The Navigation of Christopher Columbus and the Age of Discovery

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Before beginning the research for this work, I had planned on producing a paper and presentation which detailed the history of open sea navigation and the difficulties and dangers which would have faced sailors and seamen during the Age of Discovery. My premise was that we, living in the twentifirst century, had lost touch with the reality of just how hazardous a voyage such as that undertaken by Columbus was. I had hoped to be able to capture for the listener and reader a sense of wonder at the bold willingness to risk life and limb that was demonstrated by the explorers of this era as they left the safety of the waters and oceans that they knew, to challenge the unknown. I had wanted to capture that feeling of…show more content…
Columbus’ voyage to the West was a risk only in the sense that all sea voyages undertaken at this time placed those sailing at the mercy of the winds, the waves, and the weather, with the added possibility that either pirates or Muslims would be encountered. Navigation, and the navigator's understanding of the world, had by this time developed to the point where Columbus was not stepping blindly into the abyss, but rather was choosing a course of action based on what was believed to be sure knowledge. The histories of navigation and sailing are intertwined in such a way that for the purpose of this study they cannot be separated. Also a part of this story are what I believe to be some intriguing possibilities regarding the peopling of the Americas and the rise of Native American civilizations. No one knows for certain either where, or when, man first began using floatation as a method of dealing with the rivers, streams, lakes, and other bodies of water that he found in the world around him. However, one can easily imagine a scenario in which early man discovered that a floating log, a matted bed of reeds, or some other buoyant object could be used to support his own weight in the water. What we do know is that some of humanity's oldest written "histories" and oral
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