1492 from a Bicultural Perspective

Encounters Unforeseen was published in 2017, during the 525th anniversary of the first
encounters between Columbus and Native Americans. Andrew’s blogs posted in 2017 and 2018
to recount what happened on the same dates in 1492 and 1493 are archived below, reordered
chronologically. The archive also includes the sketches of the book’s protagonists and some
additional photos and commentary that Andrew concurrently posted on Facebook. Dates are
based on the Julian calendar used by Europeans in 1492.

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Tuesday, November 20, 1492

Columbus again attempts to sail to Baneque but is impeded by contrary winds. He considers sailing north to Lucayan islands previously visited but fears the Guanahanían captives would jump ship given the proximity to their homeland. The ships withdraw to Cuba.

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Wednesday, November 21, 1492

The ships attempted to sail to Baneque for the third time. After nightfall, Columbus again determined that the wind and seas were too contrary to reach it. But Martín Alonso Pinzón believed otherwise and, while the Santa María and Niña returned to Cuba, the Pinta...

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Friday, November 23, 1492

Columbus believed the Guanahanían captives aboard theSanta María feared cannibals on Haiti. At this time, he doubts cannibalism exists, reasoning in the Journal that some of the peoples the voyage had encountered similarly believed Columbus and his men were cannibals.

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Tuesday, November 27, 1492

The Santa María and Niña entered a Cuban harbor to explore and, ashore, the locals shouted, raised their spears, and gestured that the visitors should depart. Columbus dispatched armed sailors to try to establish relations but the locals fled. That night, Columbus...

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Thursday, November 29, 1492

Inclement weather forced Columbus to anchor offshore at modern Baracoa, Cuba, for a week, commencing November 27. On the 29th, sailors explored nearby villages, and, when the locals fled, investigated deserted bohíos (homes, as shown on this website’s Contact page) to...

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Monday, December 3, 1492

Still at modern Baracoa, Columbus, a Guanahanían captive, and armed sailors row up a river in the Santa María’s launch and disembark to explore. When they return to the launch, Cuban villagers surrounded them, waving spears and shouting. The Guanahanían captive sees...

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Friday, December 7, 1492

Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand had taken their court to Barcelona for the winter. They regularly held audiences to hear grievances and resolve criminal and civil cases of their common subjects and, at noon, Ferdinand finished an audience at the Casa de Deputacion....

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Sunday, December 9, 1492

On December 7, the Santa María and Niña began sailing east along the Taíno Haiti’s northern coast. In his Journal, Columbus compared Haiti’s farmlands, mountains, valleys, weather, fish, plants, and birds to those of Castile. Columbus concluded Haiti was suited to...

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Wednesday, December 12, 1492

As Columbus continued along Haiti’s northern coast, local Taínos fled from encounters, precluding his trading for gold or locating its source. Frustrated, Columbus ordered sailors ashore to capture an inhabitant to whom he could confer courtesies and gifts to...

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