Christopher Columbus: Being the Life of the Very Magnificent Lord Don Cristóbal Colón

Christopher Columbus: Being the Life of the Very Magnificent Lord Don Cristóbal Colón

Christopher Columbus: Being the Life of the Very Magnificent Lord Don Cristóbal Colón

Christopher Columbus: Being the Life of the Very Magnificent Lord Don Cristóbal Colón

Excerpt

On the second day of January 1492,(1) King Ferdinand rode in the clear sun of Andalucía towards that city of Granada, the last jewel of his crown still in the hands of the infidels,(2) which had been for over a century the obsession and the dream of his ancestors. Dressed in bright-coloured rich clothes, on a horse caparisoned with gold and covered with red brocade, he rode at the head of as brilliant a squadron of knights as had ever been seen in those days in Spain or anywhere else; the Dukes and Maestres, Marquises and Counts who for over ten years had helped him, day in day out, to conquer step by step, castle by castle, city by city, the rich kingdom of Granada, whose capital he was now going to receive from the trembling hands of Boabdil the Young. There were the Cardinal of Spain, Pedro González de Mendoza, one of the leading spirits of that austere age; and the powerful Master of the military order of St. James, and the Dukes of Medina-Sidonia and of Cádiz, and Don Alonso de Aguilar, and the Marquis of Villena, the Count of Ureña, the ever-active and ubiquitous Count of Cabra, terror of the Moors, and many more prelates and knights--a living mass of purple, silk and brocade, glittering with silver and gold, moving on at the gracious rhythm of Andalusian and Arabian horse, under the shadow of a forest of pennants, banners and standards, over all of which there rose in triumph the golden Cross and the Royal Banner of Castille.

The capitulation had been signed on December 30th. The Moors, after an eight-month siege, had surrendered to hunger and agreed to give up the fortresses held by Boabdil on condition that their faith and property should be respected. These were the usual conditions under which Moorish towns, with some grim exceptions such as Málaga, had surrendered to King Ferdinand during the campaign, for he was of those shrewd spirits who prefer a fair treaty to a good fight. The surrender of the town was due to take place on January 6th, but King Boabdil, in fear of the progress made by an agitator who was arousing the crowd . . .

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