Columbus and His Voyages II

Program Information

Series: A Moment in Time
Duration: 00:03:59
Year Produced: 2010
Description:

As Christopher Columbus entered his 30s, his experience and training, education, and contacts had awakened a gnawing intuition that he could reach Japan by sailing west.

A Moment in Time is a brief, exciting and compelling journey into the past. Created to excite and enlighten the public about the past, its relevance to the present and its impact on the future, A Moment In Time is a captivating historical narrative that is currently broadcast worldwide.

Transcript

Lead: As Christopher Columbus entered his 30s, his experience and training, education, and contacts had awakened a gnawing intuition that he could reach Japan by sailing west.

Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The European fascination with all things Asian emerged in the medieval period. Soon trade between west and east was brisk and lucrative. Spices for food preservation, art and furniture objects, silk for clothing, and tea for consumption were just a few of the things demanded by wealthy Europeans and even a growing number of urban middle class consumers. The problem: Arabs dominated oriental trade. Gold and silver could not pass eastward; goods could not come back west save through the expensive monopolistic trading system of Muslim merchants and their partners in the Italian maritime city-states such as Venice.

Christopher Columbus was convinced he could make the jump to the east by going west. His appeals to Portugal, France and England were rejected so he turned to Spain. His first stop was the monastery La Rabida at Palos de la Frontera. There he met Fr. Juan Perez, the confessor to Queen Isabella of Castille. Perez introduced the would-be explorer to the court. Columbus then began a seven-year public relations assault on the royal couple, seeking their financial support for his "Enterprise of the Indies." One bitter disappointment after another followed. Ferdinand and Isabella were distracted, otherwise occupied in the great war to conquer what remained of Islamic Spain, and had few resources. In 1491 he tried one last time and was initially rejected--but then came a reprieve.

Next time: Four voyages and a controversial legacy.

The producer of A Moment In Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.