"America was discovered accidentally by a great seaman who was looking for something else; when discovered it was not wanted; and most of the exploration for the next fifty years was done in the hope of getting through or around it. America was named after a man who discovered no part of the New World. History is like that, very chancy." -- Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People (1965)
[No] biographer of Columbus appears to have gone to sea in quest of light and truth. And you cannot write a story out of these fifteenth- and sixteenth-century narratives that means anything to a modern reader, merely by studying them in a library with the aid of maps. Such armchair navigation is both dull and futile. It may be compared with those ancient books on natural science that were compiled without field work or experimentation.