Christopher Columbus’s Naming in the ’diarios’ of the Four by Evelina Guzauskyte

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By Evelina Guzauskyte

During this interesting e-book, Evelina Gužauskytė makes use of the names Columbus gave to areas within the Caribbean Basin in an effort to study the complicated come across among Europeans and the local inhabitants.

Gužauskytė demanding situations the typical suggestion that Columbus’s acts of naming have been basically an imperial try and impose his will at the terrain. as an alternative, she argues that they have been the results of the collisions among numerous specific worlds, together with the true and legendary geography of the outdated international, Portuguese and Catalan naming traditions, and the data and mapping practices of the Taino population of the Caribbean. instead of reflecting the Spanish hope for an orderly empire, Columbus’s number of position names was once fractured and fragmented – the made from the explorer’s dynamic dating with the population, nature, and geography of the Caribbean Basin.

To supplement Gužauskytė’s argument, the e-book additionally positive factors the 1st accomplished checklist of the greater than 200 Columbian position names which are documented in his diarios and different modern assets.

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Moreover, the inevitable intersections between Columbian naming in Castilian and the Taino onomastics, the latter being also tainted with streaks of imperialistic use of language through which territories were appropriated and the self and others were defined, simply cannot be dismissed. 54 As a whole, my reading does not reject entirely either the metaphor of the empty continent (Subirats) or that of kidnapping language (Greenblatt), both of which present insightful ways of thinking about the circumstances under which the European discourses changed the face of the Americas.

In addition to Taino toponyms, this also includes the toponymies and vocabularies of the various ethnic groups in the Caribbean Basin, names of people and deities, and fragments of them all (including individual syllables, exclamations, curses, and cries), which Columbus appropriated, translated, or just repeated ­in an attempt to register them. Thus, I consider Guanahaní as part of the Columbian toponymic discourse for two reasons: because this name is a result of Columbian interpretation of the words pronounced to him by the natives and because his awareness of it had a significant impact on his mapping of spaces, no less (or possibly more) than the Castilian names he was pronouncing.

To reinforce the theological message, the figure of Christ sometimes framed the image, as in the Ebstorf map (c. 1240), in which Christ’s head, hands, and feet point to the four cardinal directions. Ideology was of course not the sole purpose of medieval mappae mundi. In addition to representing visions of spiritual symbolism on landscapes, they also included accurate geographic information based on the knowledge available at the time. B. Harley and David Woodward, Woodward addresses these Brought to you by | Cambridge University Library Authenticated Download Date | 10/30/16 5:20 AM 34 Christopher Columbus’s Naming in the diarios various purposes of the European mappae mundi including their realistic and symbolic functions.

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