(ORDO NEWS) — Christopher Columbus is best known for discovering and exploring the New World. But few people know the details of his life as a person.
Columbus is known to all thanks to his geographical discoveries. However, there are controversial points in his biography.
Christopher Columbus was an outstanding personality, but in modern biographies of the great traveler there are also annoying inaccuracies. Here are a few facts about Columbus that you probably didn’t know.
Columbus real name
He is known in Italian as Cristoforo Colombo, which was long thought to be his birth name, and in Spanish as Cristobal Colón.
But he himself and others also called him Christual, Christovam, Christopherus de Colombo, and even Espoal de Colon. There is even a theory that he adopted this name from a pirate named Colombo.
Many believe that the ships of Columbus were called “La Niña”, “Pinta” and “Santa Maria”. However, at least two of them were most likely colloquial nicknames rather than official names.
In the time of Columbus, it was customary in Spain to name ships after saints. “La Niña” was probably the nickname of the ship called “Santa Clara”.
It is believed that the nickname comes from the name of the owner of the ship, Juan Niño. It is not known what the original name of “Pint” might have been. Santa Maria is the official name of the third ship, which the sailors called “La Gallega”.
4 Voyages of Columbus
In 1492, Columbus actually swam across the ocean. But he also swam across it in 1493, 1498 and 1502.
While many people might think that Columbus planted a flag in the lower half of Florida, he actually only explored a small part of the Caribbean, which included the Bahamas, Cuba and Jamaica, and parts of Central America.
Columbus was a bad mathematician
At the time Columbus made his famous voyage, the exact size of the planet Earth was unknown, and there were two main ways to measure degrees of latitude – the method developed by the Greek philosopher Poseidonius, and the method developed by the medieval Arabs.
In doing his own calculations, Columbus claimed that the circumference obtained by both methods was the same… ignoring or forgetting that Arabian miles were longer than Roman miles.
Using this data, which ended up shrinking the planet by about 25 percent, Columbus assured his sponsors that his small wooden ships could travel from Spain to Japan in 30 days.
Some scientists believe that Columbus deliberately distorted the distance, but this has not yet been found out.
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