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Author Topic: PILLARS OF HERCULES, SEA OF DARKNESS  (Read 3101 times)
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« on: August 19, 2007, 05:50:45 pm »

                       THE AZORES ISLANDS

And who knew what lay beyond the Canaries, or the Azores? After all, al-Idrisi, who repeatedly says that nothing lies beyond the Eternal Isles, splendidly contradicts himself by telling us in another passage, quoting no less an authority than Ptolemy himself: "There are 27,000 islands in this sea, some inhabited, others not; we have mentioned only those closest to the mainland, and which are inhabited. As for the others, there is no need to mention them here."

This is the background against which Columbus's voyages were made. He had taken part in the expedi­tions sent along the African coast by Prince Henry the Navigator. He knew the Atlantic islands well; his wife was the daughter of Bartolomeo Perestrelo, one of the early settlers on Madeira. Her sister was married to Pedro Correa, of the same island, who found a piece of worked wood cast up on the beach that he believed had drifted east from unknown western lands. Co­lumbus's son Hernando, writing in 1537, shows very well the grip these islands had on his father's mind, after first describing his father's reading in ancient and medieval sources and Paolo Toscanelli's letter on the possibility of reaching Asia by sailing west:
The third and last thing that led the Admiral to discover the Indies was the hope he entertained, before reaching them, of finding some island or land of great utility, from which he could continue his main search. He was confirmed in this hope by reading the books of many wise men and philosophers who said, as a thing not admitting doubt, that the greater part of our globe is dry land, because the area covered by land is greater than that covered by water. This being so, he argued that between the coast of Spain and the borders of India then known, there would be many large islands, as experience has shown. He believed this the more readily because of certain fables and stories which he heard told by various people and mariners who traded in theislands and the seas west of the Azores and Madeira. These were stories which fitted in with his own opinions, and he remembered them. He never tired of telling them, to satisfy the curiosity of those who enjoy such curiosities.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 12:39:49 pm by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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