Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Europa 1992 - 500 Years of the discovery of America 29.5.1992

The theme chosen by the European Postal and Telecommunications Organisation (CEPT) for Europa 92 was "500 years since the discovery of America". The Cyprus issue consisted of four stamps, in pairs of two of the same value, as shown on the First Day Cover. The 10c+10c pair depicts Columbus' first voyage and embarkation at Palos. The second pair of 30c+30C depicts a portrait of Columbus with the ships "Santa Maria", "Nina" and "Pinta".
In the 15th century, the Europeans basically carried out their voyages of discovery for economic reasons, i.e. difficulties in free trade with the East, stories about large quantities of gold and the desire of the Europeans to control international trade. The voyages of discovery were possible because of new means such as the building of the caravel - a long, narrow, agile and resistant ship - the discovery of the compass and the use of other instruments such as the astrolabe, sextant and maps.
Christopher Columbus was born, probably at Genoa - there is no agreement as to the date, 1463 or 1446/7 or 1451. He was engaged in trade later with sea voyages. Columbus, convinced of the spherical shape of the Earth, nurtured ambitious plans of discoveries. He tried in vain to convince the king of Portugal John II to assign him the discovery of a new route to the Indies something that could be achieved by traveling westwards all the time. The same thing happened when he initially asked for the help of Ferdinand and Isabella, king and queen of Aragon and Castille.
Finally Columbus got help from the Spanish kings and on August 2, 1492 he set sail the three ships, the "Santa Maria", the "Pinta", and "Nina" from the Andalusian port of Palos to discover the Indies. Traveling continuously westwards he arrived on October 12 in the Antilles. The first island sighted by Columbus was called San Salvator. Today this island is identified with Watling island in the Bahamas. Columbus made three more voyages (1493, 1498, 1502) without finding the quantities of gold he had been dreaming. He died in poverty on May 20, 1506 convinced that he had reached Asia, in the West Indies.
The discovery of Columbus changed the course of humanity and enriched the world with a new continent. It has caused a revision and modernization of science and technology and brought about tremendous development in the economy of the world. My dear friend Merja gave me this lovely cover.

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