Section 1 - The Famous Quotes
Fasttrack to America's Past
Return to Originating Page

The quotes, top to bottom:

1.  "I have always read that the world..."

   This passage is from a letter written by Christopher Columbus.  It proves that he was well aware that the earth is shaped like a sphere, and that he could give several ways to prove the fact.  Ptolemy was a famous Greek geographer and astronomer of the 2nd century A.D. who had written about the spherical shape of the earth.  In a lunar eclipse, the shadow thrown by the earth onto the moon is always curved.  That is only possible if the earth is a globe.  The elevation of the North Star above the horizon changes with movement of the observer north and south, again, something that is only possible if the earth is a globe.  The other "experiments" Columbus mentions may be the fact that a ship sailing out to sea seems to vanish as it moves over the curved surface of the globe.

2.  "At two hours after midnight appeared the land..."

   This is a passage from the journal Columbus kept on his voyage in 1492.  It describes the first sighting of land in the New World on October 12 of that famous year.  The actual island of his first landing is uncertain.

3.  "One of the chief trees or posts at the right side of the entrance..."

   This is from the account by John White describing the search in 1590 of the area where the Lost Colony was established by the English.  The colonists had been left on Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina in 1587.  White went back to England to get more supplies shortly after that.  His return to the colony was delayed for three years because of an attempt by Spain to attack England.  All English ships were needed for defense against the Spanish ships.  When White finally made it back, the colonists were gone.  He spotted the word "Croatoan" carved on a tree, a message White believed meant the colonists moved to that area of what is now called Hatteras Island.  (See pages 26 and 27.)

The pictures, top to bottom:

1.  An artist's depiction of Christopher Columbus, based on a painting made well after the death of the explorer.  No images of Columbus made in his own lifetime are known to exist.  Many details of his life and voyages, however, did survive into the written record of history.

2.  A drawing from the 1500s of a ship of the type Columbus used.  While some details about the three ships he used in 1492 are known, their actual appearance is a matter of guesswork.  Their names, however, are well known:  the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

3.  A drawing made by an early explorer showing natives in the West Indies making corn pancakes, or what today would be called tortillas.  Corn was completely unknown to Europeans before they made contact with the New World in 1492.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright 2015 by David Burns.  All rights reserved.  Illustrations and reading selections appearing in this work are taken from sources in the public domain and from private collections used by permission.  Sources include: the Dover Pictorial Archive, the Library of Congress, The National Archives, The Hart Publishing Co., Corel Corporation and its licensors, Nova Development Corporation and its licensors, and others.  Maps were created or adapted by the author using reference maps from the United States Geological Survey and Cartesia Software.  Please see the home page for this title for more information.