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Christopher Columbus, an Italian navigator, colonizer and explorer, arrived at the shores of the Americas in 1492, and although he was not the first to cross the Atlantic from Europe, he initiated the widespread contact between Europeans and Indigenous Americans. However great as he was he had to circle the globe on the lines of latitude (the parallel lines that circle the earth - the equator circling the earth at zero degrees). To stray from the latitude could mean sailing aimlessly and lost through the mysterious lines of longitude. The lines that threaded from the North to South Pole. At that time there was no means of knowing ones longitude as longitude is based on time - the earth rotating on its axis giving day to night and night to day.
A accurate chronometer that was not effected by the humidity and motion of the sea vessels was required to determine longitude. At the time Christopher Columbus set sail no such timepiece had been created and thus he sailed the latitude.
To find out more about the incredible journey to determine longitude please read my blog:
The Longitude Act of 1714. The desperate struggle for precision.