The Bahamas, known as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a country within the Lucayan Archipelago. The archipelagic state consists of more than 700 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, is located north of Cuba and Hispaniola, northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast of the U. S. state of Florida, east of the Florida Keys. The capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence; the designation of "the Bahamas" can refer either to the country or to the larger island chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force describes the Bahamas territory as encompassing 470,000 km2 of ocean space; the Bahamas is the site of Columbus's first landfall in the New World in 1492. At that time, the islands were inhabited by the Lucayans, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taíno people. Although the Spanish never colonised the Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola; the islands were deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.
The Bahamas became a British crown colony in 1718. After the American Revolutionary War, the Crown resettled thousands of American Loyalists in the Bahamas. Africans constituted the majority of the population from this period; the slave trade was abolished by the British in 1807. Subsequently, the Bahamas became a haven for freed African slaves. Today, Afro-Bahamians make up nearly 90% of the population; the Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973 with Elizabeth II as its queen. In terms of gross domestic product per capita, the Bahamas is one of the richest countries in the Americas, with an economy based on tourism and finance; the name Bahamas is most derived from either the Taíno ba ha ma, a term for the region used by the indigenous Native Americans, or from the Spanish baja mar reflecting the shallow waters of the area. Alternatively, it may originate from a local name of unclear meaning; the word The constitutes an integral part of the short form of the name and is, capitalised.
So in contrast to "the Congo" and "the United Kingdom", it is proper to write "The Bahamas." The name The Bahamas is thus comparable with certain non-English names that use the definite article, such as Las Vegas or Los Angeles. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the country's fundamental law, capitalizes the "T" in "The Bahamas." Taino people moved into the uninhabited southern Bahamas from Hispaniola and Cuba around the 11th century, having migrated there from South America. They came to be known as the Lucayan people. An estimated 30,000 Lucayans inhabited the Bahamas at the time of Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1492. Columbus's first landfall in the New World was on an island; some researchers believe this site to be present-day San Salvador Island, situated in the southeastern Bahamas. An alternative theory holds that Columbus landed to the southeast on Samana Cay, according to calculations made in 1986 by National Geographic writer and editor Joseph Judge, based on Columbus's log.
Evidence in support of this remains inconclusive. On the landfall island, Columbus exchanged goods with them; the Spanish forced much of the Lucayan population to Hispaniola for use as forced labour. The slaves suffered from harsh conditions and most died from contracting diseases to which they had no immunity; the population of the Bahamas was diminished. In 1648, the Eleutherian Adventurers, led by William Sayle, migrated from Bermuda; these English Puritans established the first permanent European settlement on an island which they named Eleuthera—the name derives from the Greek word for freedom. They settled New Providence, naming it Sayle's Island after one of their leaders. To survive, the settlers salvaged goods from wrecks. In 1670, King Charles II granted the islands to the Lords Proprietors of the Carolinas in North America, they rented the islands from the king with rights of trading, appointing governors, administering the country. In 1684 Spanish corsair Juan de Alcon raided Charles Town.
In 1703, a joint Franco-Spanish expedition occupied the Bahamian capital during the War of the Spanish Succession. During proprietary rule, the Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including Blackbeard. To put an end to the'Pirates' republic' and restore orderly government, Great Britain made the Bahamas a crown colony in 1718 under the royal governorship of Woodes Rogers. After a difficult struggle, he succeeded in suppressing piracy. In 1720, Rogers led local militia to drive off a Spanish attack. During the US War of Independence in the late 18th century, the islands became a target for US naval forces under the command of Commodore Esek Hopkins. US Marines occupied the capital of Nassau for 2 weeks. In 1782, following the British defeat at Yorktown, a Spanish fleet appeared off the coast of Nassau; the city surrendered without a fight. Spain returned possession of the Bahamas to Great Britain the following year, u
San Salvador Island
San Salvador Island is an island and district of the Bahamas. It is believed that during Christopher Columbus' first expedition to the New World, San Salvador Island was the first land he sighted and visited on 12 October 1492. Columbus' records indicate that the native Lucayan inhabitants of the territory, who called their island Guanahani, were "sweet and gentle"; when he made landfall on the small island of San Salvador in 1492, Columbus thought he had reached the East Indies. This was his quest – to find an all-water route to the orient so that European traders, who traded precious spices, could avoid paying tribute to the Middle Eastern middlemen who skimmed profits off overland trading ventures. In addition, Columbus was interested in financing a new Crusade along with a “back door” route to the Middle East in order to fight it; the island was called Guanahani by the Natives of the island, the name was promptly changed following Spanish colonization. In the 17th century, San Salvador was settled by an English Buccaneer, John Watling, who gave the island its alternative historical name.
