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10 Things Christopher Columbus Would Have Tweeted
Christopher Columbus was born into a respectable, middle-class family in Genoa, Italy in 1451. His search for a route to Asia led to the accidental discovery of the Americas; though he wasn’t the first European to make landfall on the American continent, he was instrumental in the European colonization. If Christopher Columbus had been able to use social networking sites like Twitter through his seafaring career, these might be some of the things he would have tweeted.
- “Today I boarded a ship bound for Khios in the #AegeanSea. My career as a sailor has begun.” – Christopher Columbus began his seafaring career as a sailor on a ship bound for the island of Khios in 1474. In an ironic twist, this first journey would take him closer to Asia than any other he would embark upon in his life.
- “I’ve reached #Lisbon after being shipwrecked off the Portuguese shore.” – After an attack by French privateers decimated the ship intended to carry Columbus to England, was forced to swim six miles to shore. He recuperated in Lagos before traveling to Lisbon to find the sizable Genoese merchant community there in 1476.
- “@BartholomewColumbus and I have been working as draftsmen in Lisbon. I feel the urge to go back to #sea.” – Columbus spent the greater part of 1477 in Lisbon, working with his brother Bartholomew as book collectors and draftsmen. By the end of the year, he was installed on a cargo-laden ship headed for the ports of the northern Atlantic.
- “Today @FelipaMoniz and I married. We shall journey to #PortoSanto as man and wife.” – Columbus married Felipa Perestrello e Moniz around 1479. They accompanied her family to Porto Santo, an island of the northwestern coast of Africa where they briefly stayed before moving to Madeira after the birth of their son Diego. Felipa is believed to have died soon after Diego’s birth.
- “After sailing to #Elmina, I’ve learned of a rapidly moving current west of the Islands.” – Elmina, a Portuguese fortress in present-day Ghana, presented Columbus with the opportunity to study what would be later known as the Canaries Current. This knowledge was very possibly the reason that he would later choose to begin his Atlantic crossing in the Canaries latitude.
- “Today I approach the throne of @KingJohnII for support for a voyage to the #Indies.” – With the connection his marriage into Portuguese nobility provided and the well-known aspirations of King John II to establish a route to Asia, Columbus approached the king for patronage in 1484. His request was denied.
- “Diego and I depart for #Spain today; perhaps the Spanish Crown will lend me support.” – After the Portuguese king denied Columbus’ petition, he relocated to Spain with the sole intention of sharing his plan with King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I. His first attempt to secure their patronage was also denied.
- “@BeatrizDeArana and I welcomed a son, Ferdinand, into our family.” – Though they never married, the affair between Columbus and orphan Beatriz Enriquez de Arana was the bright spot in an otherwise dark period in the explorer’s life. The result of their union, Ferdinand, would later accompany Columbus on his last journey to the Americas.
- “I will once again appeal to the #SpanishMonarchs for their support. I will not rest until my request is granted.” – After lengthy negotiations that spanned several weeks, the King Ferdinand finally consented to lend his support to Columbus. In April of 1492, Christopher Columbus departed for Palos de la Frontera to take possession of three ships.
- “We made landfall and claimed the land for #Spain after making contact with natives.” – After a grueling 36 day journey, Columbus and his crew set food on the shore of the land he called San Salvador. Historians disagree on the exact location of the island he renamed, but most favor either Watling Island or Samana Cay. In honor of the discovery, Watling Island would once again be renamed in 1926; it is now known as San Salvador.
Access to social networking and modern communications might have made it easier for Columbus to secure the patronage that he needed for his journey; of course, that access would have also helped him to find the Asian passage he was seeking in the first place.
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