by Jorge Marín








external image isabel05.jpg First meeting with Catholic Monarchs



Columbus had asked an audience from the monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. He presented his plans to Queen Isabella in Alcalá de Henares the 20th of January 1486 , who, in turn, referred it to a committee. After a lot of time, these savants of Spain met at the University of Salamanca reported back that Columbus had judged the distance to Asia too short. They though that his idea was wrong and advised their Royal Highnesses to pass on the proposed trip.
However, to keep Columbus from taking his ideas elsewhere, and perhaps to keep their options open, the King and Queen of Spain gave him an annual allowance of 12,000 maravedis and in 1489 furnished him with a letter ordering all Spanish cities and towns to provide him food and lodging at no cost.

In December 1491, Columbus was asked to come to the royal camp of Santa Fe (Granada). His proyect was submited to a new committee, thanks to the support of the Queen, but it was rejected again, perhaps because of the exigences of Columbus.





Second meeting with Catholics Monarchs


After two years of negotiations at the Spanish court, he finally had success in 1492. Ferdinand and Isabella had just conquered Granada, the last Muslim territory on the Iberian peninsula, and they received Columbus in Córdoba, in the Alcázar castle. Isabella turned Columbus down on the advice of her confessor, and he was leaving the town by mule when Ferdinand intervened. Isabella then sent a royal guard to bring him back and Ferdinand later claimed credit for being "the principal cause why those islands were discovered".
About half of the financing was to come from private Italian investors, whom Columbus had already met. The monarchs, who had not much money after conquering Granada, left it to the royal treasurer to collect funds among various royal accounts for the enterprise. Columbus was to be made "Admiral of the Seas" and would receive a portion of all profits. The terms were unusually generous, but as his son later wrote, the monarchs did not really expect him to return.
According to the contract that Columbus made with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, (Capitulaciones de Santa Fe, April 17th 1492) if Columbus discovered any new islands or territories, he would receive many high rewards. In terms of power, he would be given the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and appointed Viceroy and Governor of all the new lands. He had the right to nominate three persons, from whom the sovereigns would choose one, for any office in the new lands. He would be entitled to 10 percent of all the revenues from the new lands in perpetuity; this part was denied to him in the contract, although it was one of his demands. Additionally, he would also have the option of buying one-eighth interest in any commercial venture with the new lands and receive one-eighth of the profits.


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