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sophical systematiser, a practical chemist, a christian teacher,
and a person skilled in navigation. He says in his book
entitled ^^Fenix de las maravillas del orbe,'^ written in 1^86^
that mariners made use in his time of ^^ measuring instrU'^
ments, of sea charts, and of magnetic needles/^ (^®^) The
early voyages of the Catalans ^o the north coast of Scotlan<i
and to the west coast of tropical Africa, (Don Jayme Eerrer,f
in the month of August 1346, reached the mouth of the
« Bio de Ouro), and the discovery of the Azores (the Bracix
Islands of Pieigano's map of the world in 1367) by the*
Normans, remind us that the open western ocean was navi-
gated long before Columbus. That navigation of the high
seas which, under the Eoman empire, had been ventured
upon in the Indian Ocean between Ocelis and the coast of
Malabar in reliance upon the regularity of the periodical
direction of the winds, (^^^j ^^s here performed under ihja
guidance of the magnetic needle.

The application of astronomy to navigation was prepared
by the influence which, from the thirteenth to the fifteenth
century, was exerted, in Italy by Andalone del Nero and
John Bianchini who corrected the Alphonsine astronomicalr
tables, and in Germany by Nicolaus of Cusa, (*03) Georg von
reuerbach, and Eegiomontanus. Astrolabes capable of being
.used at sea for the determination of time, and of geographical
latitudes by meridian altitudes, underwent gradual improvQ^

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^ent from the instruments nsed by the pflots of Majorca de-
scribed by Raymond Lnlly {^^) in 1295, in his '^ Arte de
Navegar/^ to that which Martin Behaim made in 1484 at^
Lisbon, ajid which was perhaps only a simplification of the
meteoroscope of his friend Regiomontanus. When the Infante
Henry (Duke of Viseo) the great encourager of navigation^
and himself a navigator, founded a school of pilots at Sagres,
Maes]tro Jayme of Majorca was named its director. Martiu
BeJiaim was desired by king John 11. of Portugal to compute
tables for the sun's declination, and to instruct pilots to
'^ navigate by the altitudes of the sun and stars/' Whether
the log line, which makes it possible to estimate the length,
of the course passed over, whilst the direction is given by the
compass, was known as early as the end of the fifteenth
century, cannot be determined, but it is certain that Pigafetta^
a companion of Magellan, speaks of the log (la catena ^
poppa) as of a long known meaps of measuring the distance
passed over. (*o^)

The influence of Arabian civilisation on Spanish and
Portuguese navigation, through the astronomical schools o£
Cordova, Seville, and Granada, is not to be overlooked : the
large instruments of Cairo and Bagdad were imitated on s^
small scale for maritime use. The names were also trans-
ferred ; the " astrolabon'' which Martin Behaun attached to
the main mast belongs originally to Hipparchus. When^
Vasco de Gama landed on the east coast of Africa, he
fomid the Indian pilots at Melinda acquainted with,
the use of astrolabes and cross staffs. {^^) Thus, by
intercommunication consequent on more extended inter-
course between nations, as weU as by original inven-*
tion, and by the mutual aidai to advancement furnished b{

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mathematical and astronoimcal knowledge^ every tfaing ^
gradually prepared for the great geographical achievement^
"which have distinguished the close of the fifteenth and tho
early portion of the sixteenth centuries, or the tWrty years
fix>m 1492 to 1522, 'namely,— the discovery of tropicai
America, the rapid determination of its form, the passago
round the southern point of Africa to India, and the firs*
circumnavigation of the globe. Men^s minds were also
stimulated and rendered more acute to receive the immense
Accession of new phenomena, to work out the results of what
was thus obtained, and by their comparison to render them
available for the formation of higher and more general views
of the physical Universe.

It will suffice to allude here to a few only of the principal
dements of these higher views, which were capable of con-
ducting men to a farfher insight into the connection of the
jihenomena of the globe. In a careful study of the original
works of the earliest historians of the Conquista, we often
discover with astonishment in the Spanish writers of the
sixteenth century the germ of important physical truths.
A.t the sight of a continent in the wide waste of waters far
removed from other lands, many of the important questions
which occupy us in the present day presented themselves to
the awakened curiosity both of the first voyagers and of those
who collected their narrations; — questions respecting the
inity of the human race, and its deviations from a common
normal type ; — ^the migrations of nations, and the relationship
of languages which often shew greater differences in thor
radical words than in their flexions or grammatical forms ,—
flie possibility of the migration of particular species of plants

