We know that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue from the port of Cadiz, a small fishing village and retirement haven for fifteenth century Spaniards. But what drove him to leave this medieval paradise?
For one thing, taxes. Cadiz councilors, under orders from Ferdinand and Isabella, levied a sewage tax, amounting to one piece of eight, on every butt in town. It didn’t matter that there was no sewage system, that’s just the way it was. But the two weren’t content with their “brown gold”. No, they needed the real thing. Plus India was also the source of the spice trade, and Isabella was the original Spice Girl.
So it was that Chris was outfitted for a voyage to the Indies. The crew was mainly made up of married men. Fearing that their wives might be unfaithful in their absence, they approached the local locksmith, a handsome red headed Scot, who recommended he fit their better halves with chastity belts. His mantra, “Lock it or lose it” proved very persuasive.
The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria were loaded down with the kind of food that could never go bad. Some clown had ordered French fries from a local fast food outlet. This very early version of the Mediterranean diet almost caused a mutiny until Columbus agreed to add gluten-free hard tack to the ships’ stores. Then off they went.
The crew maintained excellent health during the voyage thanks to the many herbal and natural remedies that allowed young men a lifespan well into their thirties. They were also fortunate enough to feast on organic seaweed when becalmed in the Sargasso Sea.
Their worst problem was boredom. Fortunately, the Law of the Sea permits temporary same-sex marriages whilst under sail. In fact, Chris and his first mate seldom left their cabin during the entire voyage. The one time the first mate actually appeared above deck, the sailor noted a landmass on the horizon, and promptly screamed “Land Ho” and burst into tears.
Thus it was realized that the First Mate was in reality Christine Columbus, Chris’ wife, posing as a man to avoid jealousy. Yes, America was actually discovered by a woman! But like many of her gender she allowed her spouse to take all the credit.
The rest is history. First contact went swimmingly. No massacres, no slavery, no diseases, no forced conversions. A story of respect for aboriginal people that has persisted to this very day, particularly a respect for aboriginal women, no matter what pencil-necked historians might say.
And what a reception our heroes and heroine received on their return. Cadiz became famous, not only for Columbus’ voyage but also for being one of the few towns in the Mediterranean where even today one can find a population of red-heads with a bonnie Scottish accent!