Christopher Columbus: The lunar eclipse that saved Columbus and his companions from starvation
Many historians agree that Christopher Columbus, the first European ship to arrive in the United States, was a shrewd man. Although we can say very little about his life with certainty and certainty, there is a consensus that his intelligence and cunning helped him to save his life and overcome difficulties on many occasions. One such incident occurred in 1504 when Columbus was trapped by locals in Jamaica during his fourth and final voyage. He turned to his vast astronomical knowledge to get what he wanted from the island's natives. 'Extraordinarily intelligent in gait' Columbus embarked on his famous fourth voyage in 1502. However, after traveling for more than a year, they lost two boats and the condition of the other two deteriorated, making it impossible for them to continue their journey. As a result, he and hundreds of others were stranded in northern Jamaica. This is not the first time Columbus has visited the island. Columbus arrived here in 1494 during his first voyage, and at that time he named the island Santiago Island. However, in his memoirs at the end of his fourth voyage, he never called the island by that name, but used the word "Jamaica." The word Jamaica may have been derived from the name of the people or tribe living here, 'Zaimaka', which means 'land of wood and water.' Arriving there, Columbus sent a group under the command of a colleague to a nearby port to seek help. While waiting on the island of Jamaica, they initially received essential food items from the local tribesmen in exchange for a few items in their possession. However, the days changed in months but the help that was expected did not come. By the end of 1503, Columbus's relations with the natives began to deteriorate. In his memoirs after the trip, Mendes de Segura wrote, "They (the tribesmen) started rioting and stopped the supply of food." Mendes de Segura's memoirs and details of that last voyage were published in book form by Martin Fernandez in 1825. In that case, they would have to do something if they were to survive. And then Columbus devised a plan that was both brilliant and perverse, aimed at scaring the tribesmen into a lunar eclipse on February 29, 1504, to achieve their goal. The year 1504 was a leap year with 29 days instead of 28. Columbus knew from his study that the lunar eclipse on February 29 would not be a normal lunar eclipse but a lunar one that would stain the planet Earth like blood. They could have presented this lunar eclipse as a heavenly punishment, a punishment from which the locals could not escape. God is angry ' According to Mendes de Segura's memoirs, 'he (Columbus) summoned the chiefs of the tribes and expressed surprise that they no longer brought food for him and his companions as before, knowing that they (Columbus and his companions) have come here by the command of God. ' Columbus then informed the tribesmen that God was angry at their action, and that night they would see a sign of God's wrath in heaven. And since there was a lunar eclipse that night, everything was in darkness. According to Martin Fernandez's book, "the tribesmen believed this to be true and they were frightened and promised to continue delivering food in the future." Columbus knew when the lunar eclipse would begin and when the moon would turn red. Anthony Burnell of the Astronomical Observatory in Spain said of the lunar eclipse: "The lunar eclipse had two main parts: a beginning, a partial part, in which the moon partially sinks into darkness. And when it is completely plunged into darkness, the second part begins, which is complete. ' He said that the lunar eclipse also had a characteristic that it had already taken place since the eclipse had not even appeared on the horizon. So when it appeared in the sky it was already partially dark. After the eclipse is complete, the moon turns red. This is because sunlight does not reach the moon directly, but part of it is filtered from the Earth's atmosphere and gives a reddish and orange color naturally. But how did Columbus believe the eclipse would happen? "Christopher Columbus knew a lot of sciences, he was an expert in navigation and he spoke many languages," says Consul Varela, a professor at the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Spain. Spanish historians told the BBC Mando: "He was a man of great potential and eager to know and learn. And these qualities set them apart. " He said that above all he knew the tricks of the stars and sought guidance from them. He was a fan of astronomy and is known to have had a lunar eclipse calendar with him during his travels. The calendar was created by the German astronomer and mathematician Johann Mرller, nicknamed Regimotano, from the Latin translation of the name of the German city where he (M مولller) was born. Printed calendars and calendars were very popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, providing people with the basic information needed to plan their daily routines. Anthony Burnell explains that in those days' celestial phenomena were used for many things. The first is to connect oneself and the second is to forecast the weather. Today we know it's a mistake, but we didn't know it then. " Regiomutano was widely used because the calculations given in it were very accurate. Its creator recorded several lunar eclipses, and his curiosity led him to make the observation that the length of the ocean could be estimated by calculating the lunar distances. He even observed a comet in 1472, which was discovered 'for the first time' 210 years ago by astronomer Edmund Haley. In this regard, a copy of a calendar published in 1482 is preserved in the archives of the University of Glasgow. This (calendar) was an indispensable aid for cartographers, sailors and astrologers. In fact, it was the weapon with which Columbus 'predicted' a lunar eclipse on February 29, 1504, and saved himself and his men from starvation. After a long wait, help finally arrived at the end of June this year.