Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Reflections on a New Crossing

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Reflections on a New Crossing

Article excerpt

The world is full of vast expanses which beckon humankind to venture forth through valleys, over mountains and across uncharted waters. In our many journeys, there have been a few that were remarkable because they were wholly new, performed by a different sort of people willing to go a little further over the edge of the known, with new tools, new theories. When they succeed, the rest of us celebrate their achievement. We celebrate their return home and hundreds of years later we continue to relive it. Such a journey was that of Christopher Columbus and his crew. Never before had sailors been willing to travel so far into unknown oceans.

In recognition of this great accomplishment and of the spirit of discovery, the Spanish government, in conjunction with the Navy, the National Quintcentennial Commission of Spain, and numerous other organizations undertook a tremendous task--to rebuild with complete historical accuracy the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. With extensive research beginning in October of 1983, the Quintcentennial Commission was able to recreate the Caravels in their original shapes and fit them with handmade sails, authentic rigging and navigational equipment. The actual construction took place between 1988 and 1989 in three different locations--the Santa Maria was built in Barcelona, the Pinta on Isla la Cristina, and the Nina in Cartagena. After an investment of over seven million dollars and painstaking attention to detail, the Caravels were ready to embark on their European tour. During 1990, they cast anchor in twenty-two cities in the Old World, attracting over 2 million spectators. On October 13, 1991, the three ships set sail from Palos de la Frontera--the port at Huelva from which Columbus departed--to recreate that original voyage which united East with West. …

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