The United Kingdom gained control of. In 1925 the name "San Salvador" was transferred from another place, now called Cat Island, given to "Watlings Island," based on historians believing this was a more match for Columbus' description of Guanahani. Advocates of Watling's Island included the map-custodian of the British Museum; the American Fr. Chrysostom Schreiner OSB, the first Catholic priest permanently assigned to the Bahamas, served at St. Francis Xavier in Nassau. A history enthusiast, he researched Columbus' landing extensively and promoted San Salvador as the correct landing site. In retirement, Fr. Chrysostom relocated to San Salvador, where he died on 3 Jan 1928, he was buried the next day. Memorial Masses were celebrated in Nassau. Cardinal Hayes referred to him as the Catholic Apostle to the Bahamas, his tomb can still be seen on San Salvador. Today, thanks to the island's prosperous main industry is tourism. About 940 people reside on San Salvador Island and its principal community is Cockburn Town, the seat of local government.
The town has a population of 271. A Club Med resort, called "Columbus Isle", is located just north of Cockburn Town. Nearby is the Pleistocene Cockburn Town Fossil Reef. Fossilized Staghorn coral, Elkhorn coral are present near the crest of the fossil reef, other corals, such as Montastraea and Porites, are preserved; the Gerace Research Centre is located on the north end of the island on the shores of Grahams Harbour. More than 1,000 students and researchers work from the station every year as a base of operations for studying tropical marine geology and archaeology; the island is home to many shallow-water reefs, where snorkelers can observe hundreds of fish species without the use of scuba equipment. It is known for its quick drop in the submerged platform of the island, allowing for numerous dive sites; the western coast has many wall reefs, with steep drop offs, while the northern coast has many shallow barrier reefs surrounding Grahams Harbour, a large shallow lagoon. The island is served by San Salvador International Airport.
The Dixon Hill lighthouse is located on the island south of Dixon Hill Settlement on the east side of the island. It is 160 feet tall, was constructed in 1887 by the Imperial Lighthouse Service. Beside beaches, there are several monuments and shipwrecks in the area that are major tourist attractions. Hurricane Lili struck San Salvador in 1996. Hurricane Floyd struck in 1999, caused damage to homes, tourist facilities and infrastructure, caused considerable beach erosion. On October 4, 2015 report from the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin indicate that several islands are, in the words of one journalist, "completely obliterated". Photojournalist Eddy Rafael observed the devastation from the air as part of an assessment flight that included San Salvador Island; the damage seemed to be confined to just a few specific areas. The Club Med resort on San Salvador was destroyed, Rafael reported, but the power station looked intact from the air. Club Med stated that much of the landscaping was damaged, but no guests were present at the time of the hurricane and none of the staff were injured.
San Salvador Island sits on its own isolated carbonate platform surrounded by a narrow shelf that reaches a depth of up to 40 meters. Past the shelf, the slope becomes vertical and depth increases to 4,000 meters. San Salvador Island experiences a semi-diurnal tide, with two low tides per day. Water temperature in San Salvador can range from 23⁰C to 29⁰C depending on the location and time of year. Salinity and dissolved oxygen are consistent throughout the year. Most of San Salvador Island is surrounded by fringing reefs. In many areas, such as Fernandez Bay, the shore is populated by reef urchins. Moving away from shore, the bottom slopes and may have several patch reefs surrounded by a sandy bottom; these patch reefs are home to hundreds of fish and algae. The depth continues to increase to about 25 meter
Mercury-Atlas 6 was the first American orbital spaceflight, which took place on February 20, 1962. Piloted by astronaut John Glenn and operated by NASA as part of Project Mercury, it was the fifth human spaceflight, preceded by Soviet orbital flights Vostok 1 and 2 and American sub-orbital flights Mercury-Redstone 3 and 4; the Mercury spacecraft, named Friendship 7, was carried to orbit by an Atlas LV-3B launch vehicle lifting off from Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. After three orbits, the spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, splashed down in the North Atlantic Ocean, was safely taken aboard USS Noa. Total mission flight time was four hours 23 seconds; the event was named an IEEE Milestone in 2011. After the successful completion of the Mercury 5 flight that carried Enos, a chimpanzee, in late November 1961, a press conference was held in early December. Reporters asked NASA's Robert Gilruth who would be the first U. S. astronaut in orbit, piloting Mercury 6. He announced the team members for the next two Mercury missions.
