Tag Archives: Spain

Next time Nonna makes big sauce, thank Columbus

The thing about Christopher Columbus: he was the European navigator who discovered the New World, but it’s not clear that he knew he discovered the New World. At least, it must have been nearly impossible to recognize how big North and South America are. It looks like he may not have gotten as far north as Florida.

Christopher Columbus made four trips to the New World. His voyages were the beginning of what we call the Age of Exploration. European traders started asking, “What if the New World has even more or better stuff than China?” The New World had never-seen-before fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, pineapples, peppers, pumpkins—and a new kind of poultry, the turkey. Chocolate and tobacco came from the New World. Europe wanted these new products as much as they’d wanted Chinese silk and spice. Remember that Columbus was sponsored by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Spain became a major world power through her new source of trade. The Ottoman Empire no longer held all the cards.

http://thecolumbuseffect.blogspot.com/p/short-term-effects.html
https://www.ducksters.com/biography/explorers/christopher_columbus.php

Sailing the ocean blue

As you know if you’ve been loyally reading this blog, silk and spices from Asia had become big business in Europe. European merchants who wanted to trade in the far East were finding overland routes through the MidEast and Asia too dangerous, or taxed to unprofitability, or closed off completely by the Ottoman Empire. In fact, the Ottomans were doing their best to expand their empire to include Europe.

The Venetians had a monopoly on the sea-routes that they protected with their navy. Other European cities who wanted to do business with the far East were shut out. They had compasses and maps and ships but had no way to get to the East.

Or did they?

Christopher Columbus was a sailor, chartmaker and trader from Genoa, Italy. He’d done some trading along the west coast of Africa. Columbus had studied Eratosthenes and reasoned that if Earth were round, he could travel west to reach the far East. To do that, he needed ships, money and royal patronage—the blessing of a king or queen.

King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I ruled the cities of Aragon, Castile, and Leon in Spain. Spain had been part of the sultanate, the Ottoman Empire, for nearly eight centuries. Ferdinand and Isabella wanted to reassert Christian control over their country—they had succeeded with military force early in 1492 at the Battle of Granada. Another way to take control might be to open up trade with the far East by working around the Ottomans. After a few interviews, Columbus persuaded Ferdinand and Isabella that he could take the back way around the globe to reach the East.

They finally gave him the green light and in ad 1492 Christopher Columbus began his voyage to the East Indies with the ships Nina, Pinta & Santa Maria.

The lovely little caravel—a Portuguese-designed ship like the ones Columbus used on his voyage

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Christopher-Columbus
https://www.britannica.com/place/Spain/The-conquest-of-Granada
https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Fall_of_Granada
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravel

If you like your history served with gorgeous illustrations, get your hands on Bjorn Langstrom’s book about Columbus. Mr Langstrom has written and illustrated 3 books about ships that I know of. See if your library has this one.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Time & Space

Funeral for el Señor

A sketch of the funeral procession from Señor Don Gato.  I drew this in 2002, and it was the first time my illustrations looked painterly rather than cartoony.  I consciously mimicked Diego Velasquez for this project.  You’ll notice that in the sketch I amateurishly put interesting details in the gutter—the vertical strip in the center where the 2 pages meet—which had to be moved to one side in the painting.

Another Señor Don Gato post here.

Here are odds and ends from the reference file I amassed for this project. I liked the banner in the Goya painting and adapted it for this scene.

FESTIVALS & RITUALS OF SPAIN Cristina Garcia Rodero

RECIPES FROM A SPANISH VILLAGE Pepita Aris