A Discovery In The Ocean Blue: Archeologists Believe That They Have Found The Wreck of the Santa Maria

250px-Christopher_Columbus_on_Santa_Maria_in_1492.There is some very exciting news off of the coast of Haiti where archeologists believe that they have located the sunken wreck of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus. American expedition leader Barry Clifford announced that they believe that it is in fact the ship that has been missing for five centuries.


The Santa María is believed to be a medium sized nau (carrack) that was about 58 ft long on deck and about 100 tons. It was larger than the smaller caravel-type ships Santa Clara, known as La Niña (“The Girl”), and La Pinta (“The Painted”).

In 2003, the team made discoveries that led them to this site. The location matches the diary entry of Columbus and the local currents fit perfectly with the description of how the ship drifted before sinking. Not only is the ship wreck the right size but they have a probable early cannon of exactly the type known to have been on-board the Santa Maria.

The Santa Maria is Basque built and sailed from southern Spain’s Atlantic coast via the Canary Islands in search of a new western route to Asia. Some 37 days later, it reached the Bahamas but ten weeks later got into trouble when it drifted onto a reef off the northern coast. Columbus was on board at the time. Columbus later built a fort in a nearby village and left many of his men in the fort. He then took the two remaining ships back to Spain to report that he found a western route to Asia.

The investigation into the wreck is being supported by the American TV network, the History Channel, which has secured the exclusive rights to produce a major television show on the expedition. That is a significant improvement from the awful programs that the History Channel has been promoting lately in a blind race for rating.

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.

Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.

Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.

Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.

October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!

“Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.

But “India” the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.

The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.

Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he’d been told.

He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.

The first American? No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.

Source: Independent

60 thoughts on “A Discovery In The Ocean Blue: Archeologists Believe That They Have Found The Wreck of the Santa Maria”

  1. bettykath, I know of no one who glorifies slavery vis a vis Columbus. What we glorify is his vision and courage to set out on a journey where most thought he would die. 300 years AFTER Columbus there was still slavery in the US. There is still slavery today in the world. I’m quite certain you would ask that we separate Bill Clinton’s failing as a husband and father from his accomplishments as a politician. Same thing.

  2. Paul, I made no judgement about de las Casas. I only said that he kept a diary.

    1. bettykath – that is my problem with your attack on Columbus. Columbus and las Casas were guilty? of the same thing, though it was legal under Spanish law. Using Zinn as a source, you condemn Columbus

      To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves, unwittingly, to justify what was done.,/blockquote>

      but you do not condemn las Casas for the same actions.

  3. Whether de las Casas was a Jesuit, a Dominican, or soldier or something else, he kept a diary and that was Zinn’s source.

    As to old morality vs new morality, there are people today who believe that slavery is a good thing. Most of them don’t call it slavery, but the result is the same. Does this mean that it is morally ok to perpetuate it, to glorify it and those who practice it?

    1. bettykath – it makes a big difference what las Casas was when. And there are some current historians who think he might have exaggerated his findings to help end the economedias. las Casas does not have clean hands in all of this. Today we might say he ‘evolved’ but that does that absolve him from what he did before? You condemn Columbus, but not las Casas.

  4. Zinn uses Columbus’ own reports and those of Bartolome’ de las Casas, the Jesuit who traveled with Columbus and kept a diary.

    What’s your source?

  5. Paul, that is such an ignorant comment. I really expected something better.

  6. Let’s try that first paragraph again…..

    Columbus wrote: “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”

    1. bettykath – I am not a fan of capturing the Arawak and taking them back to Spain, however, considering the times I can understand it and it make sense. One of the major mistakes that Zinn makes is that he inflicts 20th century morality on 16-19th century problems. A good historian uses the morality of the day, not today. Was the act morally wrong in 1492? Iffy.

  7. Columbus write, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order than they might learn and ming give me information of whatever this is in these parts.”

    In the year 1495 they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto the ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town who reported that, although the slaves were “naked as the day they were born,” they showed “no more embarrassment than animals.” Columbus later wrote: “let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

    But too many of the slaves died in captivity. And so Columbus, desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, had to make good his promise to fill the ships wit gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge god fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.

    In two years, through murder, mutilation or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead.

    By the year 1515 , there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left. By 1550, there were five hundred. A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island.

    To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves, unwittingly, to justify what was done.

    Excerpts from “A People’s History of the United States”, Howard Zinn.

    Need more?

  8. Columbus was not the “discoverer” of America. It was discovered centuries before by the people who inhabited the land by the millions. The Vikings also preceded Columbus.

    The record of Columbus’ treatment of the natives is known. It was documented by the Jesuit who traveled with him. Columbus was barbaric and, while he might have been an adventurer, he was inhumane to the indigenous people he found.

    Can’t bring myself to celebrate Columbus Day.

    1. bettykath – I think you need to read more about Columbus.

      It is true that Columbus harbored strong prejudices about the peaceful islanders whom he misnamed “Indians”-he was prejudiced in their favor. For Columbus, they were “the handsomest men and the most beautiful women” he had ever encountered. He praised the generosity and lack of guile among the Tainos, contrasting their virtues with Spanish vices. He insisted that although they were without religion, they were not idolaters; he was confident that their conversion would come through gentle persuasion and not through force. The reason, he noted, is that Indians possess a high natural intelligence. There is no evidence that Columbus thought that Indians were congenitally or racially inferior to Europeans. Other explorers such as Pedro Alvares Cabral, Amerigo Vespucci, Ferdinand Magellan, and Walter Raleigh registered similar positive impressions about the new world they found.

  9. Dredd:

    You cut Artie Johnson off too soon. Here is a video that describes it much better. 🙂

  10. The History Channel or better known as the Hitler Channel has had very little new programming in the last couple of years. I have moved to the Military Channel now renamed the American Heroes Channel (darned if I know why).

  11. A Portuguese sailing a Spanish ship, makes for interesting history.

  12. I surmise it took this long to find the Santa Maria because there is no gold or treasure to be found. We were in Genoa last December, the home of Columbus. They are rightfully proud of this great explorer. The people who denigrate him know little history and apply todays standards to someone 500 years ago. Perspective seems to be endangered in our PC culture.

  13. America derives from Amerigo Vespucci, I believe.
    —————————————————–
    Professor: I agree, the History Channel’s programming has degraded into worthlessness. Apparently, a show dealing with actual history slipped through the cracks.

  14. When those nuts from Europe finally found India, did they try to convert those people to the dead guy on the cross theology?

  15. Did Columbus name this continent “America”? Where does that word derive?
    Is he the one to blame for bringing Christianity, a heathen religion, to the more reasoned thinkers of these parts of the world? Did he actually show the inhabitants of the areas he visited the depiction of dead guy on the cross? Would not any person in their right mind think that these nuts with their funny hats and dead guys on their crosses might be insane or perhaps aliens from another planet?

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