John H. Glenn was selected as prime pilot for the first mission, with M. Scott Carpenter as his backup. Donald K. Slayton and Walter M. Schirra were pilot and backup for the second mission, Mercury 7; the Mercury 6 launch vehicle, Atlas #109-D, arrived at Cape Canaveral the evening of November 30, 1961. NASA had wanted to launch Mercury 6 in 1961, but by early December it was apparent that the mission hardware would not be ready for launch until early 1962. Mercury spacecraft #13 began taking form on McDonnell's St. Louis, Missouri assembly line in May 1960, it was chosen for the MA-6 mission in October 1960 and delivered to Cape Canaveral on August 27, 1961. Mercury spacecraft #13 and Atlas #109-D were stacked on the pad at Launch Complex 14 on January 2, 1962; as the effects of orbital space flight on humans were unknown except to the Soviets, who were keeping whatever knowledge they had a secret, Glenn was prepared with an onboard medical kit consisting of morphine for pain relief, mephentermine sulfate to treat any shock symptoms, benzylamine hydrochloride to counter motion sickness and racemic amphetamine sulfate, a stimulant.
A survival kit was placed on board to assist Glenn while waiting for recovery after splashdown, including desalter kits, dye marker, distress signal, signal mirrors, signal whistle, first aid kits, shark chaser, a PK-2 raft, survival rations, a radio transceiver. The launch date was first announced as January 16, 1962 postponed to January 20 because of problems with the Atlas rocket fuel tanks; the launch slipped day by day to January 27 due to unfavorable winter weather. On that day, Glenn was on board Mercury 6 and ready to launch, when, at T-29 minutes, the flight director called off the launch because of thick clouds that would have made it impossible to photograph or film the launch vehicle after the first 20 seconds of the mission. A large crowd of reporters gathered at Cape Canaveral for the launch went home disappointed. Mission Director Walter Williams felt a sense of relief at the bad weather, as there was still a general sense that the spacecraft and booster were not ready to fly yet.
NASA informed the anxious public that the mission would take time to get ready since manned launches required a high degree of preparation and safety standards. The launch was postponed until February 1, 1962; when technicians began to fuel the Atlas on January 30, they discovered a fuel leak had soaked an internal insulation blanket between the RP-1 and LOX tanks. This caused a two-week delay. On February 14, the launch was again postponed due to weather. On February 18, the weather started to break, it appeared that February 1962 would be a favorable day to attempt a launch. Glenn boarded the Friendship 7 spacecraft at 11:03 UTC on February 20, 1962 following an hour-and-a-half delay to replace a faulty component in the Atlas's guidance system; the hatch was bolted in place at 12:10 UTC. Most of the 70 hatch bolts had been secured; this caused a 42-minute delay while all the bolts were removed, the defective bolt was replaced and the hatch was re-bolted in place. The count was resumed at 11:25 UTC.
The gantry was rolled back at 13:20 UTC. At 13:58 UTC the count was held for 25 minutes. At 14:47 UTC, after two hours and 17 minutes of holds and three hours and 44 minutes after Glenn entered Friendship 7, engineer T. J. O'Malley pressed the button in the blockhouse launching the spacecraft. O'Malley said, "the good Lord ride all the way," and capsule communicator Scott Carpenter uttered the famous phrase "Godspeed, John Glenn." Due to a glitch in Glenn's radio, he did not hear the Carpenter phrase during launch. At liftoff Glenn's pulse rate climbed to 110 beats per minute. 30 seconds after liftoff the General Electric-Burroughs designed guidance system locked onto a radio transponder in the booster to guide the vehicle to orbit. As the Atlas and Friendship 7 passed through max Q Glenn reported, "It's a little bumpy about here." After max Q the flight smoothed out. At two minutes and 14 seconds after launch, the booster engines dropped away. At two minutes and twenty-four seconds, the escape tower was jettisoned, right on schedule.
