Christopher Colombus

 - Explorer and discoverer of America -

( 1451 - 1506 )

* List of the stories he appears in :
- W OS 62-03  : "Mystery of the Swamp", from 1944, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- W OS 256-02 : "Luck of the North", from 1949, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- W US 29-01  : "Island in the Sky", from 1959, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- W US 45-01: "Isle of Golden Geese", from 1963, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- W US 53-01 : "Interplanetary Postman", from 1964, by Carl Barks (by name only) ;
- D 92380 : "Guardians of the Lost Library", from 1993, by Don Rosa ;
- D 94144 : "The Lost Charts of Columbus", from 1995, by Don Rosa ;
- D 2001-024 : "The Crown of the Crusader Kings", from 2001, by Don Rosa.


* His biography :
     Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italia, in 1451, to a family of wool weavers.
   He became an experienced sailor and moved to Lisbon, Portugal to try and gain support for a new journey he was planning. He visited the courts of the kings and queens of Europe asking for help and money. Finally King Ferdinand and Isabella, the king and queen of Spain, agreed to support him.
   In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Europeans wanted to find sea routes to the East. Columbus wanted to find a new route to the Far East, to India, China, Japan and the Spice Islands, to bring back rich cargoes of silks and spices. Columbus knew that the world was round and realised that by sailing west, instead of east around the coast of Africa, as other explorers at the time were doing, he would still reach the East and the rich Spice Islands. Columbus thought that by sailing west he would find a quicker and easier route to the East. He thought that the earth was smaller than it is, and like all other Europeans at that time, he did not know about the existence of America.
   In 1492 Columbus set sail from Palos in Spain with three ships : the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He landed on an island in the Bahamas which he named San Salvador, and claimed the island for the king and queen of Spain. Columbus called all the people he met in the islands Indians because he was sure that he had reached the Indies. When Columbus reached Cuba, he thought it was the mainland of Japan. On Christmas Day 1492, the Santa Maria hit a rock and was wrecked. Columbus transferred to the Niña and left behind the crew members of the Santa Maria on the island of Hispaniola  (now divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic). He wanted them to start a new settlement, which he called the Navidad ("Christmas"). Columbus reached Spain in March 1493, claimed his reward in riches, and was made Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Governor of the Indies.
   On a second, larger expedition, from 1493 to 1496 he sailed around Hispaniola and along the length of southern Cuba to find gold and capture Indians as slaves, which irritated Queen Isabella. During his return, he faced a frightful storm during which he was again separated from the Pinta, when he had to moor in Lisbon, Portugal. He arrived at Palos, Spain, in March, 1493.
   In the third expedition, from 1498 to 1500, in which Columbus sailed farther south, to Trinidad and Venezuela, the monarchs decided upon sending to Haiti an officer to investigate and to punish the people who would treat the Indians with inhuman customs, and in 1500, Columbus is arrested and sent home in chains.
   In 1502, after his liberation, Columbus made a fourth and last expedition, sailed to Mexico, Honduras, Panama and Santiago. He landed on the South American mainland, but he never did set foot on the mainland of North America.
   Columbus died in 1506, in Valladolid, Spain, still believing that he had found a new route to the East Indies.

* His place in the Barks/Rosa stories universe :
    First, in "Mystery of the Swamp", Donald tells he'd want to be an explorer such as Colombus or Drake.
   In "Luck of the North", Donald finds an old map in a Viking ship which is said to have been used to discover America, long before Colombus. But we're not told whether the Viking is Leif Eriksson (Erik the Red's son who is said to have discovered America), Olaf the Blue (another Viking from Barks' "The Golden Helmet" who is said to have discovered America in 901, before Leif), or another Viking...
   In "Island in the Sky", in which  Scrooge is searching for a desert asteroid to hide his money, he discovers little people,  who treat Scrooge as did the Indians with Colombus.
   In "Isle of Golden Geese", when Scrooge presents an old cannon to defend himself against Magica and the Beagle Boys, Huey tells that it's "the last thing sold at every rummage sale since Colombus".
   In "Interplanetary Postman", when Scrooge leaves Duckburg for Venus in a Rocket, he's told by a guy in a plane "May the spirits of the Vikings, of Colombus, and of the men of the Pony Express be with you, Mister McDuck!"
   In "Guardians of the Lost Library", it's said that Colombus, also called Christobal Colon in Spain, had been helped by the Lost Library of Alexandria, which Lorenzo de Medicis made him buy when he was a bookseller, to find "the route to the East Indies". He had to hide the books for Medicis not to get them, and in 1498, he took them to his manor in Hispaniola island, but finally, King Ferdinand of Spain learnt about the books and made him come back to Spain (that would be the true reason why Colombus had been imprisoned and put in irons and removed his title in 1450). It is told that he died in poverty and never recovered the books.
   In "The Lost Charts of Columbus", a sequel of the story above, Huey, Dewey and Louie find in a manuscript of the first Guidebook of the Canadian Junior Woodchucks some maps of parts of America which helped Colombus to find " the route to the East Indies" he must have got from the books of the Lost Library : One map of Florida from 1492 byJoao Vas Corte-Real, one of Mississippi by Prince Madoc of Wales from 1170, the one of Olaf the Blue from 901, one of the Irish abbot Brendan from the 600s, and one of the Chinese explorer Hui-Jen from 459 (Colombus copied this one from a book of Marco Polo). The Nephews finally find an older map in Cleopatra's tomb, by a Phenician from 425 before Christ.
   In "The Crown of the Crusader Kings", Scrooge finds Colombus' lost logbook (when Bartolomeu Dias, Colombus' Portuguese rival, took his boat in Lisbonne, Colombus gave it to a sailor who was supposed to bring it to the King, which he didn't do; so, when Colombus was back to Spain, he told his memories to the Queen's scribe, whose writing was the only source of information about the trip, so far). Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld had bought it in 1878 and lost it in Brutopia in the same year. Reading the book, Scrooge sees it speaks about the day of Christmas, 1492, when the Santa Maria hit a rock, and also of a crown hidden by a Templar. In the same story we learn that the Templars, who had relations with the kings Ferdinand of Spain and John II of Portugal, sponsored Colombus' trip, because he had to give a crown to the Great Khan, in Cathay (China).

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