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He was to seek a route to lands which might be expected not only to consolidate the strength of a newly united Spain with rich and cheaply transported imports, but also to provide a field for a lately accelerating and now thriving enterprise, the incorpor- ation into Christendom of hundreds of thousands of waiting souls.Columbus himself was always aware of this aspect of the voyage, and always eager to stress it; indeed, in later life his conviction became a virtual mania.
1 The Queen's religious zeal, however, was a factor generally favouring Columbus.In rendering Columbus' Journal into English, John Cummins has produced *~ (continued 0*1 bach The Voyage of Christopher Columbus By the same author The Spanish Traditional Lyric The Hound and the Hawk: The Art of Medieval Hunting as editor Juan de Mena, Laberinto de Fortuna T. For information, address St, Martin's Press, 175 fifth Avenue, New York, N, Y. "A Thomas Dunne book," ISBN 0-3124)7880-3 1, Columbus, Christopher Diaries. 3, Explorers America Diaries, 4, Explorers Spain Diaries. I am also grateful to my publishers, and particularly to Allegra Huston and Natalina Bertoli for their supportive interest and suggestions for textual improve- ments.10010, Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Columbus, Christopher, [Dim English] The voyage of Christopher Columbus : Columbus' own journal of discovery / newly restored and translated by John Cummins. Above all, as ever, I thank Liz Weir, the best of secretaries and a patient teacher of the electronically bemused.The anti-Islamic impetus of these gradually expanding kingdoms had been made sporadic by the resurgent fervour of the enemy, sometimes bolstered from Africa, and by squabbles with Christian neighbours who were often royal siblings. In the royal campaign headquarters at Santa Fe, near Granada, only a few days before the formal surrender of the city, Columbus received permission from the Queen to proceed with his project to seek a western route to the orient.The new beginning is tied so neatly to the ending, the sequence is so felicitous, that one resists making the point Introduction for fear of accusations of being facile.Mediaeval Spain was at the furthest extremity of the trade routes from the orient, cut off from the sources of eastern luxury goods not only, like the rest of Europe, by frequently hostile populations of infidels, but also by better placed Mediterranean rivals, Venice and Genoa in particular.
Lately the ships of the King of Portugal had opened up a new source of gold and spices southward along the coast of Africa, and by rounding the Cape of Good Hope had revealed a valid sea route to the east, untrammelled by desert, brigand or tax gatherer.Vll The Voyage of Christopher Columbus 1492: Aw End and a Beginning From our viewpoint in the world we have inherited, a world shrunken by technological advance and robbed of its mystery by scientific enquiry, we see 1492 as the date of a great beginning; an expansion of man's acquaintance with his planetary environment on a scale so great that it was not exceeded until he escaped the gravitational pull of the earth.Whatever Columbus thought he had discovered on 12 October (and only later voyages revealed the startling presence of a continent), the reorientation of European eyes westward which followed his return in the following spring was the prelude to a substantial proportion of the now mythicized elements which form our historical culture.Other, later myths came to enrich our vision of a continent of wonders, dangers and inexhaustible wealth: the Spanish Main; the slave trade; the great rivers; Cape Horn; Spanish port, fever port, port of Holy Peter.The terrain of the Americas and the people who settled there, too, are part of our traditional culture.The Conquistadors followed, and returned with tales of El Dorado.