2 oct. 2007

Nº 79: CRISTÓBAL COLÓN


Cristóbal Colón fue un marino que, al servicio de la Corona de Castilla, encontró una ruta segura desde Europa hasta América, arribando a ella el 12 de octubre de 1492. En su primera expedición partió el 3 de agosto de 1492 desde el puerto de Palos de la Frontera (Huelva). Su origen más probable es genovés (aunque algunos historiadores sostienen que procedía de la Corona de Aragón, del Reino de Galicia o del Reino de Portugal, entre otros). Realmente su origen es un absoluto enigma por haberse perdido mucho material, y por los intereses de varias provincias en adoptarlo como su hijo honorable. Al parecer, Colón sostenía que podía alcanzarse el lejano oriente (las Indias) desde Europa viajando hacia el oeste, y que era posible realizar el viaje por mar con posibilidades de éxito. En aquella época, los portugueses estaban buscando una ruta directa a Asia oriental bordeando África pero no permitían la intromisión de naves de otras naciones en sus aguas.
Colón proyectó su viaje con el fin de traer de Oriente mercancías, en especial especias y oro. Las especias, seda y otros productos habían llegado siempre por la ruta que atravesaba Asia hasta Europa, por Asia Menor y Egipto, pero a partir de la expansión del Imperio Otomano, esta vía se hizo difícil y quedó monopolizada por éstos y sus socios, los mercaderes italianos. Las naciones más ricas de la Europa de entonces, Portugal y Castilla, querían esas mercancías sin intermediarios. Los portugueses (cuya Reconquista acabó en el siglo XIII) se habían lanzado a navegar y habían encontrado el paso por el Cabo de Buena Esperanza, con ansias de crear su propio monopolio para competir con los comerciantes italianos, por lo que Castilla, al terminar su reconquista, hubo de buscar una ruta nueva.
Su llegada a América abrió también camino al envío hacia Europa de gran cantidad de alimentos que se cultivaban en esas tierras, como el maíz, la papa, el cacao, el tabaco, el pimiento, el zapallo, la calabaza, el poroto (nuevas variedades de judía o frijol) o la vainilla entre otros. Los investigadores han estimado que tres quintas partes de los cultivos actuales de todo el mundo fueron importadas desde América. En sentido inverso, la llegada de Colón llevó a América la rueda, el hierro, el caballo, el cerdo, el asno, el café, la caña de azúcar y las armas de fuego entre otras.
Falleció el 20 de mayo de 1506 en Valladolid. Dos años más tarde, su hijo Diego comenzó a entablar ante la justicia los llamados Pleitos Colombinos con el objeto de obtener la devolución a la familia Colón de los privilegios concedidos por los Reyes Católicos al descubridor de América.

14 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

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Anónimo dijo...

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Anónimo dijo...

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Anónimo dijo...

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