03 August, 2011

August 3, 1492

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

Cristoforo Columbo leaves Palos de la Frontera in attempt to reach the Indies by sailing across the western ocean (the Atlantic).

On the evening of 3 August 1492, Columbus departed from Palos de la Frontera with three ships; one larger carrack, Santa María, nicknamed Gallega (the Galician), and two smaller caravels, Pinta (the Painted) and Santa Clara, nicknamed Niña after her owner Juan Niño of Moguer.[35] They were property of Juan de la Cosa and the Pinzón brothers (Martín Alonso and Vicente Yáñez), but the monarchs forced the Palos inhabitants to contribute to the expedition. Columbus first sailed to the Canary Islands, which were owned by Castile, where he restocked the provisions and made repairs. On 6 September he departed San Sebastián de La Gomera for what turned out to be a five-week voyage across the ocean.

A lookout on the Pinta, Rodrigo de Triana (also known as Juan Rodriguez Bermeo), spotted land about 2 a.m. on the morning of October 12, and immediately alerted the rest of the crew with a shout. Thereupon, the captain of the Pinta, Juan Alonso Pinzón, verified the discovery and alerted Columbus by firing a lombard.[36] Columbus later maintained that he himself had already seen a light on the land a few hours earlier, thereby claiming for himself the lifetime pension promised by Ferdinand and Isabella to the first person to sight land.

Aside: It’s amusing that we’re taught in the United States that the names of the three ships were the Nina, Pinta, & Santa Maria. Pinta was a nickname of the ship Santa Clara. But the nickname of Santa Maria was Gallega. So, in typical inconsistency we accept the nickname of one ship, but not the other.

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