Tag Archives: India

Columbus sighted land October 12, 1492

Columbus sighted land October 12, 1492

Christopher ColumbusAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

Columbus was looking for a SEA route to India and China because 40 years earlier Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 cutting off the LAND routes.

A biography of Columbus was written by Washington Irving in 1828, filled imaginative dialogue, such as Europeans arguing that the Earth was flat.

Washington Irving was known for imaginative stories such as “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hallow,” Dutch tales of visits from St. Nick, and coining New York City’s nickname “Gotham.”

Europeans knew the Earth was round from as far back as Aristotle in the 4th century BC.

In the 3rd century BC, Eratosthenes computed the circumference of the Earth with geometry and measurements of shadows cast by tall objects in Alexandria and Aswan.

In the 1st century BC, Posidonius used stellar observations at Alexandria and Rhodes to confirm Eratosthenese’s measurements.

In the 2nd century AD, astronomer Ptolemy had written a Guide to Geography, in which he described a spherical earth with one ocean connecting Europe and Asia.

St. Isidore of Seville, Spain, wrote in the 7th century that the earth was round.

Around the year 723 AD, Saint Bede the Venerable wrote in his work “Reckoning of Time” that the Earth was spherical.

Columbus knew the Earth was round, but the question was, how far around.

The confusion was over the length of a mile.

Columbus read Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly’s “Imago Mundi,” which gave Alfraganus’ estimate that a degree of latitude (at the equator) was around 56.7 miles.

What Columbus did not realize was that this was expressed in longer Arabic miles rather than in shorter Roman miles.

Therefore Columbus incorrectly estimated the Earth to be smaller in circumference, about 19,000 miles, rather than the actual nearly 25,000 miles.

Columbus knew there was land to the west, as he had heard stories of Irish monk St. Brendan sailing in 530 AD to “The Land of the Promised Saints which God will give us on the last day.”

He knew of the Christian Viking Leif Erickson’s voyage in the year 1000 to Vinland.

Columbus read of Marco Polo’s travels to China and India in 1271.

He studied Pliny’s “Natural History,” Sir John Mandeville, and Pope Pius II’s “Historia Rerum Ubique Gestarum.”

Columbus corresponded with Florentine physician Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, who suggested China was just 5,000 miles west of Portugal.

Columbus may have possibly seen maps, rumored to have been in Portugal’s royal archives, from China’s treasure fleets which were sent out in 1421 by Ming Emperor Zhu Di.

Based on this, Columbus estimated that Japan, or as Marco Polo called it “Cipangu,” was only 3,000 Roman miles west of the Canary Islands, rather than the actual 12,200 miles.

Since no ship at that time could carry enough food and water for such a long voyage, Columbus would have never set sail if he had known the actual distance.

As a young man, Columbus began sailing on a trip to a Genoese colony in the Aegean Sea named Chios.

In 1476, he sailed on an armed convoy from Genoa to northern Europe, docking in Bristol, England, and Galway, Ireland, and even possibly Iceland in 1477.

When Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453 and hindered land trade routes from Europe to India and China, Portugal, which had been freed from Muslim domination for two centuries, began to search for alternative sea routes.

Portugal, under Prince Henry the Navigator, led the world in the science of navigation and cartography (map-making), and developed a light ship that could travel fast and far, the “caravel.”

During Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery under King John II, Columbus sailed along the west coast of Africa between 1482-1485, reaching the Portuguese trading port of Elmina on the coast of Guinea.

In 1498, Portuguese sailor Vasco de Gama did make it around South Africa to India.

But six year before that, in 1492, the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella finished driving the Muslims out of Spain and wanted to join the quest for a sea trade route to the India.

They backed Columbus’ plan.

Though Columbus was wrong about the miles and degrees of longitude, he did understand trade winds across the Atlantic.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail on the longest voyage to that date out of the sight of land.

Trade winds called “easterlies” pushed Columbus’ ships for five weeks to the Bahamas.

On OCTOBER 12, 1492, Columbus sighted what he thought was India.

He imagined Haiti was Japan and Cuba was the tip of China.

Naming the first island “San Salvador” for the Holy Savior, Columbus wrote of the inhabitants:

“So that they might be well-disposed towards us, for I knew that they were a people to be. ..converted to our Holy Faith rather by love than by force, I gave to some red caps and to others glass beads…

They became so entirely our friends that…I believe that they would easily be made Christians.”

Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.

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293 – Oct 20 – This Day in Baptist History Past


God make me faithful unto death.”

October 20, 1769 – William Ward was born. Just before sailing for India, the Lord caused William Carey’s path to cross that of young William Ward. It was the spring of 1793, and Ward was just 23 years old and was a printer of Derby, who was visiting city friends.

