If not Spain, who funds Columbus's voyage?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by ModusViv, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. ModusViv Not A Dream, Not A Hoax, Not An Imaginary Story!

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Location:
    Old New England
    I was reading the replies to this thread:

    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/italian-colonization-of-the-americas.469036/

    And I got to thinking. The Catholic Monarchs really had no reason to fund Columbus, either. It seems plausible that they might have turned him down flat. He'd already tried Portugal, Genoa, Venice, and even England. If Spain turned Columbus down, is there anyone else who might have taken a chance on his voyage? Would he have kept on petitioning the people he'd already tried? And if no one funded him, would he have just kind of given up? Is there a chance he could have drummed up some kind of lower-level funding (maybe tried to interest some rich merchants or nobles or something like that?).

    And, if he never gets his funding, who eventually discovers the New World? The English? The Portuguese? Does it take a long time - another century or more? It seems unlikely that it would never be (re-) discovered by Europeans.
     
  2. Marc reformed polymath... Donor

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Location:
    The left coast...
    There is some reason to believe that the Portuguese had already discovered that there were lands/islands to the far west of the Atlantic, however they, like most, had more correct estimates of distances, and the routes to Asia that they had were quite sufficient and reliable.
    A reasonable speculation is that Giovanni Caboto, gets enough financial support in England to mount an Atlantic expedition. What he finds might be disappointing, leading to limited voyages - until Europeans learn of the Mesoamericans and their gold.
     
  3. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    The Portuguese had already rounded cape and reached South Indian Ocean. That plus detailed maps from their spies in Middle East they knew the rest of the route to India. So the Portuguese were in no shape to sail west when they were in midsts of funding their largest fleet “Vasco da Gama”. If no one is interested before Vasco da Gama they be interested after. But as identified the finding of forests and no real treasure and trade items would of limited European settlements and interest
     
  4. twovultures Best leagues are NFL, FIFA, and Shmalkaldic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    IMO the Portuguese still discover the Americas as they did IOTL through the "volta del mar". Now it's possible that the expedition that discovered Brazil IOTL was given orders to sail further westward in response to Columbus' discovery, so their discovery may be delayed. But Brazil and Africa are not that far apart when you're making global trips, so as Portuguese involvement in Asia ramps up, within a few decades at most someone is going to make a report that they've found a coastline filled with precious brazilwood.

    If Columbus petitions some of the people he petitioned previously, court machinations could see him get funding where he had failed before, as people otherwise uninterested in his theories may find it to their advantage to get his expedition funded.
     
  5. Wendell Wendell

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Location:
    Lost in what might have been
    What about France?
     
    Kaze, ModusViv and kasumigenx like this.
  6. ModusViv Not A Dream, Not A Hoax, Not An Imaginary Story!

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Location:
    Old New England
    Sounds like the Portuguese are the front-runners. It makes sense. Doing a little googling on the subject it seems like they were close to finding Brazil at some point. So, they spot Brazil, maybe more than a few times, and eventually at some point someone goes to check it out. If they find natives with gold, Europe goes crazy. Depending on where Columbus and/or his brother are at this point, they probably make a stronger argument to ... someone, and get ships, cash, and some promise of lands, loot, and titles. The Spanish are probably the most likely, but England's a possibility, with an outside chance that he went, hat in hand, to the French or ... the Dutch? (Are they an entity that could fund a voyage at this point?) As pointed out in the Italian thread I linked to before, Genoa and Venice are probably still not too likely since they would have to sail past Spain to get into the Atlantic. Everybody discovers stuff and, barring a little shuffling of who gets which territories (a French Florida here, a Portuguese Cuba there, maybe a Dutch Quebec for good measure), things proceed more or less the same way they did. Predictable and logical, if a little boring. XD

    I'm guessing given his strong religious feelings, it's kind of unlikely ol' Cristobal would try and get funding from Morocco or something like that. I suppose they might get in on the act themselves, although I'm guessing there's a good reason the didn't OTL. There's also the possibility no one funds Columbus and everybody kind of undercuts him by sending their own explorers, although it seems like if you have a guy crazy enough and enthusiastic enough to make the voyage, you might as well make use of him, but historically he strikes me as being a little "hard to get along with". Might be interesting if he winds up a footnote of history as "the guy who thought that Asia was much closer than it was and surely would have accidentally found America if anyone had believed him".
     
