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The reception of Christopher Columbus by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of

This watercolor signed by the author in 1895, belonged to my grandfather. It measures 62.5 x 95 cm., and it will be shipped in a hard cardboard tube.

Even though it is clearly signed by the author, I have not been able to identify it.


In this watercolor, Columbus is portrayed as a hero, the Italian explorer commands the center of the composition as he boldly addresses the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, seen here on the right. In March of 1493, the explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and “Indian” captives.




The reception of Christopher Columbus by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of

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  • “Columbus born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans of Columbus’ day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St. Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world’s size, calculating that East Asia must lie approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed).

    Columbus met with King John II of Portugal and tried to persuade him to back his “Enterprise of the Indies,” as he called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella agreed to support his voyage.

    On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. On October 12, the expedition sighted land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas In December the expedition landed on Hispaniola. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and “Indian” captives in March 1493, and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was given the title “Admiral of the ocean sea,” and a second expedition was promptly organized.

    Fitted out with a large fleet of 17 ships, with 1,500 colonists aboard, Columbus set out from Cadiz in September 1493 on his second voyage to the New World. Landfall was made in the Lesser Antilles in November. Returning to Hispaniola, he found the men he left there slaughtered by the natives, and he founded a second colony Columbus returned to Spain in June 1496 and was greeted less warmly, as the yield from the second voyage had fallen well short of its costs.

    Isabella and Ferdinand agreed to a smaller third voyage and instructed Columbus to find a strait to India. In May 1498, Columbus left Spain with six ships, three filled with colonists and three with provisions for the colony on Hispaniola.

    Returning to Hispaniola, he found that conditions on the island had deteriorated under the rule of his brothers, Diego, and Bartholomew. Columbus’ efforts to restore order were marked by brutality, and his rule came to be deeply resented by both the colonists and the native Taino chiefs. In 1500, Spanish chief justice Francisco de Bobadilla arrived at Hispaniola, sent by Isabella and Ferdinand to investigate complaints, and Columbus and his brother were sent back to Spain in chains.

    He was immediately released upon his return, and Ferdinand and Isabella agreed to finance the fourth voyage.  In May 1502, Columbus left Cadiz on his fourth and final voyage to the New World.

    In November 1504, Columbus returned to Spain. Queen Isabella, his chief patron, died less than three weeks later. Although Columbus enjoyed a substantial revenue from Hispaniola gold during the last years of his life, he repeatedly attempted (unsuccessfully) to gain an audience with King Ferdinand, whom he felt owed him further redress. Columbus died on May 20, 1506.”

    Christopher Columbus. Editors, A&E Television Networks. February 9, 2010

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