06_Columbus_upload

06_Columbus_upload - Columbus Columbus Columbus •...

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Unformatted text preview: Columbus Columbus Columbus • Cristoforo Colombo was born in 1446 into a family of wool merchants in Genoa, Italy. • In his autobiography he claims to have Frst sailed at the age of 14. • He was familiar with the problems of trading with the Orient because he worked in the family business from 1470-1473. • As a young man he wanted more out of life than to follow in his parents’ profession, so he studied sailing in the Portuguese royal school. Columbus • The Portuguese had extensive ships’ logs on the Atlantic. • The Portuguese were the leading navigators of the time. • They had the most experience in exploration. — African coastal waters around the Cape of Good Hope. — Atlantic waters past the Azores and the Canary Islands. — The logs covered prevailing winds and currents. — Ships’ logs were state secrets. Columbus • Marco Polo’s account of his 13th century adventures were Frst published in 1477. • Columbus believed Polo’s accounts and studied them carefully. • Columbus’ proposal to seek a route to the Orient by sailing westward depended heavily on Marco Polo’s accounts. • Most Europeans believed that Polo’s story was fabricated. • ¡irst, he used it to calculate the width of Asia. • Second, he believed there were islands east of Asia. • Marco Polo reported the existence of a island to the east of China. • Few in Europe believed Cipango existed. • We now know that this is Japan. • This land was called Cipango , although Polo never saw this place himself. — Cipan (Italian pronunciation of c ) + go — go is a form related to the modern Mandarin guó ‘country, land’ cf. the borrowings, Japanese goku , Vietnamese qu ố c . Columbus • Columbus took his proposal to sail westward to the Portuguese court. • They weren’t interested, • Many ordinary people in the early Renaissance believed that the earth was fat. • So the matter was reFerred to a group oF expert advisors, who rejected it. • But the experts not only knew that the the earth was round, they knew it was 24,000 miles in circumFerence. but Columbus was a pest. Columbus • In 1492 a German cartographer produced the frst map on a globe. • It had the same view oF the world that Columbus espoused. • Japan was on the west side oF the Atlantic. • It preceded Columbus’ return to Europe. Behaim Behaim ’ ’ s s Erdapfel Erdapfel Behaim Behaim ’ ’ s s Map Map • The Portuguese experts, not knowing there was something between Europe and China, knew that one one could successfully sail 12,000 miles. • But Columbus (and Behaim) estimated that Asia was much wider and that Cipango made the distance sailable. • The irony is that the Portuguese experts were right, and Columbus was wrong....
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This note was uploaded on 12/18/2009 for the course LING 155AC taught by Professor Rhodes during the Fall '09 term at Berkeley.

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06_Columbus_upload - Columbus Columbus Columbus •...

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