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To Christopher Columbus belongs the glory of having made the first discovery of the western world. At a time when geographical science had long slept in Europe, when distant voyages were rare, and discoverers were few, timid, and ignorant, this extraordinary man formea the noble design of crossing the Atlantic Ocean in search of new regions. His opinion, that such an enterprise would be attended with success, was not unsupported by plausible facts and reasonings. Though, in the fifteenth century, the information of geographers was incorrect as well as scanty, certain observations had been recorded which supported his thoory. From the form of the earth's shadow on the moon in an eclipse, it had been inferred that its shape was globular; and tolerably accurate ideas had been conceived of its magnitude. It was, therefore, apparent that Europe, Asia, and Africa could occupy but a small portion of its surface, and it seemed highly improbable that the remaining portion was one vast ocean, Travellers in the east had reported that Asia extended very far in that direction, and the rotundity of the earth being known, it was inferred that the East Indies might be reached by holding a course directly west from Europe.
These reasonings were not unsupported by striking facts. Pieces of wood, nicely carved, and apparently borne from a far country, had been thrown on the western
Who was the discoverer of America ?_What led him to the undertak ing ?-What facts supported his opinions ?
coast of the Madeiras. A tree of an unknown species had been taken out of the ocean near the Azores; and the bodies of two men, of strange colour and unusual ap fearance, had been found upon the coast.
From these circumstances Columbus inferred the exist ence of the regions which he afterwards discovered, and the possibility of reaching them by sailing to the west.
At this period the favourite object of discovery was a passage to the East Indies by sea. To find a shorter and more direct route to these regions, than that around Africa, was the immediate object of Columbus in proposing to mndertake a voyage of discovery. The rich returns of oriental commerce formed the chief inducement whick he urged upon those sovereigns, to whom he submitted his project, with a view to gain their support and patron age.
He first applied to the government of Genoa, his native country; but here his offer was rejected, probably in con sequence of the decline of commercial enterprise among we Genoese. He then made application to King John IK of Portugal, a monarch who had liberally encouraged voyages of discovery. Here he met with no better suo cess, and he left the country in disgust. It was about this period that he despatched his brother, Bartholomew Columbus, to England, for the purpose of gaining the patronage of Henry VII in support of his project. The voyage, however, was attended with so much delay, that that sovereign was not enabled to complete his arrange ments, and make known his favourable disposition to Christopher Columbus, until the discovery had actually been effected.
Disappointed in his applications to other courts, Colum bus, in 1486, applied to that of Spain. The sovereigns of this country, Ferdinand and Isabella, were at that time engaged in expelling the Moors from Granada, their last stronghold on the peninsula; and it was not until the way was terminated that Columbus was enabled to obtain a favourable hearing.
The representations of his friends, Quintanilla and SA Angel, and the favourable state of the kingdom, just freed
What was the grand object of discovery in Columbus's time ?-Whai was Columbus's immediate object !- To whom did he first apply?-With what success ?-To whom next ?-Who was sent to England - What was his success—To whom did Columbus next apply.
What was the result 1-Who were his friends at court ?