After the tower was jettisoned, the Atlas and spacecraft pitched over still further, giving Glenn his first view of the horizon. He described the view as "a beautiful sight, looking eastward across the Atlantic". Vibration increased as the
Guanahani is an island in the Bahamas, the first land in the New World sighted and visited by Christopher Columbus' first voyage, on October 12, 1492. It is not known which island it was, several theories have been put forth by historians. Guanahani is the native Taíno name. Upon his return to Spain in the spring of 1493, Columbus wrote a letter to Luis de Santangel, one of his patrons at the Spanish court; the letter was printed and translated into many languages, spreading the news of the discovery throughout Europe. In the letter, Columbus mentions Guanahani as the name of the first island he discovered, but provides no other details; this single mention in a printed letter would have been enough to make the name Guanahani known at an early date. Juan de la Cosa was owner and master of the Santa María and as such sailed with Columbus on the first voyage, he was a cartographer, in 1500 de la Cosa drew a map of the world, known as the earliest European map showing the New World. The Caribbean portion of the map shows Cuba and Hispaniola and a much more confused rendering of the Bahamas.
Guanahani is drawn in the Bahamas in a form that appears to show a group of islets rather than a single island, lying due north of the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti, in the central part of the Bahamas islands chain. The so-called log of Columbus, more properly referred to as the Diario, is an abstraction made by Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish monk and friend of the Columbus family sometime in the 1540s; when Columbus returned to Spain after the first voyage, he reported to the royal court at Barcelona and presented his original log to the Spanish sovereigns. Queen Isabella ordered; the original soon disappeared, but the so-called Barcelona copy was returned to Columbus prior to his second voyage and was in his possession at the time of his death in 1506. It passed to his son Fernando and remained in his vast library for many years. At some point, Las Casas got his hands on the Barcelona copy and made the abstraction we today call the Diario. Although most of the Diario is written in the third-person of Las Casas, nearly all of that portion dealing with Columbus' movements in the Bahamas is in the first person of Columbus himself, is a direct quote from the Barcelona copy.
The Barcelona copy disappeared late in the 16th century, but Las Casas' Diario was discovered intact in 1795 by Ferdinand de Navarette and published 30 years later. The Diario remains the most authoritative and detailed account of Columbus' movements and activities on the first voyage. In 1571, a biography of Christopher Columbus, written in Italian, was published in Venice; the book was a translation of a Spanish manuscript written by Columbus' second son, Fernando Colón, between 1537 and 1539. The Spanish manuscript was translated into Italian and published by Alfonso Ulloa, a Spaniard making his living in Venice as a professional translator, it is clear from the context that Fernando must have been working from the Barcelona copy when he wrote the portion of the biography describing the first voyage, as many details in the biography agree with the Diario. In that sense, the primary utility of the biography is as a validity check on the Diario, a test which vindicates Las Casas in many respects.
However, there are a few descriptions in the biography that are not in the Diario. Most the biography asserts that Guanahani was fifteen leagues long, which seems contrary to Columbus' implication in the Diario that he had seen the entire island on a single day's boat trip. Columbus calls the island "very flat and with green trees", true for all of the islands proposed by historians, his next statement is more problematic. He says Guanahani has "muchas aguas y una laguna en medio muy grande" – many waters and a laguna in the middle big; the word laguna creates many problems. It is uncertain whether it pond. In any case, most of the proposed islands have either a pond. On October 14, Columbus made a boat trip to "the other part, the eastern part" of Guanahani. Therefore, he went the length of the island in a north-northeast direction; this is possible only at Plana Cays and Egg, to a minor extent at Samana Cay. Columbus noticed a reef that surrounded the island. All proposed islands have a reef, but the ones on Cat and Watlings do not surround the island.
