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“…Should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity…”

Columbus Statue in front of Union Station, Washington, D.C.

The Columbus Day holiday is a good opportunity to post on the topic of trade.  After all, wasn’t finding another trade route to the Orient one of the main purposes of the expedition in 1492?  Since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the land route had become difficult and dangerous.  The Portuguese were working on sailing around Africa, but Columbus came up with a different approach to sail across the Atlantic from Iberia to the Indies (so he thought!), hoping to gain a foothold in the spice trade for Spain.  Columbus even hinted at such – – the title of this post is taken from his journal during the voyage of 1492.

Fast forward to the 21st century.  The Business Reference Section is frequently asked about various aspects of trade–most often how much of a particular commodity is exported or imported.  The Library subscribes to a few databases that are useful for that type of research which anyone with a reader identification card can use if they come to one of the reading rooms (they are only accessible on-site).   If you are looking for more general information, the staff of Business Reference created a guide on International Economics & Trade and another on Globalization, both of which could be helpful places to start. Of course, you can search our catalog for items in our collection.

If you want to learn more on Columbus himself, the Library has a wealth of resources about him. Prints & Photographs has gathered together two dozen images, Manuscript has a copy of Columbus’ Book of Privileges, and there is an online exhibit 1492: An Ongoing Voyage.

I have been a guest blogger before but this is the first post that I am writing AND publishing so I am quite excited.

2 Comments

  1. maria scoones
    October 11, 2010 at 10:58 am

    such an interesting subject can never get enough of this articules …..

  2. Pedro Buitrago
    October 13, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Es necesario emplear términos diferentes pues Cristobal Colón era marinero y por lo tanto no aterrizó en las costas americanas sino que atracó sus carabelas que eran tres. Para entender el proceso de anclaje de un barco de buen tamaño queda la duda de si se pudo encallar la nave que fuera (La Santamaría) o si utilizaron cables de amarre muy largos que llegaran hasta dicho árbol, que permitieran mantener las naves a flote sin encallar en el mar.

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