King Alfonso of Portugal

A New World – August 3, 1492 AD

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue….” The poem is correct in that the first voyage of Christopher Columbus began on the evening of August 3, 1492. However, it was a bit of work for Columbus to get that expedition underway. The goal was to find a quicker way to the Orient via the Atlantic Ocean, instead of using the land trade routes that were becoming increasingly treacherous because of the Ottoman Turks and the fall of Constantinople in 1453. In 1470, Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, an astronomer from Florence, proposed to King Alfonso of Portugal that sailing west to the Spice Islands would be faster than around Africa. The king rejected the idea and his successor, John II, tasked Bartolomeu Dias to explore the Africa route, going around the Cape of Good Hope. While Dias was work...

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