On This Date 525 Years Ago…

An occasional blog—with “Dates” based on the Julian calendar used by Europeans in 1492.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, February 22, 1493

On February 19, Columbus dispatched half his crew ashore at Santa María, Azores, to fulfill a vow made during the storm for a pilgrimage—barefoot and without pants—to the first church they found dedicated to the Virgin Mary. But the locals, subjects of Portugal’s King...

read more

Monday, February 18, 1493

After three perilous days, the violent storm began to abate on February 15. But the sea remained rough and, now alone, the Niña struggled for two days to make landfall on the southernmost island of the Azores, Santa María. After sunset on the 17th, Columbus anchored...

read more

Tuesday, February 12, 1493

The Niña and Pinta were engulfed by a “perfect storm”—multiple violent storm fronts colliding from different directions—that began on February 12 and continued for three days. The ships were separated, the men on both nearly perished, and the world-changing event of...

read more

Sunday, February 10, 1493

After departing the Samaná peninsula, Columbus drafted two letters about the voyage, likely completing them before the Niña and Pinta were engulfed by a violent storm on February 12, 1493. The first is known as the “Letter to Santángel,” written to King Ferdinand’s...

read more

Sunday, February 3, 1493

At about N35⁰ W50⁰, Columbus reckoned that the North Star was as high in the sky as it appeared off Cape St. Vincent, Portugal (N 37⁰), indicating to him that he had sailed northeast from the Indies to approach the Azores (N 37-40⁰) from the southwest. What was his...

read more

Friday, January 25, 1493

At about N 28⁰ W 60⁰, Columbus recorded in the Journal that they had caught a porpoise and a large shark, which he said was very welcome, because they had nothing left to eat but bread, wine, and “peppers from the Indies.” The bread included cazabi (a toast made from...

read more

Tuesday, January 22, 1493

Sailing northeast in the Atlantic, the Niña and Pinta were becalmed at about N 26⁰ W 63⁰, having coursed over five hundred miles from their last anchorage off the Samaná peninsula (Dominican Republic). Columbus was aboard the Niña, together with about two dozen...

read more

Wednesday, January 16, 1493

Columbus interpreted conversations with Samanáns aboard the Niña as indicating that islands named Matininó and Carib lay to the east and that Matininó was inhabited only by women and Carib only by men. The Tainos’ oral history included an ancestral hero, Guahayona,...

read more

Sunday, January 13, 1493

The ships continued east offshore the Samaná Peninsula of the Dominican Republic, home to the Ciguayan people, and anchored there. A combat hostility occurred on January 13. Columbus had dispatched armed sailors to trade. The Ciguayans also were armed and fears and...

read more

Friday, January 11, 1493

I suspect Columbus drew his famous sketch of Española’s northwestern coast on or about January 11, 1493, when the Niña would have progressed to the point where the map’s coastline ends in the east. The original sketch has been in the collection of the Duques de...

read more