During the research for my bachelor thesis 2015, Christopher Columbus’ travels and the related “rediscovery” of America were an important and interesting starting point. “Rediscovered” and “Discovered” in quotation marks, because Columbus was not the first European to reach America. The Vikings had already sailed to Newfoundland 500 years earlier, around the year 1000, which was confirmed by finds of settlement remains around 1960. The word “discovered” is also misleading here, because it suggests that America was discovered, although people already lived there and of course they cannot discover themselves. That as a historical context.
In my bachelor thesis I used a map to show what Columbus’ planned route (to Japan) would have looked like and how far away he was from his set destination when he landed in the Caribbean. One thing is quite clear: Columbus was lucky enough to reach America. The sailors would not have been able to survive the journey to Japan across the Pacific Ocean, which was still unknown at that time. Thus America saved his life. But he was not happy with it.
The map shows the Caribbean in the foreground and (black) Japan in the background. The length ratios are exact, so that one can imagine how far away the destination of the journey was from Spain. I have added all four voyages of Columbus to the map.
In autumn 2018 I have artistically prepared the map again as a present for my sister.