In 1488, on this day the Italian navigator Cristoforo Colombo entered the Lisbon quarters of his brother, the cartographer Bartolomeo with an application for royal funds to be presented at the English Court.
How the English Discovered AmericaNarrowly escaping the clutches of pirates, the map-maker arrived safely in Bristol where old shipmates and acquaintenances were easily found. These men would ultimately crew the St Mary, the Galway, the Painted and the St Clare. But first he had to travel to the English Court looking for money and support.
Of course, Henry VII had the necessary intelligence to see the benefit of an English-financed voyage of discovery, but the King was cautious about investing money in doubtful enterprises. Ultimately he was persuaded by the testimony of the Bristol mariners, who substantiated Bartolomeo's broader arguments with specific witnessed accounts of red dye from Brazil and fishing stocks off the coast of Newfoundland.
And so Batolomeo was issued with a royal letter of patent, charging the Colombo brothers with "free authority, faculty and power to sail to all parts, regions and coasts of the eastern, western and northern sea, under our banners, flags and ensigns, with five ships or vessels of whatsoever burden and quality they may be, and with so many and with such mariners and men as they may wish to take with them in the said ships, at their own proper costs and charges, to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians".