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Christopher Columbus

This nautical chart, lost for five centuries, gives evidence that Portuguese captains had found the New World by 1424

The last issue of AMERICAN HERITAGE reported the publication in Europe of an ancient map giving evidence that the Western Hemisphere was discovered by Portuguese explorers before Columbus. Read more >>

The discoverer of the New World was first and foremost a sailor says the historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for his brilliant biography of Columbus.

Here are some interesting facts about his epic voyage and its impact.


The Fate of the New World’s First Spanish Settlement

Two ships of Columbus’ fleet of discovery idled languidly in flat water along the treacherous north coast of the island of Haiti, their sails slack in the luminous starlight of a tropical night. It was Christmas Eve, 1492. Read more >>
Within a century after Columbus and his crew first encountered Cuban natives “with a firebrand in the hand and herbs to drink the smoke thereof,” much of Western civilization had taken to tobacco in all its forms—an addiction brought back to the New World in Read more >>

Remembering Samuel Eliot Morrison

The great job of the historian is to enable people to understand how things were and why they happened so in a time and at a place that are gone forever. Somehow he has to reach the irrecoverable past. Read more >>

Martín Pinzón of Palos

As you approach the village of Palos de la Frontera, some fifty miles west of Seville in Spain’s Analgesía, the squat little church of San J’orge looms in the foreground at the base of a rocky cliff that overlooks the tidal flats created by the mingling of th Read more >>

No event in the history of Western man provided so profound a shock as the discovery of America

America was an experience man could only have once. Knowledge of China, knowledge of Africa, festooned as it was with the Spanish moss of myth and legend, had penetrated Europe from the days of Imperial Rome and beyond. Read more >>

The discoverer of the New World was responsible for the annihilation of the peaceful Arawak Indians

Was Columbus motivated by Norse discoveries, concealed over the centuries in misinterpreted maps?

In 1965 widespread interest was excited by the first publication of a fifteenth-century map showing “Vinland” and purporting to be the earliest cartographic representation of any part of the North American continent. Read more >>
In the Vinland Map we see the only known cartographic delineation of American lands before the discoveries of Columbus and Cabot. So far as the evidence goes, this unique record remained unnoticed by geographical writers, by projectors and explorers, and by cartographers. We may still ask whether, more positively than all the hints of western land accumulated in the fifteenth-century maps and texts, it served in some way to bridge “the gap between two epochs of Atlantic discovery.” Read more >>

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