The Voyages of Christopher Columbus: The Discovery of America
Why not approach and analyze the “Iberian expansion in Africa and Asia” from the American continent? It is worth recalling here the way Las Casas thinks and describes the links between the Indies and Africa, and this for three reasons: it allows us to explore the relations between Portuguese and Castilian historians in the mid-16th century; it confirms to what extent Africanism and Americanism remain disconnected specialties, compartmentalized universes of research; and it also helps, and this is the reason for my personal interest and my present research, to determine the possibility and the conditions of a global history.
Why not analyze Iberian expansion in Africa and Asia starting from the American continent? Here we look at how Las Casas conceived and described the links that were forged between Africa and America, with a threefold purpose: to explore the relationships between Portuguese and Castilian historians in the mid-16th century; to establish the extent to which African and American studies are still practically separate fields of research; and to examine the possibility and the necessary conditions for a global history.
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America and overseas travel. Encounter Channel.
There are different versions on how the contact between the two took place, but what is certain is that Toscanelli sent a report to Alfonso V of Portugal with a letter -of which disputed copies have arrived- and a map -which has been reconstructed from the globe drawn in 1492 by Martin Behaim, one of the most faithful followers of the Florentine humanist-.
This hypothesis has been vindicated by Juan Manzano on the basis of the expressions contained in the Capitulaciones de Santa Fe, Columbus’ certainty in the routes to be followed, both on the outward and return voyages, and other indicators.
Columbus’ project might seem attractive in this context; everything points to the fact that even then he proposed to reach Cipango and the Far East by a shorter and more direct route than the hitherto still uncertain route through southern Africa.
John II entrusted the analysis of this project to a board of experts that rejected its feasibility. The reasons given by chroniclers and historians to justify this rejection are essentially twofold:
Travels to India | Geographical Society of the Indies
Painting of Vasco da Gama on his arrival in India, carrying the flag used in the Discoveries: The Arms of Portugal and the Cross of Christ, sponsors of the expansion movement initiated by Henry the Navigator.
The project to find the sea route to India was devised by John II of Portugal as a measure to reduce the costs of trade with Asia, in an attempt to monopolize the spice trade. With Portugal’s maritime presence becoming more and more solid, John II longed for the domination of trade routes and the expansion of his kingdom, which was beginning to transform into an empire, but after having rejected the project of Christopher Columbus, and after the discovery of America by Castile, his interests were endangered despite the successive treaties of Alcaçovas and Tordesillas. Although John II was the main promoter of the project, the enterprise would not be carried out during his reign, but during that of his successor Manuel I, who would designate Vasco da Gama for this expedition, maintaining as far as possible the original plan of his predecessor.