Michael Anthony takes a close look at Columbus
Monday, June 25 2012
Local historian and author, Michael Anthony has sought to reveal a number of untruths surrounding Christopher Columbus’s voyages to Trinidad and the region through his latest publication, Christopher Columbus – A Close Look at the Man and His Voyages. Anthony launched his book at Nigel R Khan Booksellers at West Mall last Thursday.
According to Anthony, an example of misinformation surrounds the naming of Trinidad. Legend has it that three hills were spotted by Columbus’ look out, Alonzo Perez, as the ship approached land, and it is after these “Trinity Hills” that Columbus named the island La Trinidad.
However, Anthony said there are no such hills as the Trinity Hills in Trinidad, and schools should discontinue teaching children about the Trinity Hills.
“It is high time the Government look into this teaching. The Trinity Hills do not exist. When Columbus’ look out Alonso Perez told Columbus that he saw the Trinity Hills he had to have seen the Northern Range. We have no three peaks in Trinidad; we have the three highest points but they are not peaks; they are just mountains,” Anthony told guests at the launch. Anthony said he had always been curious and doubtful about Columbus. He said the voyager had been found to be contradictive many times.
“Ever since I was a boy in Mayaro I felt a little doubtful as to the reason for Christopher Columbus’s voyages. Going to school in Mayaro in front of me was Point Galeota and on the left of me was the wide open sea; and walking to school I always thought of the three ships of Christopher Columbus. From then on I began thinking about Christopher Columbus.
In my teenage years I had reason to doubt. As I grew older I felt sure the facts had not been told,” Anthony said.
The author characterises Columbus as crafty and deceptive. Anthony said Columbus made up things in order to make the islands and the people he encountered seem more wonderful, rich and more exotic so that the Spanish monarch would be pleased and would continue to support him. Anthony said Columbus concealed the real meaning behind his voyages. Historian and UWI lecturer, Professor Bridget Brereton, who attended the launch, praised Anthony’s book.
According to Brereton, “Michael writes a very skilful narrative of the four voyages based partly on Columbus’s own writings and journals. He gives us a factual chronological account with novelistic technique. He gives us a useful and very readable account of the voyages and discoveries and cleverly questions Columbus’s motive, strategy and personality,” Brereton said.