy”, more precisely in Liguria. What I find pretty odd and difficult to believe and to prove, as far my reading on this went, is that he was the son of the wool weaver or humble origins than suddenly was a sea captain and married with a Portuguese noble woman… in the society of the 15th century.

According to him, that as I stated seemed to had some difficulties to deal with the true, he served under the orders of corsairs named Colón, and that they were his relatives. Well the two well known corsairs at his time named Colón, one was French, and the other could be French or eventually Greek.

He said that he was not the first admiral of his family (the two mentioned Colón’s were considered Admirals).

He said that he begun so sail since tender age.

To the credit of the Genoese humble version:

There are documents that a “Cristoforo Colombo”, artisan and wool trader, born in Genoa in 1451, with notarial acts in 1470, 1472, 1473. Is he our Colón? How can he be so sure?

He have the “Assereto” document”, found in 1904, that a “Cristoforo Colombo”, Genoese, was in Genoa in 1479, ordered by Paolo Di Negro, from the house of the Centurione, and that he had went to Madeira tin the previous year to buy sugar cane.

But this contradicts his personal testimonies (although as I said we have to be careful with his words), but even more the testimonies of his son and of the Las Casas.

If he didn’t had naval experience before 1474/5 already with some 23 or 24 years, and had humble origins, how can we explain his suddenly experience and marriage?

His son said that his father begun to navigate with 14 years old. So… he was a wool trader or a sailor? We can’t have both. And he arrived to Portugal in 1476, in the sequence of the already mentioned naval attack by corsairs near the cape São Vicente.

The pieces that we have from the puzzle simple don’t fit altogether. Again, I am not denying that he was “Italian”. He certainly had “Italian” connections. I am just questioning hardly how could he be a humble wool trader in one day, with all those notarial acts, and an experienced pilot in the next, married in Portugal with a noble woman? His lying capacities allowed all that? Maybe, just maybe.

EDIT:

By the way, some said here or implied (Naima if I am not mistaken) that the “Italians” were the most of the captains explorers that that is not true, their importance was significant, without doubts, but let us not exaggerate saying that they were the majority.
 
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martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,280
Spain
#53
It is not possible to say better than Tulius...it is what I think too. He was not Castilian...but he used the castilian named Spanish because it was the "common" language used by the social elites in Castille-Aragon-Navarre-Portugal in 15th Century as centuries before it was the Galaico-Portugues.

So, why is it possible to match Cristobal Colón with the Colombo in Genoa? Not so easy... and not so happy as somebody think.
 
Jul 2017
16
Europe
#55
Italy at the time was still economic damaged by the Italian Wars and besides with its geographical position Italy couldn't compete with Powers who are on the Atlantic facade.

Likely Colón was Spanish...

The idea to say he was from Italy, appeared around 1880 and emerged during the 4th Centennial... The just formed Kingdom of Italy (from 1861 in the best of case... from 1871 if we add Rome) and the Italian inmigrants in USA that formed and still they are a lobby...used the Colón, Colomo, Colomb as a propagandist apology about the discovery of America as a Italian "work"... Italy played not role in the discovery of America.. it was a Spanish undertaking...not italian money, or crew or captains... in the discovery...
Just a reminder: "Spain" didn't exist either when he was born. Spain was a bulk of Kingdoms. Nationality is a much more recent thing (since French Revolution at least)
Spanish and Portuguese historians are well known for have manipulated his origin. He was from the Republic of Genoa therefore Italian and even if there was any Italy yet it still count as Italian because the Italian identity dates back to the middle ages and Italian pre-unitarian states count as Italian otherwise we could easily exclude German pre-unitarian states like Prussia from being German or the Kingdom of Aragon from being Spanish.

Origini di Cristoforo Colombo - Wikipedia
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,369
Portugal
#56
Just a reminder: "Spain" didn't exist either when he was born. Spain was a bulk of Kingdoms. Nationality is a much more recent thing (since French Revolution at least)
Sorry to say but Spain existed before Columbus, it existed since ancient times. The Romans mention it quite often.

Spanish and Portuguese historians are well known for have manipulated his origin.
Care to be less generic? It is a strong generic accusation. Let me remind you that most of the Spanish and Portuguese historians agree that Columbus was from Genoa.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,001
Canary Islands-Spain
#57
Italy at the time was still economic damaged by the Italian Wars and besides with its geographical position Italy couldn't compete with Powers who are on the Atlantic facade.



Just a reminder: "Spain" didn't exist either when he was born. Spain was a bulk of Kingdoms. Nationality is a much more recent thing (since French Revolution at least)
Spanish and Portuguese historians are well known for have manipulated his origin. He was from the Republic of Genoa therefore Italian and even if there was any Italy yet it still count as Italian because the Italian identity dates back to the middle ages and Italian pre-unitarian states count as Italian otherwise we could easily exclude German pre-unitarian states like Prussia from being German or the Kingdom of Aragon from being Spanish.

Origini di Cristoforo Colombo - Wikipedia

Just a minority of Portuguese and Spanish historians.

And I want to point that the Columbus discussion totally hijacked and destroyed a thread that was full of interesting information about Italian explorers and their role in the exploration age.
 
Jun 2012
1,473
Florida
#58
Going back to the original OP, I think there were a number of reasons Italian's failed to capitalize on the ambition of its explorers, some of which have been mentioned here.

Among them, the internecine conflicts among the Italian States, failure of imagination of the Italians to capitalize on the new discoveries, the disadvantage of Italy's geographic position, the role of the Catholic Church that sowed division among the city-states, and the rise of powers in the East, the Ottomans, which may have taken their eye off Western exploration.

Luigi Barzini in his book The Italians said that Italian division and failure to recognize the geniuses among them kept Italy from realizing its full potential.

There is some truth to that.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,369
Portugal
#59
Just a minority of Portuguese and Spanish historians.

And I want to point that the Columbus discussion totally hijacked and destroyed a thread that was full of interesting information about Italian explorers and their role in the exploration age.
Agreed. Lots of charactes out there besides Columbus...

Going back to the original OP, I think there were a number of reasons Italian's failed to capitalize on the ambition of its explorers, some of which have been mentioned here.
But we can’t forget that most of the times the Italian explorers were working for other countries, mostly to the Portuguese and Castilian crowns (cases as the one of Cabot were rare). Even if sometimes they could have dubious intentions, working as agents and spies for Italian commercial houses with strong interests in the Iberian crowns.
 
Feb 2019
341
California
#60
And no Italian state was interested in the new world?
Other nations have often used Italian explorers to uncover the new World from Columbus to Cabot, but why Italian states, that were still very rich at the Renaissence time were not interested in the new world?

Your own question contains the seeds of its answer. Or did you not know that Italy had a monopoly on the OLD trade routes, my friend?
 

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