“The brothers Christopher and Bartholomew Columbus had offered their westward services to Henry VII in 1491-92 in the hopes of receiving patronage, although there is no evidence that they recieved English royal favour before approaching the rulers of Castile. Perhaps it was this event to which Northampton was referring, which would imply a certain degree of foreknowledge of the New World antedating Columbus’s actual “discoveries”. Probably, however Northampton (or the clerk recorded the proceedings) simply made an error; Henry VII never issued a patent to Columbus, but he did issue one to John Cabot on 5 March 1496 (quinto Martii anno 11), which was likely the document to which Northampton was referring.”
“As his reference to royal patents indicate, Northampton also emphasized the importance of claims of the first discovery being supported by the authority and knowledge of a sovereign monarch, which in his mind validated the English discoveries and brought into question those of Columbus. Whereas Henry VII had issued charters to John and Sebastian Cabot, Hugh Eliot, and others for the specific purpose of seeking out newfound lands in North America, which resulted in the discovery of “Labrador” (construed by Northampton as North America north Florida), Columbus’s patent authorized him only to discover a passage to China and the East Indies. Instead, he and his men found the West Indies not “by their skill but by mere chance they being cast up in those places by shipwreck, not guided by foresight or knowledge.”
“This argument would seem to suggest that Ferdinand and Isabella, in issuing their speculative patents, lacked the “certain knowledge” and mental intention to posses that holders of imperium should demonstrate. Northampton did not mention, ofcourse, that Henry VII was greatly aided in his knowledge by reports of Columbus’s 1492 voyage. In addition, Northampton argued, if the Iberians could claim “that if first discovery might give occasion of any such prohibition then [the English] might restrain their fishing in the North seas [presumably Greenland], which notwithstanding the Spaniards took the liberty to use.”
This section of our website is dedicated informing interested parties of the findings concluded by Murakush derived from research and analysis of several topics and points of interest as it relates to the heritage, history and culture of the Moors.