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tv   [untitled]    May 13, 2012 1:30pm-2:00pm EDT

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they were right. they were right. the experts in portugal and spain were right. you have made the earth too small. nonetheless, for spain there is something in it for them here because if they can out maneuver the portuguese rivals and get to the east, that's something they're very interested in. however, at this particular moment, 1491, 1492, when the spanish have something else that is consuming them at this particular moment. king ferdinand, queen isabella are concerned about what in 1492. >> the morse. >> the morse. think about this, spain has been at war with the moors for hundreds of years, hundreds of years. as you know, the moors conquered the iberian peninsula and then gradually, various christian
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kingdoms, multiple kingdoms gradually pushes the moores back and back and back until by the late 15th century, 1492, the moores are confined to only one kingdom in the south of spain, grenada. this is the end of the reconquista, the reconquering, the end of a centuries long struggle, so the spanish crown want to finish this story. they need to finish this. so they tell columbus, brother, the moment is not propitious, not saying no, the moment is not propitious. then what happens? >> he is back on the drawing board. >> not columbus.
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what happens in spain? >> in spain? >> in 1492. >> they finally conquer the iberian peninsula. >> yeah, the fall of grenada. marks the end of this centuries, centuries long struggle. so here is spain now sort of riding high and we conquer the iberian peninsula and this strong sense and urge, missionary zeal, this militant catholicism so infused this country, so the opportunity to thrust out to get to china, the sort of thing that columbus offers is very attractive. it fits into the psyche of the nation at that time. also fits into the political strategic motives here of euro ferdinand and isabella vis-a-vis the portuguese rivals. if they can find a route to the east that we can dominate, good news. so columbus is called back. i love this painting.
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isabella looks somewhat disinterested in all of this. looks like she is half asleep. ferdinand looks like he is looking at the ceiling. here is columbus making his pitch. ferdinand and isabella agree to support his venture. she didn't have to pawn her jewels. okay. queen isabella did not have to pawn her jewels to finance this expedition. columbus is given a contract by the crown. he will be admirable of the ocean seas and vice roy of all the lands he discovers. they didn't know what they were doing.
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he will be admirable of the seas and voice lord of all the lands they discover. they didn't know what they were giving away. we want to go to the port, southern spain, and again for reasons that they're not quite clear would seem that the people of pollos had done something and they were being punished and the way to publish the people was to force the community to give columbus three ships. that was the punishment, three ships, that he would use for his voyage. so columbus goes to the port of pollos and makes arrangements. well, think.
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fellow shows up in town, an i it will -- italian fellow and speaking spanish, may not have been the best spanish and now he will recruit a crew for three ships. where are you going? oh, i am sailing out on the vast ocean there to get to the east. has anyone done this before? no. have you done it before? no. there wasn't a line to sign up. okay? people weren't rushing to sign on board columbus' ships so he turned to get local help. he got local help from the pinzon brothers. they were sort of ship brokers, personnel recruiters, whatever you want to describe, but they're the locals and so the pinzon brother that is helped columbus recruit his crew and prepare his ships for the voyage. columbus sailed the ocean blue
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in 1492, was sailing ships that numbered three, the nina, the pinta, the santa marie. maybe, sort of, not quite. the nina and the pinta were small carvels, the santa maria, better known as la calissa was a carock, a larger vessel, and here you see the santa maria and in the misty background the nina and the pinta. and this is a very romantic view obviously, the departure of christopher columbus. whether it was as ceremonial as this, who knows. it may have been get on board and get out, but this indicates some great ceremony at which the admiral with the ocean sea with
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three vessels is bound to the indices. he had a view of the world if he sailed to the canary islands off the coast of spain and portugal and headed due west he would bump into japan in about 2,400 miles. that was his estimate. if you look at a map of the globe, look at a globe, you notice if you look at the latitude, remember, we talked about latitude the other day, that the latitude of the canary islands in the atlantic and the latitude in the pacific within a few degrees roughly comparable, roughly comparable. so from that point of view columbus has had a decent idea.
