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Correct, but almost certainly another lucky guess says Van Duzer, as no other known map of the time shows Japan unambiguously oriented this way. The map is roughly 3. Over time, much of the text had faded to almost perfectly match the background, making it impossible to read. But in Van Duzer won a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that allowed him and a team of collaborators to use a technique called multispectral imaging to try to uncover the hidden text.

Many of the map legends describe the regions of the world and their inhabitants. The most surprising revelation, however, was in the interior of Africa, Van Duzer says. Martellus included many details and place names that appear to trace back to an Ethiopian delegation that visited Florence in Van Duzer says he knows of no other 15th-century European map that has this much information about the geography of Africa, let alone information derived from native Africans instead of European explorers. Waldseemuller liberally copied text from Martellus, Van Duzer found after comparing the two maps.

The practice was common in those days—in fact, Martellus himself apparently copied the sea monsters on his map from an encyclopedia published in , an observation that helps date the map.

Christopher Columbus

Despite their commonalities, the maps by Martellus and Waldseemuller have one glaring difference. Martellus depicts Europe and Africa nearly at the left edge of his map, with only water beyond. Only 16 years had passed between the making of the two maps, but the world had changed forever. Bobadilla, who ruled as governor from until his death in a storm in , had also been tasked by the Court with investigating the accusations of brutality made against Columbus.

Arriving in Santo Domingo while Columbus was away during the explorations of his third voyage , Bobadilla was immediately met with complaints about all three Columbus brothers: Christopher, Bartolomeo, and Diego. Bobadilla reported to Spain that Columbus regularly used torture and mutilation to govern Hispaniola. The page report, found in in the national archive in the Spanish city of Simancas , contains testimonies from 23 people, including both enemies and supporters of Columbus, about the treatment of colonial subjects by Columbus and his brothers during his seven-year rule.

According to the report, Columbus once punished a man found guilty of stealing corn by having his ears and nose cut off and then selling him into slavery. Testimony recorded in the report stated that Columbus congratulated his brother Bartolomeo on "defending the family" when the latter ordered a woman paraded naked through the streets and then had her tongue cut out for suggesting that Columbus was of lowly birth.


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Because of their gross misgovernance, Columbus and his brothers were arrested and imprisoned upon their return to Spain from the third voyage. They lingered in jail for six weeks before King Ferdinand ordered their release. Not long after, the king and queen summoned the Columbus brothers to the Alhambra palace in Granada.

There, the royal couple heard the brothers' pleas; restored their freedom and wealth; and, after much persuasion, agreed to fund Columbus's fourth voyage. But the door was firmly shut on Columbus's role as governor. Columbus had always claimed the conversion of non-believers as one reason for his explorations, but he grew increasingly religious in his later years. Probably with the assistance of his son Diego and his friend the Carthusian monk Gaspar Gorricio, Columbus produced two books during his later years: a Book of Privileges , detailing and documenting the rewards from the Spanish Crown to which he believed he and his heirs were entitled, and a Book of Prophecies , in which he considered his achievements as an explorer but a fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the context of Christian eschatology.

In his later years, Columbus demanded that the Spanish Crown give him 10 percent of all profits made in the new lands, as stipulated in the Capitulations of Santa Fe. Because he had been relieved of his duties as governor, the crown did not feel bound by that contract and his demands were rejected. After his death, his heirs sued the Crown for a part of the profits from trade with America, as well as other rewards.


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This led to a protracted series of legal disputes known as the pleitos colombinos "Columbian lawsuits". During a violent storm on his first return voyage, Columbus, then 41, suffered an attack of what was believed at the time to be gout. In subsequent years, he was plagued with what was thought to be influenza and other fevers, bleeding from the eyes, temporary blindness and prolonged attacks of gout. The suspected attacks increased in duration and severity, sometimes leaving Columbus bedridden for months at a time, and culminated in his death 14 years later.

Based on Columbus's lifestyle and the described symptoms, modern doctors suspect that he suffered from reactive arthritis , rather than gout. Frank C. Arnett, a rheumatologist and professor of internal medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

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On 20 May , aged probably 54, Columbus died in Valladolid , Spain. In , the remains were transferred to Colonial Santo Domingo , in the present-day Dominican Republic. In , when France took over the entire island of Hispaniola , Columbus's remains were moved to Havana , Cuba. After Cuba became independent following the Spanish—American War in , the remains were moved back to Spain, to the Cathedral of Seville , [] where they were placed on an elaborate catafalque. However, a lead box bearing an inscription identifying "Don Christopher Columbus" and containing bone fragments and a bullet was discovered at Santo Domingo in Initial observations suggested that the bones did not appear to belong to somebody with the physique or age at death associated with Columbus.

