Christopher Columbus and the Portuguese, 1476-1498

Christopher Columbus and the Portuguese, 1476-1498

Christopher Columbus and the Portuguese, 1476-1498

Christopher Columbus and the Portuguese, 1476-1498

Synopsis

Although much has been written about Columbus's life in Italy and Spain, little has been written about his formative years in Portugal. This work is the first book-length analysis of Columbus's stay in Portugal and Madeira from 1476 to 1485 and his later experiences in the Portuguese islands of the Azores and the Madeiras. The work stresses the influence the Portuguese had in educating Columbus about the sea, and it depicts his famous voyage to the New World as a logical sequence of the pioneering voyages of the Portuguese in the North Atlantic and along the West Coast of Africa. The work attempts to sort legend from fact and debunks the many myths about Columbus's stays on the island of Madeira.

Excerpt

Part of the material in this book was originally intended for the Repertorium Columbianum, a project of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies of the University of California at Los Angeles, then under the direction of the late Fredi Chiappelli. The Repertorium Columbianum, as envisioned by Chiappelli, was to have been a twelve-volume compilation and translation of materials related to the discovery of the Americas, which had been scheduled for a 1992 publication. The body of the work was supposed to include all the writings of Christopher Columbus and other fifteenth- and sixteenth-century texts, including narratives, travelers' reports, testimonials, legal documentation, and letters.

With the untimely death of Fredi Chiappelli in 1990, the project as originally conceived was curtailed considerably in cost and scope, and the material related to Columbus and Portugal was eliminated. It was decided, however, to retrieve the rejected material, to augment it, and to publish it separately, not only to make good use of the precious hours of research but to do honor to Portugal, a country that has been unjustly neglected in the official U.S. celebrations connected with the quincentennial of the discovery of America.

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