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C O U R S E 
A History of the World since 1300
Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Columbus and the New World
Notes taken on January 23, 2013 by Edward Tanguay
to understand the collision that happened after 1492, we have to understand what was happening in the Old World
Russians moving north and east, many legends from this time, fish with men's heads, etc.
*** in West, forces of Christendom not faring too badly, Portugal and Spain, pushing Muslim forces south, culminating in alliance of Castille and Aragon, formed by marriage between Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon, they pushed the southern border down into Andalusia until 1492 got down to Granada, the last Muslim outpost in Western Europe
Genovese and Venetian financiers began supporting explorations down western coast of Africa, three fateful things happened with this
1. islands in Atlantic: became laboratories, colonies, sugar plantations, involved in African slavery
2. tapping into African sources of gold, lured more and more, plus buying slaves
*** 3. discovery that there were equatorial currents that Europeans could use to their advantage, this was a code cracked in the 1490s
Columbus was always committed to the believe that the earth was much smaller than it really was
he was not proficient at using quadrants and nautical charts, but used tradition use of stars and made constant mistakes
Cabot in 1497 and Cabral in 1500 were much more up-to-date than Columbus
but Columbus was first to make landfall
sailed for Isabella and Ferdinand, just reconquered south Spain, Columbus approached them, promised:
yield riches to lead the final triumphant campaign to liberate Jerusalem
his gaze was not on the new world, he was still struggling to resolve an ancient one
*** Columbus always denied he had discovered a new world. His most frequent question to the native peoples was "Where is Japan?"
realized that Orinoco River was fresh water, meant it was on a landscape that was much larger than the island he was sure he was bumping up against, so he turned his vessels around and left
*** Columbus had taken a translator, the problem was of course that the translator knew only Arabic, etc.
Takes natives aboard ships and trains them in the Spanish language, something at heart of conquest process
it was soon clear that Spanish were not just visiting but there to stay
first colony: Hispaniola
*** very important phase of world history: the production of tropical commodities for export to Europe, sets in motion a dynamic that blurs the boundaries between conquest and colonization, created societies destined for the production of wealth for someone else
natives began to die because of diseases
rumors: there are more riches to be had on other islands, hence the legend of El Dorado