Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by Drexel University or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Inactive » Historia-Matematica

Topic: [HM] Chinese maps in antiquity and Columbus's error
Replies: 9   Last Post: Aug 29, 2000 8:59 AM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Milo Gardner

Posts: 1,105
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] Chinese maps in antiquity and Columbus's error
Posted: Aug 29, 2000 8:59 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply


There is a political view of Columbus' map error that is easily outlined.

Brian says, "From: "Brian O'Neill" <brian.oneill@philips.com>Date: 28 Aug
00 06:15:36 -0400 (EDT) Subject: Columbus's "Error" was almost fatal

The problem with Columbus's map can only be understood outside of the
map itself, in politics. Toscannelli's map was correct mathematically,
but the project was obliged to rely on Venetian sources for the actual
size of China or Asia. So Cipango, japan, was drawn on the map using a
deliberately over estimated size.

Now place yourself in Columbus's shoes. He stored aboard enough
supplies to reach Cipango according to the map. Venice for sure
expected the expedition to fail by starvation long before it reached
Cipango.

Then imagine the consternation in Venice at word of their successful
return. Venice opposed the whole project as they had a vice-grip on
eastern trade and faced loosing that.

So a mathematically correct map with good earth-size estimate, and
deliberately false information resulted in a genuine discovery of an
entirely new continent. Columbus himself refused to believe it was not
Cipango. So Venice doubly lost the whole farm, and Europe gained
greatly.

So history is made.

Brian O'Neill"

--------------------------

However, Bishop de Landa modified Columbus' log books in a manner that
there is no primary data base to confirm Columbus' actual longitude
computations. During Columbus' three trips, two eclipses were observed
and recorded. The third trip's eclipse is very well recorded, as Columbus
carried its prediction for European appearance, and therefore had to
know his actual longitude to a high degree of certainty, less than 1/4th
degree.

These trip log books of Columbus have never surfaced, in Columbus'
handwriting,
and there is a vivid political reason for it. Bishop de Landa modified
the reading of the Armed Guards of Polaris, a well known Portuguese star
clock time reference
system (on the first voyage's log book), as well as burning Mesoamerican
codicies for reason of another type of censorship. In this case if the
actual
longitude would have been known in the 1490's, any maybe for many
years thereafter, the Spanish-Portuguese Treaty agreed upon by the Pope
in 1494 would have been broken, with Portugal owning most of Hispanola
and other newly acquired Spanish lands.

Milo Gardner






Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© Drexel University 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.