Christopher Columbus

Here’s something interesting.

Christopher Columbus thought that India was easily travelled to by sailing westwards from Europe based on distance estimates that were subsequently found to be seriously in error, or way too short.

So why did Columbus believe India could be easily reached westwards?

Earth Expansion theory might offer one possibility but this scenario is somewhat controversial, to say the least, but some interesting clues were found in a recent Armstrong Economics blog where Armstrong writes:

I have stated before that after Rome fell, the financial capitol of the world moved to Constantinople in Turkey. After the Byzantine Empire fell, that financial capitol moved to India. It was because of the importance of India that Columbus set sail on a mission to India based upon a wrong calculation of the size of the earth. Columbus relied upon the calculations of the earth from Ptolemy. Ptolemy influenced Strabo who in turn reduced the 250,000 Stadia of Eratosthenes to 180,000, and then stated that half of that distance came to just 70,000 stadia, making India reachable by sailing West. So India has played a very important role for Europe bumped into the Americas by trying to sail to India.

So why did Strabo think that the distance to India was shorter than what Eratosthenes calculated the Earth”s dimensions to be?

If we consider Gavin Menzies’ theory that the Ming Dynasty Chinese visited Italy during the middle of the 15th Century, (see his books 1421 etc), and also include Gunnar Heinsohn’s revision of the Middle Ages, ~ 1st millennium, then I might be tempted to think that the Earth underwent an expansion event before the times of Eratosthenes, who calculated the newly expanded Earth’s size correctly, but which Strabo disagreed with and relied on earlier estimates of the Earth’s size, which then influenced Columbus’ ideas of reaching India westwards from Europe.

Using the principle of applied epistemology as defined by M.J. Harper, (The History of Britain Revealed, 2006), that what is now was what was unless contradicted by fact, then the following scenario seems interesting:

  1. Massive extinction and earth expansion event prior to Eratosthenes time, Pleistocene event, Heinsohn timing ~ 1200 BCE
  2. Bronze and Iron Ages follow until Alexander invades Egypt.
  3. 235 CE event terminates Western Roman empire, Earth realigned on axis causing temperate latitudes to move closer to polar latitudes, whitening Greenland, for example
  4. Ming Chinese resurveying world to establish new astronomical measurements since things seem to have changed,
  5. Little Ice Age occurs, similar to Roman termination event, but affecting China, and allowing Europeans who now have survived the previous Roman event, to then gain global ascendancy, and Columbus sailing westwards not realising that the Earth became larger, and hence underestimating his voyage time.

Given that politicians over the ages have never changed, the likelihood of history being written by the winners, and by the elites in charge, meaning either history has been fabricated (from ignorance) or falsified (from malice) needs to be considered.

Belief is a most powerful force in human experience and often trumps empirical fact.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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3 Responses to Christopher Columbus

  1. Peter Lewis says:

    Hello Louis, “The Empire’s Back” – might you remember me, from the early – mid 1980’s in Perth WA? Would be v. good to re-establish the direct contact.. KR Pete Lewis


  2. Ian MacCulloch says:

    Hi Louis. Your argument is partly correct concerning the expanding earth theory. Your should consider contractions as well to explain the abrupt sea level changes. It should be noted that ice cores represent up to a million years of ice accumulation regardless of sea level changes. Most ice cores show remarkably consistent accumulations over time but the ‘old’ ice provides a nice record for climatologists to get their jollies off on but not much else. Further the need to explain the volume of adjustment needed at every ice age can’t be reconciled when the USGS maps of the ice extent show that there are huge discrepancies between glaciers at each stage and the water volume adjustment need to explain the 150 m or so drop in sea level. The rapid minor advances and retreats within each major sea level adjustment can only be explained by exanding and contracting earth mechanisms. Climate change alone cannot account for these events.


    • Hi Ian,

      Contracting earth mechanism is a concept I keep in mind, and the model I am musing over is one in which the earth gets a sudden whack vIa the plasma route, expands significantly, and when the impactive force has dissipated, contracts slightly.

      Vadim Anfiloff reckons a lot of the present day continental seismic activity is due to crustal shrinkage burr the idea is difficult to explain using uniformist models; not so difficult using catastrophe ones, however.

      But good point.


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