Christopher Columbus – Part 1

christopher-columbusThis is the first part in our series on one of the most famous explorers in history – Genoese mariner Christopher Columbus.

In this first part, we examine Columbus’ early life, and then his attempts to find a backer for his scheme to sail west – into the unknown – as a way to reach the fabled eastern lands of China, Japan, India and the Spice islands.

Below is the famous map of the world as depicted by astronomer Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli. It shows a much smaller world than reality – and would help convince Columbus that reaching Asia was possible by sailing west.

toscanelli-map

Images courtesy of Wikipedia.

Bartolomeu Dias and the Cape of Storms

diaz_on_his_voyage_to_the_capeIn 1487, Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias (aka Bartholomew Diaz) sailed from Lisbon with orders to round the southern tip of Africa and chart a trade route to Asia. Dias would make history as he would temp the fates by rounding the Cape of Storms (today known as the Cape of Good Hope), one of the deadliest places in the world for sailing ship.

bartolomeu_dias_voyage