What are two features of Columbus' proposal to the King and Queen of Spain?  

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First off, Christopher Columbus's main proposal to the Spanish monarchs was to discover new trade routes to the Spice Islands in Asia. Spices were a lucrative business, as they fetched a high price in the markets. At the end of the fifteenth century, Spain was in fierce competition with Portugal for this trade. The nation that had access to the faster and safer trade routes would get the edge on the competition. At the time, the only routes to the source of spices were overland across the Silk Road or by sea around the southern tip of Africa. Both journeys took many months, sometimes years, to complete and were fraught with danger. Columbus proposed going west, across the Atlantic, in order to reach the Indies. Vastly underestimating the size of the Earth and unaware of the American continents, Columbus argued that the journey would be easy and only take a few weeks to complete.

(It should be noted that Colombus did not have to convince anyone that the world was round. This was an already accepted fact in the Spanish court. The notion that many thought the planet was flat and that Colombus risked sailing off the edge of the world was added to the story much later.)

Columbus also told King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that his journey would help spread the Christian faith to new lands. The Spanish monarchs were devout Catholics. They had recently reunited Spain under their religion. Columbus knew that they would eagerly support his cause of introducing the religion to new lands. Columbus reminded them that two centuries prior, the Great Khan of China had sent emissaries to the Pope to learn about Christianity. He repeatedly cited this as an example that there was interest in Christianity in Asia. Consequently, Columbus proposed that his journey would have an evangelical goal as well as a commercial one.

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1.  Christopher Columbus proposed that it would be possible to reach Asia by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean.  At that time, there were two ways that traders could reach Asia.  One way was by land, which was a long and difficult journey over many different terrains.  The other way was to sail south from Europe and along the western coast of Africa.  Then the ships would sail around the Cape of Good Hope at the south of Africa.  They would continue on to Asia.  Christopher Columbus proposed the idea of a possibly shorter route by sailing west instead.

2.  Columbus also believed that the journey across the ocean to Asia would be "comparatively easy."  He did not realize how far Asia was from Europe.  He did not realize that two separate oceans and two massive continents stood between Europe and Asia.  Columbus also believed "that the circumference of the Earth was much smaller than his contemporaries believed it was."

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