A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 756 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03.

Columbus, whom the Spaniards call Colon, to adapt his name to their language, was born in Genoa, his fathers name being Dominick.  As to the original of his family, some derive it from Placentia, others from Cucureo, a town on the coast near that city, others from the lords of the castle of Cucaro, in Montferrat, near Alexandria de la Pagla.  In 940, the Emperor Otho II. confirmed to the brothers and earls, Peter, John, and Alexander Columbus, the real and feudal estates which they possessed in the liberties of the cities of Aqui, Savona, Asti, Montferrat, Turin, Vercelli, Parma, Cremona, and Bergamo, with all the rest they held in Italy.  By other records, it appears that the Columbi of Cucaro, Cucureo, and Placentia, were the same; and that the before-mentioned emperor granted, in the same year 940, to the same three brothers, the castles of Cucaro, Cowzana, Rosignano, and others, with the fourth part of Bistagno, which belonged to the empire.  This sufficiently demonstrates the antiquity and importance of the family.  When very young, Christopher Columbus came into Spain, or Portugal rather, to seek his fortune like other men.  He there married Donna Philippa Moniz de Perestrello, by whom he had one son, Don James Columbus; and afterwards, by a second wife, Donna Beatrix Henriquez of the city of Cordova, he had another son, Don Ferdinand Columbus, a gentleman excellently qualified and well learned.

Being entirely convinced that there were new lands to discover, which he had been long revolving in his mind, he at length determined to attempt carrying his design into execution; but knowing that such an undertaking was fit only for some sovereign prince or state, he made the proposal, in the first place, to the republic of Genoa, where it was looked upon as a chimera.  He then communicated his design to John II. of Portugal, who gave him a favourable hearing, but was so much occupied with the discoveries along the western coast of Africa, that he was unwilling to engage in another enterprize of so much importance.  King John, however, referred the matter to three persons on whom he placed great reliance in matters relating to cosmography and discovery; one of these was Don James Ortez, bishop of Ceuta who was a Spaniard, born at Calzadilla in the commandary of St Jago, and commonly called the Doctor Calzadilla; the other two were Roderick and Joseph, two Jewish physicians.  These persons pretended to consider the design of Columbus as wild and impracticable; yet, after hearing his reasonings, and an account of the course he proposed to steer, they advised the king to send out a caravel upon the discovery, giving out that it was destined for Cabo Verde.  This was done accordingly, and the vessel went many leagues to the westwards; but, encountering severe storms, it returned without effecting any discovery, and holding out the notions of Columbus to ridicule.  He, not ignorant of this underhand dealing, was much offended, and his wife being dead, he took a great

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