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At about 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, 1492, a native of an island over four thousand miles west, south-west of Palos de la Frontera in Spain, may have been walking along the beach with a torch to light his way home, and the flame of his torch may have been the light that was seen from the deck of a ship rising and falling gently on the ocean swells 3 nautical miles offshore.

In the impenetrable darkness of the sea off his stern, the ship’s admiral thought he saw a glimmer of light. He watched for a moment, then called urgently, “Pero, come here.”

Pero Gutierrez stepped quietly to his side. The admiral pointed. “Do you see it? Like a candle flame, rising and falling.”

Pero peered intently in the direction of the admiral’s finger.

“I see it,” he whispered.

Cristobal Colon ordered his fleet of 3 ships to lay by and wait for the dawn.

 

(The scene described above is recreated from the actual diary of the brilliant navigator we call Christopher Columbus.)

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