At the tender age of 17, Marco Polo, intrepid Italian adventurer and backyard swimming pool icon, left Italy and traveled with his father and uncle throughout the Orient. After an epic 24-year journey he returned home with exotic treasures and amazing tales of adventure.
200 hundred years later, inspired by Marco’s adventures, another young Italian set out on a quest for fame and fortune in the Orient. Or as they called it at the time, the East Indies.
To finance his project, he approached the kings of England, France, Portugal and Spain, and got blown off by them all. They thought his calculations were way off and his plan wouldn’t work.
And for good reason, because Christopher Columbus was a nut. Instead of taking the direct route, sailing up the Mediterranean, hanging a right through the Suez Canal and bang, there you are, Chris figured he’d go West to travel East and sail all the way around the globe to get there.
On one hand, he was embracing the idea that the world was not flat. He got the possibilities of a round planet. On the other hand, his calculations turned out to be off by about 17,000 miles. Oops!
Somehow he got a third chance in the Spanish Court. And somehow, whether it was all the practice from his earlier pitches or that Queen Isabella just liked the cut of his jib, Columbus got King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to greenlight his project.
So on August 2nd of 1492, Columbus sailed west from Spain with his three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and his flagship the Santa Maria.
Sure enough, on October 12 , 524 years ago yesterday, Columbus did it. He landed on an island in the East Indies just off the coast of China, and declared all he surveyed to be under the domain of the King and Queen of Spain.
At least that’s what he thought he’d done. Continue reading Why You Should Be Like Christopher Columbus →