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i will go to the canary islands and pick up the latitude, the latitude, remember, he can measure latitude with his astro laid, if he figures if he can go to the canary islands and pick up that latitude and head west, 2,400 miles later, i will bump into japan. that's the plan. leaves pollos, the second of august and does indeed sail with his vessels to the canary islands and they take on more stores, fresh water, et cetera, and then they begin to head west along the latitude that columbus feels will bring him to japan. well, the voyage takes -- they're at sea for five weeks which might seem a long time to us, but in this age and the 15th century, five-week voyage was not all that far. the crew gets a little nervous. what do you think the crew is most nervous about as they're sailing west? what do you think? if you were aboard, what would you be most nervous about as a
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crew man sailing west? >> maybe weather, unexpected weather. >> weather. weather is pretty good, though. columbus -- we'll come back to that in a moment. weather is not bad. weather is okay. >> not finding land. >> not finding land. that would be a problem. >> encounters other civilizations. >> just think of the very simple, simple concerns of a sailor. >> exact location, how did he know where he was? >> good question. how did columbus know where he was? we talked about latitude and how they measured latitude, the inability to really get any kind of real fix on longitude, so what columbus did is he estimated everything, used that hour glass, turning the hour glass and using the hour glass to measure time and the length of how far the vessel moves in that length of time. that's how he did it. very crude and quite wrong. when you look at columbus' log, his log is quite wrong, quite wrong.
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he didn't really know where he was except for the latitude. what would you worry about? >> fresh water. >> yeah. >> coming home. >> coming home, right. we talked about the portuguese going through africa. this is great. what a great day for sailing, the wind is behind us. oh, wow, great. then we have to come home. that's what they worried about. so every day the farther they went, the farther they knew they would have to go home. that was their concern. the crew began to murmur, began to murmur. fortunately, fortunately, columbus continued on. he was not the world's best navigator, he was certainly a courageous seaman and this is columbus at the rail of the santa maria. this may look familiar to you. >>does this painting look familiar to you? how about that face? yeah.
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>> george washington. >> that's george washington. this is columbus crossing the delaware. okay? yes. this particular artist, you know, who else? columbus must have looked like washington. yes, if it is washington crossing the delaware or columbus crossing the atlantic. take your pick. in any case he is a brave and persistent sailor and a good commander. he keeps water among his men and among the three vessels under his command. the first voyage, altogether he makes four voyages. look at the first voyage which is at the top here in the yellow. sailing west, boy was columbus lucky. he is sailing in august and september across this part of the world, kind of not quite the south atlantic and what does columbus avoid?
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he is blessed. hurricanes. think about it. he didn't know. columbus didn't know it was hurricane season. he sailed in the hurricane season. no hurricanes. at least he didn't encounter any. very lucky. does another wise thing, too. as they're sailing west, they begin to see stuff in the water, birds occasionally, so like the vikings, well, there must be land somewhere near and columbus is on a course nearly due west. then he decides because he has seen stuff in the water that seems to him to be coming up from the south, so he veers course and instead of heading due west he veers slightly to the south. that's a great move, too, even though he doesn't know it.
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what might have happened had columbus continued on a due west course, what would he have encountered that probably would have caused him difficulty? >> civilization. >> not civilization. what's the great river that flows out of the gulf of mexico and up along the coast? >> the gulf stream. the gulf stream is a powerful body of water. if columbus had continued on the westward course he would have bumped into the gulf stream and his vessels probably would not have been able to counter the gulf stream. the gulf stream would have carried them north past bermuda and if he was lucky probably back to europe. by turning south and making that alteration in course, he avoided the gulf stream. on the night of october the 11th the lookout on santa maria calls down to the deck tiara, tiara, land, land and he had seen a distant fire and the next morning columbus is on deck and sees land and he had offered the king, the king and queen, offered a prize to the first person to sight land and columbus then asserts that it is
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me, okay? the lookout last night was seeing something imaginary. i saw land. not the most generous fellow. it is october the 12th. columbus day. there is land. there is land. it is one of the great moments in history. did you have a question? >> no. >> guess what? columbus had estimated that he had sailed how many miles from the canaries at this point? >> 2,000. >> roughly 2,400 miles. he was on the right latitude, right?
