On 3rd August, 1492 a great sailor and explorer sailed from Palos, Spain in three small ships, Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina, accompanied by 87 men. He had embarked on a voyage in search of India and sailed through the waters of the Atlantic for days and weeks together. Finally on 12th October, 1492 this sailor discovered land, which he then thought was India and claimed this land for the Spanish Crown. In his endeavour of discovering India or Indies, he had actually discovered a ‘New World’. This great man was none other than ‘Christopher Columbus’ and the great new world and land he had discovered was none other than the ‘Americas’. That was the time when Europe was hungry. Young men were hungry for adventure, whereas Kings were hungry for conquest. However, thousands of Europeans in the crowded parts of Europe were hungry for land as well as for gain. Therefore this new land discovered was aptly termed as ‘The New World’. 12th October is celebrated in commemoration of this very great discovery as ‘Dia de la Hispanidad’, especially in Spain and throughout the North and South America. Christopher Columbus had made a total of four trips to the Caribbean and South America during the years 1492 – 1504. Many a times I wonder how incredibly adventurous this voyage of Columbus would have been. Today we can make a Trans-Atlantic voyage on the luxurious cruise liners like Queen Mary 2, but back in 1492 this very voyage was definitely the ultimate maritime adventure for anyone. Just imagine seeing no land for days and weeks together and being surrounded by the sheer expanse of water all around!
Although the countries in the North American continent like The United States of America and Canada are known to us, the part of this new world, which still remains unexplored is the amazing continent of ‘South America’. South America forms the major part of the larger Latin America. Located to the extreme southwest on the world map, South America is indeed located completely on the other side of the world, especially considering the geographical distance from India. You will be amazed to know that around 500 years ago, when Portugal had just discovered today’s Brazil, the then King of Portugal actually thought that the Portuguese territory of Goa in India was located very near to Brazil!!
The colourful Macaws, also known as the ‘New World Parrots’, which are native to South America probably symbolise the myriad colours of this incredible continent. South America is a colourful collage and it is quite evident from a great variety and diversity found in its ecology, history, geography and culture. ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, one of the greatest novels of all the times written by the legendary Noble Laureate Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez magically recreates this mesmerizing continent, especially with its literary genre of Magical Realism. South America is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west. 12 amazing countries namely Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela and the overseas territories of France and the Great Britain namely French Guiana and the Falkland Islands (They are also known as ‘Las Malvinas’. These islands are the bone of contention between Argentina and the Great Britain) respectively along with some other small islands together make this new world continent. The official language of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela is Spanish. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese while the official languages of Guyana and Suriname is English and Dutch respectively. South America is also home to many unique indigenous tribes and communities which have their own exclusive languages and cultures and which further more enhances the great heritage and cultural riches of this incredible continent.
The untamed great ‘Amazon River’, which is the largest river by discharge of water in the world and the largest forest cover in the world the ‘Amazon Rainforest’ are the life and soul of South America. The great mountain ranges of the ‘Alps’ run through South America. Can you ever imagine how our food would taste without our favourite potatoes, chillies, tomatoes and many other such vegetables which form the basis and an integral part of our daily diet and various delicacies? Can you imagine life without chocolate? I can’t and I would never ever want to imagine so! Ladies and Gentlemen we should indeed be indebted from the bottom of our hearts to South America which is the land of origin of all these vegetables including cocoa. All these ingredients which today make our meals and the entire experience of eating a true delight never existed in India before the arrival of the Portuguese who introduced these to India with the onset of their colonisation after Vasco-da-Gama discovered the route to India in the year 1498.
So amigos, its South America…Christ the Redeemer, Machu Picchu, Amazon, Andes, Carnivals, Pope Francis, Copacabana, Ipanema, Che Guevara, Mate, Football, Samba, Tango, Pele, Messi, Patagonia, Pampas…its South America! Our voyage towards the discovery of this ‘New World’ continues...Our sailing goes on and it will continue through my next blog…sailing through the deep blue waters of the Atlantic in search of land…in search of the ‘New World’! Travel Explore Celebrate…
(Team Veena World)