animals^; — ^the cause of the trade winds, and of the constant

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cuireuts of the ocean; — ^the regular decrease of temperature
OIL the declivities of the Cordilleras^ and in successive strata
of water in descending in the depths of the ocean; — and on
tbe reci^ocal operation upon each other of the different vd-
qanoes forming chains^ and their influence on the frequency of
cjurthquakes as well as on the extent of the circles of commotion.
The groundwork of what we now term physical geography,
(abstracting from it mathematical considerations^ is found
in the Jesuit Joseph Acosta^s '^ Historia natural y moral de
las LidiaSy^' as well as in the work by Gonzalo Hernandez de
Oviedo, which appeared only twenty years after the death
of Cohnpbiia. l^ever^ once the commencement of civil
society^ was there an epoch in which the sphere of ideas as
r^ards the external world and geographical relations was so
suddenly and wonderfully enlarged^ or in which the desire
of observing nature under different latitudes and at different
elevations above the level of the sea^ and of multiplying the
means by which her secrets might be interrogated^ was more
keenly felt.

It has^ perhapei, as I have elsewhere remarked^ (^^^) been
csETcmeously supposed^ that the value of these great discoveries
€»ch of which in turn promoted others,— of these twofold
conquests in the physical and in the intellectual world, — was
x^ot felt until its recognition in our own days, when the
lostory of the intellectual cultivation of mankind is made a
subject of philosophic study« Such ^a supposition ia
Zfifated by the writings of the cotemporaries of Columbus,
The feelings of the most talented among them anticipated
&e influence which the events of the latter part of the fif-
teenth century would exert on mankinds Peter Martyr (]e
4HgKiArft (408^ fi^s^Jn^ his letters written in 1493 and 149^

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'^ Every day brings to us new wonders from a new world,
firom those western antipodes which a certain Genoese
(Christophorus quidam vir Ligur) has discovered. Sent by
our monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, he could with diffi- -
culty obtain three ships, since what he said was regarded as
fabulous. Our friend Pomponius Lsetus'^ (one of the mosi
distinguished promoters of classical literature, and perse-
cuted at Borne on account of his religious opinions), ^' could,
hardly refirain from tears of joy, when I gave him the first
tidings of an event so unhoped for.^'' Anghiera, from whom
these words are taken, was a highly intelligent and distin-
guished statesman at the court of Ferdinand the Catholic
and Charles V., was once sent as ambassador to Egypt, and
was a personal friend of Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Se-
bastian Cabot, and Cortes. His long life comprised the
discovery of the westernmost of the Azores (Corvo), and the
expeditions of Diaz, Columbus, Gama, and Magellan. Pope
Leo X. '' continued to a very late hour in the nighf read-
ing to his sister and the cardinals, Anghiera^s Oceanica.
Anghiera says, '' henceforward I would not willingly leave
Spain again, for I am here at the fountain-head of the tid-
ings from the newly discovered lands, and T may hope, bs
the historian of such great events, tcf obtain for my name
some fame with posterity. (*09y^ Thus vividly did cotempo-'
raries feel the splendour of events, of which the remem -
brance will survive through ull ages.

Columbus, in sailing westward of the meridian of the'
Azores, through an entirely ui^explored sea, and employing
fhe newly-improved astrolabe for the determination of hir
position, sought the east of Asia by the western route, not
as an adveutuiefi but according to a preconceived and*

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steadfastly pursued plan. He had indeed on board, the sea-
chart; which the Florentine physician and astronomer, Tos-
canelli, had sent to him in 1477, and which fi%-three years
«iler his death was still in the possession of Bartholomew
de las Casas. According to the manuscript history of las Casas
which I have examined, this was the Carta de Marear, (*i®)
which the Admiral shewed, on the 25th of September, 1492,
to Martin Alonso Pinzon,' and on which several out-lying
islands were drawn. But if Columbus had only followed
the chart of his counsellor Toscanelli, he would have held A
more northern course, and have kept along a parallel of
latitude from Lisbon; instead of this, in the hope of reaching
Zipangu (Japan) more quickly, he sailed for half the distance
in. the latitude of Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, and
subsequently diminishing his latitude, found himself on the
7th of October 1492, in 25-i^°. Uneasy at not having yet
discovered the coasts of Zipangu, which according to his
reckoning he should have met with two hundred and sixteen
nautical, miles more to the East, he, after a long debate, gavd
way to the commander of the Caravel Pinta, Martin Alonsd
Pinzon, (one of the three rich and influential brothers who
were hostile to Columbus), and steered towards the south-
west. The course thus altered, led on the 12th of October^
to the discovery of Guanahani.