  7. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    Without Christopher expedition into the carribean and Mexico area both English and French responses would of land them into New England and gulf of st Lawrence areas and not inspire huge expeditions.

    FYI the Portuguese initially saw Brazil as great place to grow sugar cane and it was only much later that gold was found. The riches the Portuguese were getting from India and China trade was huge.

    The Spanish only found substancial gold finds about 20-30 years after Columbus. At first they thought they could get around land to sail to china and India that only the Portuguese could at that time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
    CtrlAltHistory and Wendell like this.
  8. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Homeline
    Between Columbus, Cabot, Vespucci, and Verrazano, why is it only Italian navigators were capable- or interested- in sailing westwards? And always doing it at the behest of some foreign court? Why didn’t a different city from Genoa or Venice attempt an expedition?

    I’m also imagining the Moroccan Sultanate supporting a Jewish exile on such a trip.
     
  9. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    The Portuguese were pretty much only European country that had a dedicated exploration department at the time. They had their own training program therefore they were probably best. That being said we must understand that they had a national plan to reach Índia. The other countries did not and it took the Portuguese success to make the rest of Europe interested. Unfortunately they did not captains who had the required skills and expertise at the beginning and had to bring in outside contractors at beginning.
     
  10. Eparkhos_Ton_Trapezous Dux Theodoros ton Khaldeia

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2019
    Location:
    Trapezous, Duxate ton Khaldeia
    Whilst we are talking about other navigators, there were two English sailors who sailed west in 1483. They came within fifty miles of Labrador, but turned back. Perhaps they could reach it?
     
    CtrlAltHistory likes this.
  11. JohnR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Columbus sent his brother Bartholomew to the court of Henry VII to seek support for an expedition. However, he was taken by pirates and landed in England destitute. Apparently he didnt make a favourable impression there.

    What if he had not been taken by pirates, so made a better impression at court? What if Columbus went himself?
     
    Kaze likes this.
  12. funnyhat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    But they would want to map the coast and find the passage to Asia they most desired, so they would eventually find the tropical areas. The timeline for exploration and settlement could be very different though and there may not be a treaty of Tordesillas to divide up the lands.
     
    CtrlAltHistory likes this.
  13. Swedish luck Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2018
    England would be the last of the European powers who could fund Columbus because France was busy in Italy and the rest who could be interested hade already refused
     
  14. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    Yes they would explore south. It’s just that the first impressions not be as favorable as Spain discovery.
     
  15. PNWKing There's Still Hope Out There!

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    The French, the Portuguese, or I'd say one of the smaller Italian states like Venice.
     
  16. Lusitania Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg / Lusitania
    But we have already established that Portugal refused him first then he went to Genoa and Venice snd both turned him down.
     
  17. JohnR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Cabot was only a a few years later, and the port of Bristol had a history of adventuring at this time. Its quite possible that the Guild of Merchant Venturers who funded Cabot could just as likely do the same for Columbus.
     
  18. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    No one.
    He was trying to go all the way to China, using numbers (size of Eurasia overestimated and size of the Earth underestimated) that were WAY off. Any nation with an interest in the sea would know that. Columbus got lucky twice - getting a land power who didn't know enough about the same to back him, and then finding the Americas, (which he refused to admit weren't Asia).

    So. No.
     
    P L Richards and Lusitania like this.
  19. Wendell Wendell

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Location:
    Lost in what might have been
    Do you have a source for this?
     
  20. Byzantion Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2013
    Location:
    Forum Romanum, Suburra
    A Danish expedition would be interesting. Maybe he is tasked to rediscover Vinland, Greenland and Markland on his way. He sails with a fleet of Holks .
     
    Odinson likes this.