POSITION : STILL "HOME"
DATE/TIME : 01.01.2013, 01:00 UTC
I don't know where from,
I don't know where to,
I wonder why I am so happy !
this is Part III of the Atlantic Story with
PART I : THE BEGINNING OF THE END
( see blog: Island of dogs )
PART II : THE 'ERDAPFEL'
and this last part
PART III : THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA
( also HAPPY NEW YEAR ! )
Hopefully you remember the previous parts, but the story explains how the Venetian monopoly of "East India" trade was severely interrupted by the Ottomans, and due to the inability of Venetian boat construction to conquer further out of the Med into the Atlantic, it was left to others to explore new routes.
And although the Portuguese had all the ingredients to do so, fate left it to the
Genoese Christopher Columbus
to do just this on behalf of the Spanish Court.
However whilst he got many things right,
his navigational skills and calculations were
So where did he get it wrong ?
Well I don't want to bore you with details, but basically he,
although better known
since Phythagoras ( 570 - 495 BC ) and latest Eratosthenes ( 276 - 195 BC ) ,
totally underestimated the circumference of the earth, and as a result got distances utterly wrong.
I give you a simple example of what he seemingly believed in:
Take a nice apple, round in shape, with the top and bottom slightly flattened.
I like the type 'Pink Lady' best actually.
If it is a perfect apple, and you look at it for more than 24 hours,
you will see instead of an apple the shape of the earth, with its flattened poles .
Now Columbus believed and suggested that
going West ( around the apple ) via the sea was a shorter route to the "Indies"
than by its established land routes going east ( around the apple ).
What a "plonker" !
Grab the apple again.
Let's assume it is a nice and juicy apple, no worms inside, and
take a good bite at one side.
Ok, look at the apple now.
This is how the earth would look like if his theory would have been right.
Well, strangely enough, other highly successful LEADERS seem to have had the same VISION ! ? !
I believe that most European courts had a good laugh at his theory.
But the Spanish didn't care.
They got hooked on his proposals for totally different reasons.
Due to their war with the Moors they were desperate to consolidate their kingdom,
and re-unite its people through the means of success.
This I believe is or was the reason why Columbus got their final support.
Specifically from the astute Isabella, Queen of Spain.
Besides that, most of the enterprise was privatley financed anyway, so what could she loose? I like smart women.
Columbus left Gran Canaria ,
or better its neighbouring island Gomera
due to the still ongoing battles with the locals, on the
6th of September 1492 with three ships, expecting to reach Japan , and arrived on the morning of the 12th of October on an island he called later San Salvador,
today known as
Of course, because nobody knew yet about the existence of the Pacific.
Have a look again at Martin Behaim's 'Apple'.
IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA,
THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW WORLD.
A JOURNEY WITH SUBSEQUENT DISCOVERIES
THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
AND STILL DOES !
Gosh, what a long story, And still I could talk much more about it, but why don't you buy yourself a history book, drink a nice glass of red wine, then
close your eyes and start dreaming:
What leadership skills this man must have had,
how did he get the people to join him,
what made him fall out with the Spanish Crown,
what about the "egg story" ,
and so on and so on.
When I teach 'Leadership' at the University Ca'Foscari in Venice,
I have my students presuming to be Columbus,
and they have to give a speech to entice their fellow students to join on such a journey.
Try it on strangers in your town-centre !
Then you understand what a man he must have been.
And for the sailors in you :
All sailing boats crossing the Atlantic still sail to this very day along the same principles and routes that Columbus took.
So I would say that the ARC,
the Atlantic Rally for Sailors,
which started 26 years ago in 1986,
is a homage to an era of a great explorer called Christopher Columbus.
I hope Jimmy Cornell agrees with me.
With this in mind, it strikes me as odd that there is to my knowledge no painting of Christopher that was produced during his lifetime.
Your Master Mike.