chapter  3
The Great Encounter—The Enigma of Christopher
Pages 16

The year 1992 was both hailed and reviled around the world as the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Columbus was certainly not the fi rst European explorer to journey to the New World, but he was one of the most important simply because of the fact that the Spanish kingdom of Castile-the territory that bankrolled his 1492 expedition-had the fi nancial means and religious zeal to follow up his initial encounter with thousands of settlers, missionaries, and soldiers in the years following 1492.