Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Columbus finances a trip...........

     Before this, Columbus had conducted a long dalliance with King John II of Portugal, whom he nearly succeeded in convincing.  He sought out financial power brokers in both Genoa and Venice but came up short.  He sent his brother Bartolomeo to Henry VII of England with the astounding proposal.  Henry, father to Henry VIII and founder of the Tudor dynasty, whose claim to the throne was quite shaky, said he would think about it.  He thought and thought but had nothing more to say (at least not until it was too late).  Meanwhile, Columbus found himself at the Spanish court, spending nearly six seemingly sterile years in the attempt to lure the monarchs into financing.

     But after he had made his impressive presentation, his proposal would be turned over to the scholars of the court, the people who had read all the books Columbus cited and many more, which he had failed to mention.  Inevitably, the scholars would return to their monarch with the same conclusion:  Columbus was a crackpot, not an investment opportunity.  But, as we know only too well from recent dramas in our financial sector, sooner or later someone somewhere will make the investment.  In the event, that someone was Isabella la Catolica, reigning Queen of Spain.

-Thomas Cahill,  Heroes and Heretics

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