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got to be the out islands. it's got to be the out lying islands of the indies, must be, because it fits the calculations, right latitude, right distance, it is the indies, incredible moment in world history completely misunderstood by those participating, but an incredible moment and then comes the landing, of course, and i love all the depictions of columbus landing. you can imagine swords and decorations worn and put on the fanciest he clothes you got and there is one depiction with the vessel off and coming ashore and claiming this land for their majesties for ferdinand and isabella and holding a flag and the men in prayer. i love this one. this is one of my favorites. i don't know if you have been to the bahamas. >> is that why he called the natives the indians?
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>> precisely. people that he encounters the native people and will begin to see more and more, calls them indians because here in in dies. >> had he been to japan. >> no, as far as we know, i am pretty certain about this, had never been in asia, never, no. unlike the portuguese, some of the portuguese had. >> 2,400 miles away. >> that was his calculation. that's what i calculated on the map, on the chart, calculated 2,400 miles. again, because he shrank the size of the globe and here it was confirmed, confirmed. i am here, i am here. this is my favorite, of course. here is columbus with all the pink flamingos flying around and here he is in army and looks like don keyote to me.
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can you imagine kneeling in sand and armor? you begin to catch the flavor of the depictions of this phenomenal moment. here is one that is mystical and gives you the mystery of christopher columbus. well, columbus on his first voyage now sales about and goes from island to island and every place he goes he does encounter native peoples and as he encounters these native peoples, he inquiries of them and you can imagine the difficulty with communication, and many of these native peoples have small gold ornaments, just trifle little things, but when the span yards see gold, okay, immediately flashes into their minds that we have discovered this immense potential rich civilization. truth of the matter was that the
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gold that they were seeing amongst these natives were gold trinkets that had been traded from the mainland, perhaps from mexican plateau where the aztecs were and it had taken generations. it wasn't as if there was a gold mine over the next hill. of course whenever columbus or his associates would ask the natives, however rudimentary way they would do it, where did these riches come from, the answer was always the next village over. they were always anxious. you want to go to the next village over. well, as they went to the next village over, it was disappointment upon disappointment. they didn't find people speaking chinese. they didn't see the fine silks and teas and everything they're looking for, none of it, none of it. on christmas day 1492 the santa maria is ship wrecked on the island of espanola. columbus puts the crew ashore and tells them, establish this town and we'll be back for you. the town becomes known as navidad, christmas, and columbus
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with the nina and the pinta returns to spain. this is columbus returning to spain to visit the court, ferdinand and isabella receiving the admiral of the ocean seas. this is his greatest moment because it is at this moment that everyone believes he's found the route to the east. now, it is a little disappointing when he brings back coconuts, rare tropical birds, kidnapped a few natives, and it is a little disappointing but, don't worry, don't worry, send me back, and send me back and i will find the court of the great kahn, so he makes a second voyage. on his second voyage he returns again.
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this is getting to be a little disappointing now. wait a minute. you have been out there twice now. he comes back, and you still haven't given us any evidence that you have discovered the route to the east. again, tropical birds and exotic plants, that sort of thing and where is the gold? where is the silk? columbus is given a coat of arms for his accomplishments, he is the admiral of the ocean sea. this is the coat of arms. the lion and the ramparts, the anchors to symbolize his sea going. and of course the islands, the indies. the indies. christopher columbus, admiral of the ocean sea. he goes on a third voyage. getting a little frustrating now. takes his young son with him. he's setting foot on other islands. by this time he has set foot
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roughly on the coast of venezuela. so columbus has set foot in the western hemisphere. not just the islands of cuba and hispaniola. but again, the results are very disappointing. very, very disappointing. he'll make a fourth voyage. and then return with more charts and more islands, but no evidence, no evidence. what is this, people ask? what is this that columbus has found? they're not sure. at this point they are simply not sure. they still want to believe it's the islands off of coast of japan and china. the evidence is getting pretty thin. columbus returns home, he does not make any fourth voyage, his last voyage. he retires to a monastery. he is a man, really, in disgrace. great hopes, great plans. but at this point nothing.
