America Discovery. Columbus Mistakes and Avarice. Ten things you should know:
1.- Columbus wanted to arrive at Zipango. Zipango is the ancient name given by European and Chinese authors to Japan in the late Middle Ages. The term comes from the original name of Japan, passed through its adaptation to ancient Chinese Mandarin language.
2.- In the 13th century the Venetian merchant Marco Polo was one of the first Europeans to explore the entire Silk Road, to the current China. Although Marco Polo did not go beyond China, in his book ‘Il Milione’ wrote about the island of Cipango.
3.- Cipango was a very large island which was in the South China Sea, 1,500 miles from the coast, and it was inhabited by white and idolater people, who were not under the yoke of any foreign monarch. The Lord of the island had a great palace entirely coated in gold. There were precious stones, pink pearls and spices.
4.- One of the first wise men to ascribe importance to the testimony of Marco Polo, was Toscanelli , who was very interested in determining the distance between the coasts of Asia and Europe, whereas America did not exist.
5.- According to Toscanelli, the distance between Portugal and China should be about 5000 miles, or 3500 miles to Zipango. He sent a letter to the King Alfonso V of Portugal.
6.- Christopher Columbus had access to a copy of this letter. But Columbus confused the Arab mile with the Italian mile, and he assumed that the Canary Islands should be only about 4,450 kilometers from Japan, when there are about 19,600 kilometers.
7.- The Kings of Spain supported the idea of Columbus. Thus, the expedition led by Christopher Columbus left the city of Palos de la Frontera (Spain) on August 3, 1492, and arrived in the Bahamas on October 12 of that year.
8.- The natives told Columbus about the existence of a large island that they called Colba (Cuba) that initially, Columbus identified as Japan.
9.- In Cuba, they did not find the wealth that Marco Polo had told, nor in La Española. Anyway, following the success, the Catholic Kings of Spain confirmed all the privileges granted to Columbus in the Capitulations of Santa Fe.
10.- The Capitulations of Santa Fe granted to Columbus with the titles of admiral, viceroy and governor general of all the lands he discovered or won during his lifetime, and the tenth of all profits made. It was too much money, they quickly take it off!