Living On Mars

Some thoughts from Bob Zubrin, who apparently has a new book
out on the subject.

I have to say, though, that when he says:

It’s a common view that Columbus was just interested in finding a spice route to the Indies, and that was his sales pitch to the Spanish courts. But I actually believe that contrary to conventional history, Columbus was looking for unknown continents — he just couldn’t pitch it that way.

I’d be curious to know the basis for that belief, or if it’s just wishful thinking or projection. My reading of the history does not indicate that Columbus was averse to making a buck.

3 thoughts on “Living On Mars”

  1. Columbus was looking for non-Christian populations to convert, and for lost or unknown Christian nations who could be allies against the Islamic world. He realized that eastern Asia was not very well known — he was familiar with all the available literature on the topic — and was hoping to fulfill his goals in that manner. There was no particular evidence that he was expecting to find a new continent, and in fact he remained insistent throughout his voyages that he was really in Asia, as his interpreters kept trying out their Arabic on various Carib and Arawak chieftans. He was not averse to a high-risk, high-payoff venture but it’s not clear whether he was using the payoff lure to convince financial backers, or whether that was his primary objective. He was certainly attentive to the details of his compensation when he was negotiating with Ferdinand and Isabel.

    Probably his motivation was a mix of the classical “God, Gold, and Glory”, in proportions that can’t really be unravelled today.

  2. Sometimes Zubrin needs stronger meds.


    One guy told me that when Zubrin was at Martin he was a great source of out of the box ideas, but they weren’t always good ideas. Some were completely nuts.

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