The Rio Tinto, which means ‘the red river,’ because it is saturated with copper, waters and colours the land. Money had been found to finance the expedition. Isabella had not needed to pledge her jewels with the Jews, for by scraping the bottoms of drawers, and by one means or another, it had been possible to get together the million maravedis in gold that were required to cover the initial cost. Columbus was in despair. He had the ships, the money and the royal guarantee, but now he had encountered an unforeseen obstacle. Martin Alonso was the head of the Pinzon family, of which there were two branches. The compass, unknown to the ancients but used by the Chinese for more than a thousand years before the Christian era, had been passed on to the Spaniards by the Arabs. Martin Alonso’s infectious enthusiasm, the contribution of a further half-million, and the example of the Santa Maria’s crew had their effect.