Between the reef and the island was a harbor "large enough to store all ships of Christendom." This could have been an exaggeration. The harbor on Egg is too small, although it is appropriate for the impressive harbor at the neighboring islet of Royal Island, which could have been considered part of the same larger island he named "San Salvador". Columbus went on land and saw "a piece of land, that looked like an island, but wasn't one." This is difficult to track. One question in dispute is whether Guanahani was more than one. Evidence is said to be inconclusive. Columbus never says that Guanahani consisted of more than one island, something, worth noting, but he does say that Guanahani had "another part, the eastern part". On reproductions of the map by Juan de la Cosa, with Columbus, Guanahani looks to some researchers like a string of small islands; the first way to locate Guanahani is to
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands and the location of the territory's capital, George Town. In relation to the other two Cayman Islands, it is 75 miles southwest of Little Cayman and 90 miles southwest of Cayman Brac. Grand Cayman encompasses 76% of the territory's entire land mass; the island is 22 miles long with its widest point being 8 miles wide. The elevation ranges from sea level at the beaches to 60 feet above sea level on the North Side's Mastic Trail. Grand Cayman Island includes five of the six districts of the Cayman Islands: Bodden Town, East End, George Town, North Side, West Bay. Bodden Town – Founded in the 1700s, Bodden Town district comprises the central part of Grand Cayman Island, between the George Town and North Side districts; the village of Bodden Town was the original capital of the Cayman Islands. Its population is listed at 5,764. East End – The East End district is located at the east side of Grand Cayman Island and consists of the Village of East End, numerous natural attractions and accommodations.
Its population is listed at 1,371. George Town – The capital of the Cayman Islands and world-famous centre for offshore banking and investments, its population is listed at 20,676. North Side – Includes Kaibo, Rum Point, Breakers, its population is listed at 1,079. Sand Point Cove in Rum Point is home to a Bioluminescent Bio Bay. West Bay – Has numerous tourist attractions including the Cayman Turtle Farm and the Cayman Motor Museum. Towns in the West Bay district include Seven Mile Beach and West Bay Village, its population is listed at 8,243. The remaining district is Sister Islands, which consists of the islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, its population is listed at 1,937. Of the flora, a good representation of the variety of plant life on Grand Cayman can be found at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park located in the North Side District. Wild banana orchids, ghost orchids, thatch palm trees, red birch trees, mahogany trees and various fruit trees such as avocado, guinep, naseberry and tamarind.
Yellow mastics and black mastics are seen in the park, as well as on the 2 miles -long Mastic Trail. Elsewhere outside the park, all of these species can be seen around Grand Cayman, including coconut palm, Casuarina pine and poinciana trees. Fauna seen in various locations around the island include blue iguanas, Grand Cayman amazon parrots, Central American agouti, Gecarcinus ruricola, a species of land crab; the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm located in the West Bay district raises green sea turtles for their meat and to release into the wild. Through breeding, the farm produces upwards of 1800 turtles a year. Between 1980 and 2006, the farm released 30,600 turtles to the wild. There are four endemic snake species on two invasive species, they are all harmless and the largest is the seen invasive corn snake, which may grow to about 5 feet. The smallest averages 2-4 inches and is the invasive brahminy blind snake, rarely seen; the most common is the endemic Cayman racer snake. It can grow to 5 feet, but 3-foot specimens are much more common.
These snakes tend to race away if encountered and in rare cases will rear-up in a threatening manner if cornered. The Cayman racer snake carries a mild venom which it uses to immobilise prey, but in large enough doses it can cause significant swelling and bruising if it latches on for an extended period. A simple bite and release does not cause any reaction in humans; the other three endemic snake species are the Cayman ground boa, Cayman blind snake and Cayman water snake. Of the three islands, Grand Cayman contains 95% of the territory's entire population. There are just under 600 banks and trust companies in the Grand Cayman, including 43 of the 50 largest banks in the world; because of this large financial presence on the island, banking and insurance drive the economy in Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman Island has a number of natural attractions: the blow holes in the East End district, the Mastic Trail that runs north to south through the center of the island, Hell in the West Bay, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
Watersports such as scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities on Grand Cayman as the island is known for its coral reefs and underwater sea walls along with a number of shipwrecks. Because of its clubs and hotels, Seven Mile Beach has the largest concentration of visitors and tourists on the island. Owen Roberts International Airport serves Grand Cayman with international flights. Cayman Airways has its headquarters on Grand Cayman. Electrical service for Grand Cayman is provided by Caribbean Utilities Company Ltd. with its corporate headquarters located on North Sound Road. Electricity on Grand Cayman runs on a 120/240 volt electricity system with electrical outlets designed to accommodate a three-pin American plug. Grand Cayman residents have a choice of telecommunications services from C3, Digicel, FLOW, Logic; the Cayman Islands Education Department operates government schools. John Gray High School Clifton Hunter High School Bodden Town Primary School John A. Cumber Primary School East End Primary School George Town Primary School North Side Primary School Prospect Primary School Red Bay Primary School Savannah Primary School Cayman Academy Cayman International School Cayman Prep an
Voyages of Christopher Columbus
In 1492, a Spanish-based transatlantic maritime expedition led by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus encountered the Americas, continents which were unknown in Europe and were outside the Old World political and economic system. The four voyages of Columbus began the Spanish colonization of the Americas. For a long time it was believed that Columbus and his crew had been the first Europeans to make landfall in the Americas. In fact they were not the first explorers from Europe to reach the Americas, having been preceded by the Viking expedition led by Leif Erikson in the 11th century. Columbus was an Italian-born navigator sailing for the Crown of Castile in search of a westward route to Asia, to access the sources of spices and other oriental goods; this failed when he encountered the New World between Asia. Columbus made a total of four voyages to the Americas between 1492 and 1502, setting the stage for the European exploration and colonization of the Americas leading to the Columbian Exchange.