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very little. very, very little. he still believes, firmly believes of course, that he's found the route to the indies. columbus dies in 1506, a broken, unhappy man, again feeling that somehow he has failed and others think he has failed as well. when he dies he's buried in the city of voldelief. some years later his son, diego, who had been made governor of the island of hispaniola, thinks that his father's remains should be moved to hispaniola, to the city of santo domingo, today in the dominican republic.
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so columbus' remains are moved. the cathedral there. and honored. in 1795, in one of those european treaties, the island of santa domingo is turned over to the french. well, we don't want a spanish hero, even though he's italian, buried on french territory, do we. they exhumed the body and they moved columbus to havana. well, that's good for about 100 years. till 1898. the cuban revolution, spanish-american war and cuba becomes a free country. can't have columbus in havana. no. they exhume him again and move him to seville. this is the tomb of columbus in seville, buried in great pomp, grandeur.
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ah, but wait a minute. did we get the right guy? in an archaeological dig archaeologists find a box. it's labeled columbus. this isn't good. this isn't good. so this controversy now, this big controversy. in santo domingo they erected this monument light house. this is where they now claim columbus is buried because the box is asserted that when they exhumed the body in 1795 they got the wrong guy. well, so what do you think we do in the 20th and 21st century to settle this argument? you all watch csi. what are we going to do? is this or is this not christopher columbus? dna.
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of course. the solution to everything. we do have -- we know where the remains of his family are, some of his sons so we can get accurate. so they do a dna analysis. with the body -- with the remnants of the body t remains in seville. turns out that in seville, what appeared to be columbus, the dna, the authorities in the dominican republic have yet to permit a dna analysis of the remains here. so they still assert that's where columbus is. so you have your choice. seville or santo domingo. which place is christopher columbus buried? ironic when you think of it given the controversy of his life that even in death columbus is a mysterious figure.
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good looking guy here. columbus, 1492, we know today has found the route to north america. that wasn't his goal. this guy achieves his goal. this is a portuguese seaman, explorer, digamma. he looks pretty ferocious. i don't think i'd want to sail under his command. in 1498 digamma following that portuguese route along the coast of africa, around the cape of good hope into the indian ocean, it is digamma who reaches india, 1498. he finds the water route to the east. and begins of course, because of digamma begins the development of the portuguese empire in the east. what about columbus? what's he done?
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well, we don't really know that for certain until 1520 when this fellow, portuguese, magellan, set sail, passes under latin america, through the straits that bear his name today, straits of magellan, sails through the straits of magellan into the pacific ocean. a vast oceanic world. it is magellan who crosses the pacific, arrives in the philippines, an encounter with native peoples and magellan was actually killed in the philippines. but his crew and his ship
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continued their voyage and get home. it is magellan's voyage that establishes now, oh, my heavens, it's a new world. it's not part of china, it's not part of asia. it is, in fact, a new world. it is magellan. it is magellan. or his men who establish that columbus has in fact accomplished an extraordinary feat. how do we emphasize how it changed the world? but that becomes known now. columbus of course in the meantime died 13 years before, completely unaware of what he had accomplished, and feeling himself to be a failure. by 1500, others have come in now. spanish, the island of
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hispaniola, and cuba, puerto rico, more spanish are coming. you see, here, here is the difference. between columbus and the vikings. people knew what columbus had done, and people came after him. one of the things to consider that in columbus' world they had that they did not have in the world of the vikings that helped to spread information. what would be the most effective method that columbus and his people had to spread information that the vikings didn't have? what is it? not the internet. but what? what was available in 1500 that wasn't available in the year 1000? it could spread information. printing. guttenberg. remember. movable type. think about that. we think of books today. so ordinary. everything is online. the point is, now information can spread very rapidly, relatively, and it doe


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