We must here pause a while, in order to notice a very
lemarkable instance of the wonderful enchainment and
Connection, which links small and apparently trivial occur-
lencea with great events aflfecting the world's destiny*.
Washington Irving has justly stated, that if Columbus, resist-*
ing the counsel of Martin Alonso Pinzon, had continued to sail
l»towarda the west, hewouH have entered the wana curren*

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«£ the Gulf stream^ have reached Florida^ and thence perhapi
htve been carried to Cape Hatteras and Yirginia; a drcnnb-
stance of immeasorable importance^ since it might have given

population, instead of a kter arriving Protestant En^k ona
^'It ib/' said Pinzon to the Admiral, ^as if 8ometlmigwy»-
pered to my heart (el corazon me da) that we must dlange
our course.^^ He even maintained in the eey)rated lawsuit
(1513-1515), whiois he ccmducted agamst the heirs ct
Columbus, that on this account the dboovery of ^mtyn^
WAS due to him only. Sut Pinzon owed in &ct this
suggestion, (sr what ^ his heart whii^>ered tohii%'' a& an oU
sailor from Moguer related in the same lawmxit, to tbft fH^
of a floek of parrots which he saw Sjing in the evening
towards the southwest^for the purpose^ as he might suppose^
of sleeping amoi^ trees or bushes on shore. Never had
the fli^. of birds more important ccmsequesices^ It magr
be said to have detaimned the first settlements on the new
Continent^ and its distribution between the Latm and
Gennanic races (*").

The mardi of great eveats, like the sequaiee of natonl
j^tenomena, is regulated by laws of which a few only aw
known to us* The fleet which £ing "Rmn^yt^ of Portugal seni
under the command of Pedro Alvarez Cabral to India, hf
ilie route discovered by Ghana, was driven out ol its course
to the coast of Biaz% on the twenty-seomd of April, 1500.
I'ram tke zeal wbieh, £rom tite time of the enterioise el
JXm (1487), tibe Pbrtuguese shewed for sdling round Umi
Oqpe of Good Bope^ acddoits similar to tiiose which th6
euRents of ^ oeeaa occasioned to the Aipt of Cbbrat
Qcold harditf ham fidled to oeeiv. Tbm the Afiacaa

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discoveries would have led to that of America sovth of
the equ9>tor; and £obertson was justified in describing it m
in the destiny of mankind^ that before the end of the fifteenth
eentniy Ae new continent should be known to European

Amongst the characteristic qaalities poesessed by Ghzis*
topher Columbus^ we mi^t especially distinguish the peaoe*-
trating glance and keen sagacity with which^ though without
learned or scientific culture^ and without acquired knowledge
in physics or in natural history, he could seize and combine
the various phenomena of the external world. On arrivixK
''in a new world and under a new heaven/' (*i^) he noticed
carefully the form of ihe land, the phy^ognomy ef the
vegetation, the habits of the animals, the distribution ot
heat^ and the v^ticms of the earth's magnetism. The qU
navigator, whilst endeavouring to find the spices of Indmi
and the rhubarb (ruibarba) which had already acquired so
mudb celebrity through Arabian and Jewish ,{^ysician% and
through the reports of Hubruqms and the Italian travellesi^
examined very dosely the roots, fruits, and form of the leaves
of the plants which fell under his observation. In thii
portion of our work, where we desire to recal the influenee
which the great epoch of nautical enterprizes and discovmee
exercised on the enlargement of men's views of nature, ouf
descriptions wiU become more animated by being attadied
to the individuality of a great man. In the journal d hie
voyage and in his accounts, which were published for the
first time between 1825 and 1829^ we find allusions te
ehnost all the subjects to which sei^tific activity was aftei-
wards directed in the ktter half of the fiftemth and Hm
whole of the sixteenth oentuiies*

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It is sufficient to recal in a general manner, all that the
geography of the western hemisphere gamed from the period,
when, at his country seat, Per9a Naval, on the beautiful bay
of Sagres, the Infante Dom Henry the Navigator sketched his
first plan of discovery, to the epoch of the South Sea expedi-
tions of Oaetano and Cabrillo. The daring enterprizes of the
Portuguese, the Spaniards, and the English, testify how
powerfully the desire for the great and boundless in geogra-
phical space had made itself felt, suddenly opening as it
were a new sense. The advances in the art of navigation,
tind the apphcation of astronomical methods to the correction
of a ship's reckoning, favoured the efforts which gave to this
Bge its peculiar character, and disclosed to men the trud
features of the globe which they inhabit. The discovery of
the mainland of tropical America, which took place on the 1st
of August, 1498, was seventeen months later than Cabot's
arrival ojff the Labrador coast of North America. Columbus
first saw the Terra firma of South America, not as has been
hitherto believed on the mountainous coast of Paria, but in the
Delta of the Orinoco east of Cano Macareo. (*^3) Sebastian
Cabot (*") landed on the 24th of June, 1497, on the coasfc
of Labrador between 56° and 58^ of latitude. I have
ehewn aboVe that this inhospitable coast had been visited
five centuries earUer by the Icelander Leif Erikson.