At the time of the Columbus voyages, the Americas were inhabited by the Indigenous Americans, the descendants of Paleo-Indians who crossed Beringia from Asia to North America beginning around 20,000 years ago. Columbus's voyages led to the widespread knowledge that a continent existed west of Europe and east of Asia; this breakthrough in geographical science led to the exploration and colonization of the New World by Spain and other European sea powers, is sometimes cited as the start of the modern era. Spain and other European kingdoms sent expeditions and established colonies throughout the New World, converted the native inhabitants to Christianity, built large trade networks across the Atlantic, which introduced new plants and food crops to both continents; the search for a westward route to Asia continued in 1513 when Vasco Nuñez de Balboa crossed the narrow Isthmus of Panama to become the first European to sight the Pacific Ocean. The search was completed in 1521, when the Castilian Magellan expedition sailed across the Pacific and reached Southeast Asia.
Portugal had been the main European power interested in pursuing trade routes overseas. Their next-door neighbors, Castile had been somewhat slower to begin exploring the Atlantic because of the bigger land area it had to re-conquer from the Moors, it was not until the late 15th century, following the dynastic union of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon and the completion of the Reconquista, that the unified crowns of what would become Spain emerged and became committed to looking for new trade routes and colonies overseas. In 1492 the joint rulers conquered the Moorish kingdom of Granada, providing Castile with African goods through tribute. Columbus had failed to convince King John II of Portugal to fund his exploration of a western route, but the new king and queen of the re-conquered Spain decided to fund Columbus's expedition in hopes of bypassing Portugal's lock on Africa and the Indian Ocean, reaching Asia by traveling west, he proposed the king equip three sturdy ships and grant Columbus one year's time to sail out west into the Atlantic, search for a western route to India, return.
Columbus requested he be made "Great Admiral of the Ocean Sea", appointed governor of any and all lands he discovered, be given one-tenth of all revenue from those lands. The king submitted the proposal to his experts, it was their considered opinion that Columbus's estimation of a travel distance of 2,400 miles was, in fact, far too short. In 1488 Columbus appealed to the court of Portugal, receiving a new invitation for an audience with King John II; this proved unsuccessful, in part because not long afterwards Bartolomeu Dias returned to Portugal following a successful rounding of the southern tip of Africa. With an eastern sea route now under its control, Portugal was no longer interested in trailblazing a western trade route to Asia crossing unknown seas. Columbus traveled from Portugal to Castile to convince the Catholic Monarchs of Castile and Aragon to finance the expedition. King Ferdinand II of Aragon married Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1469, uniting the two largest kingdoms into what would be the Spanish Crown.
They were known jointly as the Catholic Monarchs, ruled their kingdoms independently, but had common internal and foreign policies. Columbus was granted an audience with them, they pronounced the idea impractical, advised the monarchs not to support the proposed venture. However, to expand the Spanish empire and Catholicism in the name of Spanish Kings, to assure a better market position in trading, the Queen gave Columbus an annual allowance of 12,000 maravedis and part of the newly conquered lands. After continually lobbying at the royal court and enduring two years of negotiations, Columbus succeeded in January 1492. Queen Isabella's forces had just conquered the Moorish Emirate of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold of Al-Andalus on the Iberian peninsula, for Castile. Isabella and Ferdinand received Columbus in the Alcázar in Córdoba to support his plans; the monarchs left it to the royal treasurer to shift funds among various royal accounts on behalf of the enterprise. Columbus was to be would receive a portion of all profits.
