Christopher Columbus was always a named I recognized with traveling the world. Maybe I would have known more about him if I grew up in North America. In this book I learnt that I myself in particular needed to pick up a map and check out where places are in the world. The format of the book was very interesting. When I first saw the book on the reading list and Jon had mentioned the genre of letters I had assumed this book would be a Dear Dairy format to his family, nobles and the like. Needless to say this was not. I really like history; in high school I took as many history classes as possible. However exploration and the era of “discovery” was never one I was interested in. But more because I never really thought about the era more than anything else.
Christopher Columbus was a more interesting person than I would have initially given credit to. He works hard to make his trip happen by going to many countries and looking for wealthy sponsors. I personally would have liked to have heard more about how he got Ferdinand and Isabela to sponsor his trip because I wonder how he got from Henry VII laughing at him, to Ferdinand and Isabela taking him seriously to the point of helping him out. Did the advisors in Spain know something the advisors in England did not? Anyways, I guess this was not the main focus of The Four Voyages. Christopher Columbus sets sail into the unknown. When I first read how he “reckoned” less distance than what he had measured I don’t know why but my head kept spinning the question, “what will he tell his crew on the way back?” There is something about gift exchange that seems to be a theme. Building friendships through the exchanging of items is what I found interesting. Also the idea that he strove in the first voyage to make good connections so when others from Europe would return they could be as well received as Columbus was. What was also interesting was how he initially assesses how intelligent a people were through the amount of clothing they wear and their ability to barter. He saw the people as those who could be educated into Christianity and made into servants. The way he saw other people outside of Europe reminded me of how globalized the world is today. And how lucky we are to be able to communicate with everyone. I guess traveling for him is a job, and unlike myself, who wishes to immerse in another culture unlike one I am used to, he sees the people as being able to change into a culture he recognizes.
All in all I was hoping to find an Animaniac clip on Columbus. But all I could find with them was a Ballad on Magellan. But I did find this fun Horrible Histories video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmwriy3a6sc&feature=related