MEETING OF ALONSO SÁNCHEZ DE HUELVA WITH CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS ON MADEIRA ISLANDS - PART I

Theoretically, half of Floridian peninsula, Anthills, Mexico and South America became properties of Portugal. After “Aeterna Regis” came into force, historians began to note that, America had been discovered by Portuguese seamen before 1481 and this fact had been kept secret till the convenient time. This thought was defended by all annalists of XVI century – Bartolome de las Casas, Francisco Lopez de Gomara and Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes, even Peruvian annalist Garcilaso de la Vega (son of the Ink prince and the hidalgo of Estremadura) mentioned name of Alonso Sanchez de Huelva as the seaman, who discovered the continent. Besides it, Jorje Blon, Francisco de Gomara Alonso and others noted that Huelva had met Christopher Columbus.
 
              
                                 
     Bartolomeo de las Casas (1484-1566)              Gonzalo Fernandes de Oviedo y Valdes (1478-1557)
 
According to historical sources, Christopher Columbus travelled to Portugal for the next time in 1478 and settled in Madeira Islands for several years. The Genoese seaman got acquainted with his future wife Felipa de Perestrella there and married her in 1479. This marriage was windfall for Columbus. Owners of home where he had entered had been participants of expeditions organized by Enrique and other kings. Father of Felipa was from Lombardy and died twenty years ago. He had become nobleman of Enrique for his services in sea travels of Portugal and had been appointed governor of Porto Santo Island (Felipa’s brother became governor of that island after Columbus’s death).
According to information given by the merchant and sea traveler of Venice Alvise Cadamosto, father-in-law of Columbus was well-known colonialist. Columbus could find several documents about different travels of Portuguese in the Atlantic Ocean. Those documents helped him in preparation of the project about the discovery of the western part of the mentioned ocean.
 
                                                

                                                        Felipa da Perestrella (1451-1497)
 
Christopher Columbus started to learn practical navigation in Porto Santo and after travelling to Azores enlarged knowledge in expeditions to Guinea realized in 1482 and 1483. According to sources, Columbus was appointed commander of two vessels in accordance with representation sent by his brother-in-law to the king of Portugal when sailed towards Guinea and he could reach San Jorge da Mina port built by Diego Azanbuj on coasts of Guinea.
In 1484 Alonso Sanchez de Huelva, who was from the settlement of Niebla (Huelva), used to carry some goods from Spain to Canaries with his vessel. He carried fruits from Canaries to Madeira, then brought sugar and jam from Madeira to Spain. Ones Alonso Sanchez met with heavy hurricane when sailed from Canaries to Madeira. He sailed for about 28 or 29 days under the influence of that hurricane and approached an unknown island in the ocean. It is supposed that, that island was today’s Santo Domingo. People came to that conclusion as the hurricane (east wind) blew in the direction from Canaries to Solano.1
Ones a wrecked vessel approached the coast of Porto Santo. Columbus noticed one weakened navigator among survived seamen. One of seamen raved about songs of motley birds, unknown animals and colored people. The vessel had been sailing from the west and struck the coast. Christopher Columbus took half-dead navigator home.
He looked after his guest and it became clear that, navigator’s name was Alonso Sanchez de Huelva. After getting better, Alonso Sanchez explained everything that happened to them. It became clear that, they had lost their way in the dark sea (then Atlantic Ocean was called like that) and reached very charming island. Sanchez informed his liberator about the place where the island was situated.2 After it he died as other survived seamen of the wrecked vessel.3
According to Peruvian annalist Garcilaso de la Vega, historian Francisco Lopez de Gomara had written about the adventure of Alonso Sanchez de Huelva in his work “General history of India”. Son of the Ink prince caviled at that work as following: “De Gomara heard this information from ordinary persons – seamen and civil people, his father and father’s authoritative friends, including people, who were close to the palace”.
 
                   
                      
          Garsilaso de la Vega (1539-1616)                   Francisco Lopes de Gomara (1511-1566)
 
This adventure was told by the bishop Joseph Acosta for the first time. When he was in Peru, he heard that, one seaman had discovered coasts of the New World at the result of heavy hurricane and showed the way to Columbus as the Genoese seaman helped him after the catastrophe happened on the way to Madeira. Columbus told this story to some acquaintances including courtiers, and they helped him in organization of the expedition.4  
 
                                                  

                                                Alonso Sanchez de Huelva
 
    (Continue of article: “Alonso Sánchez de Huelva didn't play any role in discovery of the New World”)
 
                    Best regards, the member of Azerbaijan Geographic Society,
               President grant holder on literature, laureate of the “Golden pen” award,                            
                                               writer/ investigator Ramiz Daniz
                                                    
                                           email: [email protected],
                                           [email protected]
 
 
 
 

     1 Горсиласо де ла Вега. Текст воспроизведен по изданию, История государства Инков. Л. «Наука». 1974. стр. 16-17.
      2 Жорж Блон, «Атлантический океан», стр. 15.
      3 Франциско-де-Гомара. «Общая история Индий», 1552 г., XIII глава, «Первая открытия Индии».
           4 Горсиласо де ла Вега. Текст воспроизведен по изданию, История государства Инков. Л. «Наука». 1974. стр. 17-18.
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