相片集

Photographer's Note

Here you have the very first photo I shot at Dominican Republic last August. It was shot in the Parque Col髇, in the heart of the oldest part of the town, known as Zona Colonial. It shows the statue of the famous discoverer of America and the North wall of the Cathedral (which was subject of my last post). It's quite a nice place, not only for its great historic relevance.

I consider the history of Columbus and the discovery of America much intriguing, even not thinking about the controversy on his nationality. Resumedly, the generally accepted story is that he begin his life as a wool weaver in Genoa, Italy. Then he began living in Lisbon after the ship in which he was sailing wrecked. Shortly afterwards he, a foreign commoner, marries a daughter of a noble family who is intimate to the Portuguese King and quickly becomes a corsary(!) and a captain that leads several maritime expeditions for the Portuguese King. He spends years trying to convince the king to make an expedition to reach India sailing West (the Portuguese were much involved in doing that by circum navigating Africa). Finally he moves to Spain after his Portuguese wife died and gets financing to his expedition from the Spanish Catholic Kings. He reach the Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola (what is now Haiti and Dominican Republic) Islands and thinks that he has reached India or East Asia (Japan or China). I guess we can say that one of the greatest 15/16th century Discoveries happened by mistake (and quite a big one! :-). The American continent proper was reached only 6 years afterwards, on his 3rd voyage.

Although I have no knowledge in History to able to evaluate the arguments of such controversy about his nationality, I don't resist referring to it. The official thesis is that he was Italian born in Genoa, but there are some authors that claim that he was Spanish (Catalan, Basque or Jewish), Portuguese, Corse, Greek, Norwish or Polish. There are a couple of arguments on behalf of the Portuguese thesis or at least against his Italian origin that are interesting to me, but of course I am biased: his marriage with a Portuguese noble woman, the services to the Portuguese Crown and the fact that he didn't write any form of Italian and used frequently written Portuguese and Spanish. There is also the odd events that on his first voyage he made scale in Madeira, a Portuguese Island on the Atlantic not so far from the Spanish Canary Archipelago, when he was going West and on Lisbon on the way back - quite strange that he used ports from a country that rivalled that which was financing him and lands in Portugal prior to Spain on the way back from such an important discover. This is much exploited by those who claim that he was always a spy paid by the Portuguese to be aware of what the Spaniards were doing. Finally here it goes another funny story that makes Columbus an Alentejano like me: supposedly he was born in Cuba, a small town of Alentejo (South Portugal) and that is why Cuba has that name.

The discussion of the origin of the name "America" would give another big note. I wonder why in hell that continent got the name from an Italian (Americo Vespuccio) that many don't believe to have put his foot on the continent.

Location (latitude, longitude): 18.4735,-69.88397

Weblinks:

Wikipedia - Santo Domingo

Wikipedia - Zona Colonial

Wikipedia - Christopher Columbus

Wikipedia - Origin theories of Christopher Columbus

www.stratis.org - "Christophe Colomb etait-il Portugais?" (online article in the website of the French Institut de Strat間ie Compar閑, Commission Fran鏰ise d'Histoire Militaire and Institut d'Histoire des Conflits Contemporains; in French)

---
Update 3-Sep: Leonor Kuhn pointed out a funny thing - Colombo means pigeon in Italian. :-)

Photo Information
Viewed: 9573
Points: 48
Discussions
Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH