Spain enters the Race to Asia
In 1469, the regions of Aragon (Aragón) and Castile (Castilla) were united by the marriage of Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I, thus creating España or Spain. The treasury of this fledgling nation had been depleted by the many battles they had waged against the Moors. The Spanish monarchs, seeing Portugal’s economic success, sought to establish their own trade routes to the Far East. Queen Isabella embraced this concept from the religious standpoint of going out into “all the world” and converting the pagan people of Asia to Christianity.
At the same time, a tall, young, middle-class man, said to have come from Genoa, Italy, who held that his father was a fabric weaver and cheese merchant, sought to become a navigator. As such, Columbus sailed to Portugal where pirates allegedly attacked the ship he was on. Fortunately, he managed to swim ashore and joined his brother Bartholomew as a cartographer in Lisbon. Apparently to him, becoming a mapmaker must have seemed boring when there was a world to explore. Returning to the sea, he sailed to places as far away as Iceland to the north, and ventured south as far as Guinea on the West-African coast. It is reasonable to assume that he had heard or perhaps even read the stories about the Vikings that took place almost five hundred years prior to Columbus’ arriving there.
Photo Caption: King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I (Visit Facebook for Pictures & Photos)
Award winning Captain Hank Bracker, Historian, Master Mariner and Military Intelligence Officer, is the author of “The Exciting Story of Cuba” an easy to read history of the Island Nation. Available at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, BooksAMillion.com and many Independent Book Stores.