What Columbus knew February 4, 2013Posted by cantueso in history, Spain.
The Santa María, the Nina, and the Pinta at the Kennedy Space Center: the photo is free for non-commercial use from NASA at http://mix.msfc.nasa.gov/IMAGES/HIGH/9265044.jpg
1. The Earth is an oblate spheroid (roughly). The spheroid shape of the Earth was known to the Alexandrian Greeks at least by the third century before the Common Era.
2. Which way the trade winds blew, obtained from early journeys around the West Coast of Africa by Portugese sailors.
3. The existence of islands in the Atlantic even west of the Canaries, obtained from the Norse sailors, among the bravest and best seamen ever.
We can safely say Columbus knew he was not going to fall off the edge of the Earth. –
He did not know but might have guessed from stray stories about Leif Erricson, there was a continent or large island West of Greenland.