The mitochondrial DNA fragments matched corresponding DNA from Columbus's brother, giving support that both individuals had shared the same mother. Such evidence, together with anthropologic and historic analyses, led the researchers to conclude that the remains found in Seville belonged to Christopher Columbus. The anniversary of Columbus's landing in the Americas is usually observed on 12 October in Spain and throughout the Americas, except Canada.

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Historically, the English had downplayed Columbus and emphasized the role of the Venetian John Cabot as a pioneer explorer, but for the emerging United States, Cabot made for a poor national hero. Veneration of Columbus in America dates back to colonial times. The name Columbia for "America" first appeared in a weekly publication of the debates of the British Parliament. Columbus's name was given to the federal capital of the United States District of Columbia , the capital cities of two U.

Outside the United States the name was used in for the Gran Colombia , a precursor of the modern Republic of Colombia. A candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church in , celebration of Columbus's legacy perhaps reached a zenith in with the th anniversary of his first arrival in the Americas. The World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, , commemorated the th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. The United States Postal Service participated in the celebration issuing the first US commemorative postage stamps , a series of 16 postage issues called the Columbian Issue depicting Columbus, Queen Isabella and others in the various stages of his several voyages.

The issues range in value from the 1-cent to the 5-dollar denominations. Wanamaker originally introduced the idea of issuing the nation's first commemorative stamp to Harrison, the Congress and the U. Post Office. A total of two billion stamps were issued for all the Columbian denominations, and 72 percent of these were the two-cent stamps, "Landing of Columbus", which paid the first-class rate for domestic mail at the time. In , a second Columbian issue was released that was identical to the first to commemorate the th anniversary, except for the date in the upper right hand corner of each stamp.

These issues were made from the original dies of which the first engraved issues of were produced. The United States issued the series jointly for the first time with three other countries, Italy in lire, Portugal in escudos and Spain in pesetas. In , descendants of Columbus undertook to dismantle the Columbus family chapel in Spain and move it to Boalsburg near State College , Pennsylvania, where it may now be visited by the public.

Columbus's voyages are considered some of the most important events in world history, kickstarting modern globalism and resulting in major demographic, commercial, economic, social, and political changes.

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There was a massive exchange of animals, plants, fungi, diseases, technologies, mineral wealth and ideas. Though Christopher Columbus came to be considered the discoverer of America in US and European popular culture, his historical legacy is more nuanced. America had been discovered and populated by its indigenous population. Columbus was not even the first European to reach its shores, having been preceded by Erik the Red in 10th-century Greenland and Leif Erikson in 11th-century Vinland at L'Anse aux Meadows. Thus, Columbus was able to initiate the enduring association between the Earth's two major landmasses and their inhabitants.

Historians have traditionally argued that Columbus remained convinced to the very end that his journeys had been along the east coast of Asia, [] but writer Kirkpatrick Sale argues that a document in the Book of Privileges indicates Columbus knew he found a new continent. The term " pre-Columbian " is usually used to refer to the peoples and cultures of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus and his European successors.

Columbus is often credited with refuting a prevalent belief in a flat Earth. However, this legacy is a popular misconception. To the contrary, the spherical shape of the Earth had been known to scholars since antiquity , and was common knowledge among sailors.

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Coincidentally, the oldest surviving globe of the Earth, the Erdapfel , was made in , just before Columbus's return to Europe. As such it contains no sign of the Americas and yet demonstrates the common belief in a spherical Earth. The scholar Amerigo Vespucci , who sailed to America in the years following Columbus's first voyage, was the first to speculate that the land was not part of Asia but in fact constituted some wholly new continent previously unknown to Eurasians. According to Paul Lunde, "The preoccupation of European courts with the rise of the Ottoman Turks in the East partly explains their relative lack of interest in Columbus's discoveries in the West.

Since the late 20th century, historians have criticized Columbus for initiating colonization and for abuse of natives. Columbus required the natives to pay tribute in gold and cotton.


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