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Thursday, October 12, 2017


This surviving Mappa Mundi is believed to have been drawn in 1500, it measures 72” x 37 1/2”
In a few days, the U.S. government is expected to release long-hidden files on the JFK Assassination, but another mystery is still unsolved and that goes back to 1492.  To date, despite many historians efforts over the centuries, no positive proof exists of Christopher Columbus actual first landfall in the New World. Theories abound on where the landing site is, but what is known today is simply Columbus has no Plymouth Rock.

There is, however, some solace in knowing a map made by a crewmember/mapmaker along on the first voyage still exists (see above).

Here’s what the respected National Geographic Society has to say on the landfall mystery: “...On October 12, 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus made landfall in what is now the Bahamas. Columbus and his ships landed on an island that the native Lucayan Taino people called Guanahani. Columbus re-named it San Salvador.

“No one is quite sure where Guanahani/San Salvador is. Columbus describes the island as “very flat, with very green trees,” and a “very large lake in the middle.” That describes hundreds of islands and atolls in the Bahamas! Columbus isn’t even clear if Guanahani/San Salvador is a single island or a small archipelago.

It had to be a professional 
cartographer’s dream to be 
along on several of Columbus’s 
four voyages to the New World.
DelaCosa paid the price for 
his daring.  Natives in Colombia 
shot him with a poisoned arrow, 
and he died there.

“Juan de la Cosa was a cartographer sailing with Columbus. (He was also the owner of Columbus’ largest vessel, the Santa Maria.) De la Cosa made a map of the voyage years later. While he rather accurately represents the position and shape of the islands we know as Cuba and Hispaniola, the position of Guanahani/San Salvador is unclear.

“Historically, most people thought the island first sighted by Columbus’ crew was Watlings Island. In fact, the name of the island was changed to San Salvador in 1925. (It is still called San Salvador today.) However, a National Geographic investigation in the 1980s claimed the real site of Guanahani/San Salvador is the uninhabited island of Samana Cay. Still, other historians think Guanahani/San Salvador is the nearby Plana Cays.”

Today, Juan de la Cosa’s map is located in Madrid at the Museo Naval (brown building) along the beautiful Paseo del Prado

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