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Posted March 21, 2006
It is unfortunate that this children's book revives the 500-year-old yarn that Columbus possessed a secret map. According to one version of this yarn, this map was drawn around 1477 by the pilot of a Portuguese ship, which was swept across the Atlantic Ocean by a fierce storm. The storm carried the pilot to the West Indies and back to the Madeira Islands, where Columbus lived. Supposedly, Columbus acquired the map when the pilot died. In 1492 Columbus retraced the route on this map to reach the West Indies. This legend is discussed in many books, and some authors refer to it as 'the story of the Unknown Pilot.' The yarn was concocted to discredit Columbus and to minimize the importance of his voyage. The 'Unknown Pilot' legend was first published in 1535 by Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo. After relating various versions of the yarn, Oviedo wrote, 'As for me, I hold it to be false.' On page 62 of 'Admiral of the Ocean Sea,' Samuel Eliot Morison wrote: 'Certain modern pundits ... snap at this Tale of an Ancient Mariner and swallow it, hook, line and sinker.' This is a perfect description of Luis Coin Cuenca, who is featured in this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.