Today we continue with our bit of History 101 as we review the story of the journey to Thanksgiving. Last time we talked about Leif Ericson. He came oh so close. But they didn’t quite hit the area of land known today as the U.S. of A. And, they didn’t stay. A party of settlers that came out of his group only stayed about a year. Then they returned to Iceland.
Rumor of new lands to the West of Europe had begun to spread. And nations were on a race to settle it under the name of their crown, their language and their faith.
In the late 1400s, Columbus won favor with the Spanish Catholic King and Queen. People of wealth loved spices and silks.But they were quite hard to come by. Acquiring said niceties meant a very arduous journey over land that took them through Europe, across the Mid-East, then into India and China. If you could even successfully get there, you had to pray you were able to even make it safely back home with the goods. Weather, robbers lying in waiting…it was a treacherous route.
So, in 1492, in the name of Spain and as documentation states, “…for the promulgation of the Catholic church and faith…”, Columbus decided to get in a boat and head West– in order to find the East. Yes, you heard that correctly. He headed West. He just knew, if he sailed far enough, he’d find the land of silk and spices. “You can’t do that!” said the common folk. “You’ll fall off! Everyone knows the world is flat!” Columbus however, as well as educated scholars and navigators knew differently.
Now, in case you have forgotten, or if you didn’t get this part in school, in those days, if you wanted to get an education, you had to be wealthy. And, if you were wealthy, you sent your son to the monastery or other Catholic venue for a proper education. That is where the best schooling (if not most), took place. Interesting too, that was about the only place you would be able to find a library. Once you got there, you’d better speak and read Latin, or the contents of the library would be of very little use to you.
So, it’s quite possible that Columbus and his educated friends had access to the Scriptures. You’ll see what I mean when you read the below excerpts. The only copies of the Bible in those days were rare, and if you did have access to them, you most likely found them in LATIN in those sequestered Monastic libraries. Perhaps Columbus was so confident because he had access to those Scriptures and had actually read from them. Consider the following:
Job 26:10 “He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters
At the boundary of light and darkness.
Prov. 8:27 “When He established the heavens, I was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,
Is. 40:22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
PERHAPS — had the average people, the commoners, had access to the Scriptures as well, they might have known these words as well. But Europe, in general, was without the Word of God. The Scriptures were in the hands of and controlled by the powerful Catholic system at this time. Without education available except at the monasteries and palaces, if you weren’t in church or wealthy or educated you truly thought the world was flat.
Columbus knew better, and he truly believed the earth to be “small”. If he sailed west, he just knew he’d hit Asia for sure.
Ironically, he did find land. But his first landing was in what we know of today as the Bahamas. He called the island where he landed San Salvador, which in Spanish translates a THE SAVIOUR.
He later would sail around the Caribbean Islands and would land on Central America. But for some reason, he never quite got far enough North. He never did land on, nor have the opportunity to claim and settle the shores that would one day be referred to simply as America. That land would belong to another people group, of another faith and language, at another time. Stay tuned…
Just my thoughts.