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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsThe Life And Voyages Of Christopher Columbus_volume 2 - Appendix - No. 8
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The Life And Voyages Of Christopher Columbus_volume 2 - Appendix - No. 8 Post by :peterwarrior Category :Nonfictions Author :Washington Irving Date :April 2012 Read :2415

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The Life And Voyages Of Christopher Columbus_volume 2 - Appendix - No. 8

Appendix. No. VIII.

Expedition of John of Anjou.


About the time that Columbus attained his twenty-fourth year, his native city was in a state of great alarm and peril from the threatened invasion of Alphonso V of Aragon, king of Naples. Finding itself too weak to contend singly with such a foe, and having in vain looked for assistance from Italy, it placed itself under the protection of Charles the VIIth of France. That monarch sent to its assistance John of Anjou, son of Rene or Renato, king of Naples, who had been dispossessed of his crown by Alphonso. John of Anjou, otherwise called the duke of Calabria, (286) immediately took upon himself the command of the place, repaired its fortifications, and defended the entrance of the harbor with strong chains. In the meantime, Alplionso had prepared a large land force, and assembled an armament of twenty ships and ten galleys at Ancona, on the frontiers of Genoa. The situation of the latter was considered eminently perilous, when Alphonso suddenly fell ill of a calenture and died; leaving the kingdoms of Anjou and Sicily to his brother John, and the kingdom of Naples to his son Ferdinand.

The death of Alphonso, and the subsequent division of his dominions, while they relieved the fears of the Genoese, gave rise to new hopes on the part of the house of Anjou; and the duke John, encouraged by emissaries from various powerful partisans among the Neapolitan nobility, determined to make a bold attempt upon Naples for the recovery of the crown. The Genoese entered into his cause with spirit, furnishing him with ships, galleys, and money. His father, Rene or Renato, fitted out twelve galleys for the expedition in the harbor of Marseilles, and sent him assurance of an abundant supply of money, and of the assistance of the king of France. The brilliant nature of the enterprise attracted the attention of the daring and restless spirits of the times. The chivalrous nobleman, the soldier of fortune, the hardy corsair, the bold adventurer, or the military partisan, enlisted under the banners of the duke of Calabria. It is stated by historians, that Columbus served in the armament from Genoa, in a squadron commanded by one of the Colombos, his relations.

The expedition sailed in October, 1459, and arrived at Sessa, between the mouths of the Garigliano and the Volturno. The news of its arrival was the signal of universal revolt; the factious barons, and their vassals, hastened to join the standard of Anjou, and the duke soon saw the finest provinces of the Neapolitan dominions at his command, and with his army and squadron menaced the city of Naples itself.

In the history of this expedition we meet with one hazardous action of the fleet in which Columbus had embarked.

The army of John of Anjou, being closely invested by a superior force, was in a perilous predicament at the mouth of the Sarno. In this conjuncture, the captain of the armada landed with his men, and scoured the neighborhood, hoping to awaken in the populace their former enthusiasm for the banner of Anjou; and perhaps to take Naples by surprise. A chosen company of Neapolitan infantry was sent against them. The troops from the fleet having little of the discipline of regular soldiery, and much of the freebooting disposition of maritime rovers, had scattered themselves about the country, intent chiefly upon spoil. They were attacked by the infantry and put to rout, with the loss of many killed and wounded. Endeavoring to make their way back to the ships, they found the passes seized and blocked up by the people of Sorento, who assailed them with dreadful havoc. Their flight now became desperate and headlong; many threw themselves from rocks and precipices into the sea, and but a small portion regained the ships.

The contest of John of Anjou for the crown of Naples lasted four years. For a time fortune favored him, and the prize seemed almost within his grasp, but reverses succeeded: he was defeated at various points; the factious nobles, one by one, deserted him, and returned to their allegiance to Alfonso, and the duke was finally compelled to retire to the island of Ischia. Here he remained for some time, guarded by eight galleys, which likewise harassed the bay of Naples. (287) In this squadron, which loyally adhered to him until he ultimately abandoned this unfortunate enterprise, Columbus is stated to have served.

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Appendix. No. VII.The Colombos.During the early part of the life of Columbus, there were two other navigators, bearing the same name, of some rank and celebrity, with whom he occasionally sailed; their names occurring vaguely from time to time, during the obscure part of his career, have caused much perplexity to some of his biographers, who have supposed that they designated the discoverer. Fernando Columbus affirms them to have been family connections,(285) and his father says, in one of his letters, "I am not the first admiral of our family."These two were uncle and nephew; the latter being termed by
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