The Santa Maria
Christopher Columbus's Flagship
The famous Santa Maria
The full name of this vessel was La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción, which is Spanish for "The Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception" or "La Santa María" for short, and many people believed it was owned by Christopher Columbus, but it wasn't. The true owner of the ship was Juan de la Cosa, a cartographer who drew up the first world maps that included the territories of the Americas. He didn't get too much press back then because he also worked as a spy.
Chris was an ambitious but shrewd Italian fellow who sported a subdued smile in pleasant company, but his name was not Christopher Columbus. It was actually Cristoforo Colombo, although the Catholic Monarchs of Spain who paid his debts called him Cristóbal Colón.
You don't have to spend much time in the fifteenth Century before you begin to recognize the importance of having your debts paid by wealthy monarchs. With intentional deceit, he tried to make them believe that he had sailed all the way around the world to the West Indies, which was something they thought could be very profitable if they could get opium to market faster. They eventually arrested him after accusing him of tyranny and genocide. Most scholars believe he was guilty.
Columbus wasn't really too concerned about profits from opium. He had a deal worked out with the Taino people where each Taino over 14 years of age had to deliver a hawk's bell full of gold powder every three months or, when they couldn't find that much gold, twenty-five pounds of spun cotton. If they could not deliver either one, the Taínos had their hands cut off and were left to bleed to death.
If you are interested in further research on C.C. the Tyrant, you could check out the Wikipedia article or one by the Guardian newspaper, or view the videos below. These sources indicate reasons to believe that C. C. wasn't someone you want the youngsters to look up to. Nevertheless, some of his ships were pretty cool.
Shipwrecked on Christmas Eve
In fourteen hundred and 92
This is the complete 1492 poem
In fourteen hundred ninety-two
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
A compass also helped him know
Ninety sailors were on board;
Then the workers went to sleep;
Day after day they looked for land;
October 12 their dream came true,
"Indians! Indians!" Columbus cried;
But "India" the land was not;
The Arakawa natives were very nice;
Columbus sailed on to find some gold
He made the trip again and again,
The first American? No, not quite.
What People Say...
Mimi Yu - Someone told me that Columbus never set foot on any land that would later become one of the 50 states.
Scott Fyn - Although I prefer to present historical information in a light-hearted and entertaining manner, I was utterly horrified at what I learned about Chris C. while doing the requisite research to create this page. I cannot fathom how my teachers could have brought themselves to present him as a hero to anyone. As this is a page about the ship, and not the man who sailed it, I am accepting any help offered by anyone who would like to write on the subject. Any dry and emotionless facts will do, but I cannot in good conscience omit material that may set the record straight and clear up a few misconceptions that have been perpetrated by those who may have been ill-informed themselves.
Gary - Hi Scott, Just a note to tell you that I bought Richards new ship model today. I'm looking forward to building it sometime. And, I enjoyed your historical information in the listing as well. Thanks to you and Richard for another great F.G. Model!
Allen - Do people with magic keys get this model? Just curious I didn't.
Scott - Hi Allen, I was considering releasing it to Magic Keys Subscribers on Columbus day, but that's a long way off still. It would be some time in October. My thinking is that it would be good to have something for people to spend their store credit on. Many write to me saying they already have everything they want and they wonder what they can buy with the free store credit they get when they renew their keys. Others have written asking me to let them know in advance about what new models are going to be released so they have time to get their Magic Keys up to date. Mostly I was interested in seeing if people would mount a huge protest and start marching with big signs and megaphones. "Release the ship! Release the ship!" after which, of course, I would be forced to release the ship long before Columbus Day. It's probably good to stir things up a little from time to time.
Richard Dery (the artist) - Hi Scott,
Nice job on the FG web page for the Santa Maria. I always enjoy the history lesson I get when working on FG models. While Columbus was an important historical figure, we need to be careful who we put on a pedestal. Most men and women will disappoint us if we dig deep enough. In fact many of the advances done in the name of progress were motivated by greed or power...
I have to reconcile myself to the fact that the Fokker Triplane was designed to shoot down Englishmen and the Sopwith Camel to kill Germans. The Men that flew them were not evil—most considered themselves to be patriots fighting for their country. (Are you familiar with Sergeant York—Great story!)
Anyway, I know I'm already way off on a tangent, but with Easter only one week a way, please indulge me... I am greatly disturbed and disheartened by the black-eye Christianity has gotten due to the many, many terrible, despicable things done in the name of Christ. Mahatma Gandhi once said that he would have become a Christian if he ever met one. Sadly, he never met any of the wonderful people I've had the privilege of knowing in my life. None of them are rich or famous, just common people who do their best to live a life that would be pleasing to God—not motivated by money or power, but by love. We may not meet these people every day, but they are out there...
Sorry for being so long winded, but with Easter only one week away that just needed to be said. Please note that this is by no means directed at you. I was just commenting on the disparaging view that many in the news media and on the internet seem to have of Christianity in general...
By the way, I've even read that Columbus went to the new world to spread the Gospel! Clearly that was not the case. Spin doctors have been around for a long time and work both sides of the street.
Thanks again for a great job on the web page. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.
P.S. After the Nina and Pinta I was planing on doing a Viking ship. At least everyone already knows their rep for marauding and pillaging.
Dennis - Thanks guys: Love the Santa Maria. Looking forward to the rest of the fleet. I've heard some distressing info when the movie was released a while back but the additional info from the research was jaw dropping(don't know why, dah) Thanks again for the new models coming out this past year. YMP Dennis