Columbus on his third voyage set more value on thd
pearis of the islands of Margarita and Cubagua, than on the
discovery of the Terra firma; as he was persuaded until Hs
death, that, in his first voyage, when at Cuba in November
i492, he had akeady touched a part of the continent
of Asia. (*i5) pjQnj hence (as his son Don Pemando,
and his Mend the Cura de los Palacios, relate,) if he had

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Iffd snfBieiait provisional Us design would haaFa been ta
hanre continaed Ids navigation towards ^ wesl^ and to ha?9
xetMBed to Spain^ (^^^) catiber bj water^ passing hf Ceyba
(Tft^bane) and ^rodeando toda la iijsam, de b&Negcos,^^ ox
by Itod> by Jerosakm and Jaffii. Such were tba i^ojecta
wbich CblnmbiHr dberisbed in 14^^ propodbog to himself
Ike circumnavigation of like ^obe^ four years before Yasoa
d& Gama^ asd twenty-seveot years before MagellasL and Sebask
tian de^Mcano. The preparation for Cabof s aecond voyage^
in which he penetrated among masses of ice as fac as 67^^
ITorth latitude^ seeking a Nottb^-West passage to Catbqr
(China)^ ted him to iStmik el a voyage to the Nortti pole^. (a
]» del pola aretice}^ to be made at some fatore pmed. (^^7}
de m(»e it became gradoalfy recognised^ that the newly-dia*
covered knds forsied a eonneeted continent stretdnng unin?*
iermptedly from Labrador to Urn promontory of "Frntk, — and
ev^n as the celebrated latdiy-discoTered map of Jmm de la Cosa
(ISOO) shewed^ liar beyond Ijke eqnator into tiw Soiithem
kemisphere, — ^the more ardent became the desire to find •
^passage to the westward^ ei&er in the N(»!th or in the
South. Next to the xediscoviry of the AmmG&BL cim^tinesgi^
and the conviction of its eitension in the direction of tho
meridian from Hncbon^^ S^y to Gape Bora (diseovered by
Cteda Jofre de Loaysa,) (*i») tiie kno^^edge of the iSoufli '
Sea or the PiMdficOcean^whidi bathes titeWertemeoasts of
America^ was the most impoftant eosmkal oeeGyExence in tha
peat epoch whidi we are now d^cribn^.

Tem years be£(»e Balboa obtained the first mf^ of &e
South Sea:^ from tiie summit of the S^ecra de Quarequa oa
fke isthmus of Panama;, Ciolumbus in sailmg alcmg the coast
tf Teragua, had already xensvad distinct aiCQGOiits of a sea

^^^' "• . '^ Digitized by L^OOgle

268 Epocas m the histobt of the contempiatioji o^

to the westward of that laad, "which would conduct in less-*
than nine days' voyage to the Chersonesus aurea of Ptolemy^
fflid to the mouth of the Ganges/' In the same Carta
V rarissima which contains the beautiful and highly poetic
* narration of a dream, the Admiral says that at the part near
the Bio del Belen '^the two opposite coasts of Veragua are.
situated relatively to each other like Tortosa near the
Mediteranean and Fuenterrabia in Biscay, or like Venice
and Pisa*'' This southern or western sea, the great Pacific
ocean, wsLs at that time still regarded as only a continuation
6f the Sinus Magnus (jieyaQ jcoXirog) of Ptolemy, beyond
whi<5h lay the golden Chersonesus, whilst Cattigarat and ihet
land of the Sinae (Thinse) was supposed to form its eastern'
shore. The fanciful hypothesis of Hipparchus, accordii^
to which this eastern coast of the great Gulf, or SinuSv
liagnus, joined itself on to a part of the continent of Africa;
lidvancmg far to the East, (*^9) (thus making the Indian ocean»
a closed inland sea,) was happily Uttle regarded in the middle
%es, notwithstanding their attachment to the opinions of
Ptolemy; it would doubtless have exercised an unfavourable
influence on the direction of the great nautical enterprizes
i){ the age.