The terms were unusually generous but, as his son
Martín Alonso Pinzón
Martín Alonso Pinzón, was a Spanish mariner, shipbuilder and explorer, oldest of the Pinzón brothers. He sailed with Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the New World in 1492, as captain of the Pinta, his youngest brother Vicente Yáñez Pinzón was captain of the Niña, the middle brother Francisco Martín Pinzón was maestre of the Pinta. The Pinzón family was among the leading families of Palos de la Frontera in the late 15th century. There are several conflicting theories of their name, his grandfather was a diver known as Martín. His father was a sailor named Martín Pinzón. Born in Palos around 1441, it appears that at quite a young age Pinzón shipped out on a locally based caravel as a grumete, his home, now the Casa Museo de Martín Alonso Pinzón, was on the old royal road to the Monastery of La Rábida. Martín's family contracted a marriage with a resident of the locality named María Álvarez, they had five children: two boys—Arias Pérez and Juan, who participated in several expeditions to the Americas—and three girls—Mayor and Leonor.
Leonor, the youngest, suffered frequent attacks of what was called "gota coral" and would now be called epilepsy. A French tradition holds that Alonso Pinzón sailed to the New World with the navigator Jean Cousin, that together they discovered the continent in 1488, four years before Colombus. Back in Dieppe, Pinzón left Cousin in a dispute, is claimed to have left for Spain, from where he advised Columbus on his westward sail. Pinzon is known to have displayed a remarkable confidence in guiding Columbus in his discovery of the New World. No indisputable written records remain, however, his nautical experience and his leadership remained patent in the 1508–1536 lawsuits known as the pleitos colombinos, where the witnesses indicated him as the leader of the comarca. He was famous for his battles against the Portuguese in the War of the Castilian Succession, it is probable that while in Portugal before coming to Spain, Columbus was aware of Martín Alonso, because he was known for his participation in the war, as well as for his incursions into the Afro-Atlantic waters in the wake of the Portuguese, traveling to the Canary Islands and Guinea, with their rich fisheries and the commercial possibility of trade in gold and slaves.
On 23 May 1492 a royal provision was read out to the residents of Palos, by which the Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand ordered that certain residents deliver two caravels to Columbus and travel with him on his voyage that he was making "by command of Their Highnesses" and that the town should respect the royal decision. The locals did not comply; the sailors of Palos had no confidence in embarking on this adventure with Columbus, unknown to them. Independent of their greater or lesser credence in his ideas, the men of Palos found it difficult to support the Genovese sailor if he was not accompanied by a mariner known and respected in the town; the venture—risky and, above all, of uncertain profit—did not present great attractions. Opposition or indifference to Columbus's project was general. At about this time, Pinzón returned from a routine commercial voyage to Rome; the Franciscans of the Monastery of La Rábida put Columbus in touch with Pinzón. Pinzón's friend Pero Vázquez de la Frontera, a respected old mariner in the town had an important influence on Pinzón deciding to support the undertaking, not only morally but economically.
There is no record of any written agreement between Columbus and Pinzón, the terms of any agreement are lost to history. However, we do have the testimony of some witnesses. According to Fernández Duro, de las Casas says Columbus offered Pinzón equal honors in the voyage and half the profits, Diego Pinzón Colmenero testified the same in the pleitos colombinos; as a strong sign of his commitment to Columbus's plan, Pinzón put up half a million maravedís in coin toward the cost of the voyage, half of the amount, put up by the monarchy. Thanks to his prestige as a shipowner and expert sailor and his fame throughout the Tinto-Odiel region, he was able to enlist an appropriate crew. Signing on, he dismissed the vessels that Columbus had seized based on the royal order and dismissed the men he had enrolled, supplying the enterprise with two caravels of his own, the Pinta and the Niña, which he knew from his own experience would be better and more suitable boats. Furthermore, he traveled through Palos and Huelva, convincing his relatives and friends to enlist, composing of them the best crew possible.
According to testimony in the pleitos colombinos, he "brought such diligence to secure and animate the people as if what were discovered were for him and his sons." Among those he recruited were the Niño brothers from Moguer. At this time, Pinzón and Columbus seemed quite close. In the pleitos colombinos, witness Alonso Gallego from Huelva remembered hearing Columbus say, "Mister Martín Alonso Pinzón, we are going on this voyage which, if we go on with it and God reveals new lands to us, I promise by the Royal Crown to treat you as a brother." On 3 August 1492, the Santa María, Niña left Palos on their voyage