The navigation of Columbus and its relation to his landfall in Cuba
Is it equally true that Columbus nowhere says that there is only one island at San Salvador. Columbus gives San Salvador only one name, yet it is common practice among navigators and cartographers to give one name to more than one island: Midway is an example, Andros in the Bahamas is an example. And Plana itself is an example: five hundred years later, still only one official name for these two closely spaced islands.
Columbus's use of " la isla" is no help, since if San Salvador is multiple, the singular could simply denote that particular island to which Columbus is referring at the time. We are therefore left with Columbus's sole description of the San Salvador coastline, in a single sentence: "I. The final codicil que habia, as Molander has pointed out, is almost universally omitted from translation; yet it is important because every island has an east coast, but San Salvador has another part, which is the eastern part. And in order to reach this eastern part, it is necessary to go north-northeast along the island.
Plana fulfills these requirements of the Diario perfectly well. Columbus explored San Salvador on the 14th, using both the boat from the ship, and the launches from the caravels. Much has been made of this exploration by some small island advocates, principally Judge,  who noted that at Watlings the trip to Graham's harbor, proposed by Morison, is too long to row.
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However, we know from the Diario entry of October 24 that the ship's boat carried a sail; and we have good reason to suspect that the caravels' launches did, too. On January 1, the launch made a round trip of 28 nmi Navidad-Amiga-Navidad between midnight and vespers, to collect rhubarb. Sunset hence compline occurred at about on January 1, so vespers was at about Allowing an hour ashore for the rhubarb leaves This implies that the launch was being sailed, not rowed.
But regardless of whether one assumes rowing or sailing, the January 1 trip makes it quite clear that the boat trip of October 14, for both Watlings and Plana, is within the capabilities of the launch, in terms of both speed and endurance. I am assuming about 9 hours of boat travel on the 14th, which seems reasonable considering the niggling distance made by the ships before nightfall. Since all proposed boat trips fall within the parameters of possibility, I have evaluated all theories equally by excluding this clue from the Scorecard.
Columbus's description of going NNE along San Salvador gives a huge headache to Samana Cay supporters, since there is no comfortable way to make this description match Samana. The entire island of Samana lies east and west; and since the ends are sharp points, there is no north-northeast coast at all.
Judge supposes that Columbus may have spent a few minutes on a north-northeast course during five or six hours of rowing east and west along the south coast of Samana. And when he got back to his ship, he then wrote in his log that his most notable direction of travel was north-northwest, and conveniently ignores the remaining six hours.
Frankly, this scenario is completely unconvincing. I gave Samana a 0 on this point in the Scorecard. Grand Turk has the opposite problem: the entire island lies north-south, so while there is a little bit of NNE coast, the island has no appreciable "eastern part", it has only northern and southern parts. I gave Grand Turk a 1 on this point. At Watlings Island it is possible to go north-northeast along the coast, which rates a 3 on that point. However, if you go north-northeast along Watlings, you do not get to the eastern part of the island; you get to the northern part of the island.
Watlings is somewhat wider than Grand Turk, though, so I gave it a 2 on the "eastern part". Look at a map of Plana, however, and Columbus's words require no explanation because the meaning is so self-evident.
Columbus was anchored off the southwest point of West Plana the logical anchorage in the prevailing NE trades. He wanted to go to "the other part, which was the eastern part"; and, to get there, he was required to go north-northeast along the island. Egg Island, and Conception to a somewhat lesser extent, also follow this coastline pattern. I gave3's to each. Skip to main content.
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For additional information, see the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Over time, much of the text had faded to almost perfectly match the background, making it impossible to read. But in Van Duzer won a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities that allowed him and a team of collaborators to use a technique called multispectral imaging to try to uncover the hidden text. Many of the map legends describe the regions of the world and their inhabitants. The most surprising revelation, however, was in the interior of Africa, Van Duzer says.
Martellus included many details and place names that appear to trace back to an Ethiopian delegation that visited Florence in Van Duzer says he knows of no other 15th-century European map that has this much information about the geography of Africa, let alone information derived from native Africans instead of European explorers. Waldseemuller liberally copied text from Martellus, Van Duzer found after comparing the two maps.
The practice was common in those days—in fact, Martellus himself apparently copied the sea monsters on his map from an encyclopedia published in , an observation that helps date the map.