The discovery and navigation of the Pacific, mark an epocsb
60 much the more important in reference to the recognition
of great <30smical relations, as it was by their means, and
fecarcely thta-efore three centuries and a half ago, that not
only the western coast of America and the eastern coast of
Aaa were first known, but also, what is of much greater
importance, on account of the meteorological results
which follow from it, that the prevailing highly erroneous
Views ^respecting the relative areas of land and water upoa

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the surface of the globe, were first dispelled*^^ The relativd
magnitude and distribution of these areas are most in-
fluential conditions in determining the quantity of moisture
contained in the air, the variations of atmospheric pressure^
the degree of vigour and luxuriance of vegetation^ the more
or less extensive distribution of particular kinds of animals,
and many other great and general physical phenomena. The
larger extent of fluid surface (in the proportion of 2^ to 1),
does indeed restrict the habitable range for the settlements of
man, and for the nourishment of the greater number of
mammalia, birds, and reptiles; but it is nevertheless, undei:
the present laws which govern organised beings, a beneficent
arrangement and necessary condition for the preservation
and well being of all the living inhabitants of continents.

When at the end of the fifteenth century there arose an
earnest and pressing desire to find the shortest way io the
Asiatic spice lands, — and when the idea of reaching the East,
by sailing to the West, germinated almost simultaneously in
the minds of two men of Italy, the navigator Columbus,
and the physician and astronomer Paul Toscanelli, — (*20) it
liras generally believed, in conformity with the opinion put
forward by Ptolemy in HiQ Almagest, that the old continent,
from the western coast of the Iberian peninsula to the
meridian of the easternmost Sinse, occupied a space of 180^j
or in other words, that it extended from East to West,
over an entire half of the globe. Columbus, misled by ft
long §dnes of erroneous inferences, extended this space to
240°, making the desired eastern coast of Asia advance as far
as the meridian of San Diego in New California. Columbus
hoped therefore that he would only have to sail over 120%
instead of the 231° which the rich trading city of Quinsay,
for example, is actually dtuated to the westward of tho


^stranit^ of tke Ibeoaii p^misula» Toscaoelli^ in Im
^ecre^iideiice with the Admiral, dunimshed Hie breadth o£
Hie eeean m a manner still more singular and more favonr-
able to his plana. He made the distance by sea &om.
PtnrtagaL to China only 52^ of bngitude^ leavii^ according
tathe anoieni saying olEsdras^siiL-sevenths of the earth diy.
Cohmibus^ in a letter which he addressed to Queen Isabdia
from, Hayti immediately after the accomplishm^it of hia
third vi^^Ege^ shewed himself the more inclined towards this
^w, beeanse it was the same which had been defended by
the man wiiom he regarded as the highest authority, Cardind
d'Ailly, m his " Imago Mnndi/' (*2i)

Six years after Balboa sword in hand and advancing up
to his knees in the waves had claimed possession of the
eaitire South Sea for CastiUe^ and two years after his head
^ad fallen by the hand of tiie executioner in the revolt
against the tyrannical Fedrarias Davila, (^^^) Magellan
agp^red in the Pacific (27 November 15£0), and navigated
the wide ocean for more than ten thousand geographical
jailea; by a singular fatality seeing only, — ^before discover-
ing the Marianas, (his Islas de bs Ladrones or de las Yelas
Latinas), and the Philippines^ — two small uninhabited ialandft
(the Desventuradas or Unfortunate islands), one of which, 3
we mi^t trust his journal and ship's reckoning, would be
to the East of the Low Islands, and the other a little to tba
Sk>uth West of the Archipelago of Mendana. (^^) Sebastian
de Elcano, after tibe murder of Magellan in the island oiZebu^i
cosseted the first circumnavigation of the globe in the ship
Victoria, and received for his armorial bearings a terrestrial
gkbe^ with the ^orious inscription : ''Primus circumdedistj
nje.^' He entered the harbour of San Lucar in September
l&SS 1 and before an entire year had elapsed, we find, tha

Emperor tJharles urging, in a letter 'to Hernando OcnteSy
the diecoveiy of a passage ^'•whicJi shonld shorten the cKb-
tance to the spice lands ty two-thirds/' The expedition of
Alvaro de Saavedra was sent from a harbonr of the province
id Zacatnla <m the west coast of Memco, to the MofaiooRS^
and in 1527, Hernando Cortes wrote, feom ihe newly
conquered Mexican capital of Tenocbtflan, "to fhe Kngt
rf Ze^bn and Tidor in the Asiatic Archipelago.'* So afapid
was the enlargement of the geographical horizon/ Rndwitk
it the desire for Bn extensive and animated intercourse wife

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