Carey unfolded to him the desire and purpose of his heart respecting Biblical translations. Laying his hand on Ward’s shoulder as they parted, he said, ‘I hope, by God’s blessing to have the Bible translated and ready for the press in four or five years…You must come and print it for us.’ Neither ever forgot this.

It was not until August of 1796 that William Ward was converted and, upon his baptism, united with the Baptist church in Hull. However, soon after that, a Christian friend, recognizing his gifts, offered to pay his expenses to study for the ministry. Thus Ward left the field of journalism and studied under Dr. John Fawcett at Ewood Hall,Yorkshire. Hearing again of the need of the Missionary Society for a printer to publish the Bengalee translation, he offered himself and was accepted.

On May 29, 1799, at the age of 29 Ward sailed with Dr. Marshman, Mr. Brunsdom, and Mr. Grant, with their families, for Bengal. He wrote as follows to Wm. Carey “…I know not whether you will remember a young man, a printer, walking with you from Rippon’s Chapel one Sunday, etc…It is in my heart to live and die with you. May…God make me faithful unto death.” The three have been designated the “Serampore triumvirate.” Carey, Ward, and Joshua Marshman. Ward died in 1823 at 54, Carey in 1834 at 73, and Marshman at 69 in 1837. The cord is joined now once again.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 435-36.


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229 – August, 17 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Carey, Dorothy

Heaven’s bright light was her only escape from her torment

William Carey was born on August 17, 1761, and married Dorothy Plackett on June 10, 1781. The bride was five years his senior, and the couple shared a very meager lifestyle, but Carey considered his wife the “gift of God.” She couldn’t read or write however, Dorothy disciplined herself and learned to do both, as her husband studied, preached, and mended shoes to help pay expenses. One can only imagine the shock that Mrs. Carey experienced when her husband announced that God had called him for missionary service in India. Dorothy, along with Carey’s church members, resisted her travel to India because she was expecting a baby. So Carey took the family to stay with Dorothy’s sister at Piddington. However the officials refused to allow Carey and his companion, Dr. Thomas, passage on the English ship. Arrangements were made on a Danish ship, so Mrs. Carey with her one month-old son and three little ones, boarded the ship for the five-month journey to Bengal. The next 13 years of gloom dates from their first year. Money exhausted, Dorothy ill with a severe case of dysentery, her first born son still worse; unable to even afford bread; appalled at their destitution in a strange and friendless land “her brain began to give way.” Again in 1795 the dysentery came back, and her spirit passed into a “permanent gloom.” “Her mental distress had much worsened throughout her last five years…Carey insisted on keeping her under his own compassionate care, till the first week of Dec. 1807 she emerged from the long fearsome tunnel into heavens’ light and peace. Some have been embarrassed that Dorothy Carey died insane in her adopted land of India, but she will ever take her place as a heroine of the faith.”

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 338-39.

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Great outpouring of God’s Spirit


Rev. John E. Clough was born July 16, 1836, in New York. Soon afterwards they moved to Illinois and finally to Iowa. While training as a lawyer in Burlington in 1857 he was brought under conviction and was gloriously saved. Believing that he was called to proclaim the gospel to those who had never heard, he trained at Upper Iowa University and graduated in 1862. His appointment as a Baptist missionary to India took place in August of 1864, and he arrived in that country in March of 1865. Others had pioneered the work before him beginning in 1836. Lyman Jewett joined the mission in 1849. In 1852 he and his wife visited Ongole. They climbed a slope that overlooked the city and prayed that God would send a missionary to Ongole. Clough responded to that prayer and relocated to that city, and a modern miracle began. On Jan. 1, 1867 they organized a church with 8 members, and by the end of 1879, that church had grown to 13,106 members, with 46 national preachers and thirty assistants. His methods were biblical, tent meetings of evangelism, nationals were trained, and a circuit of more than eighty villages forty miles around ongole. As the work grew other missionaries came to join in the work. During a 3 year famine and pestilence they didn’t baptize but when it was over they baptized on July 3, 1878, 2,222 in one day. From June 16 to July 31, 1878, 8,691 had been immersed upon their profession of faith. This was one of the greatest outpourings of God’s spirit since Pentecost.


Dr. Greg J. Dixon From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp. 272-73.


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William Carey

William Carey
He led Carey to India
1793 – It was on this date that William Carey and Dr. John Thomas boarded the Earl of Oxford for India.  Funds had been raised and they had been commissioned on March 20, therefore they were determined that this was God’s will.  However, when the ship’s captain found out that if he took the missionaries he would lose his commission, he put them ashore.  Through Dr. Thomas a Danish ship agreed to take them and defeat was turned to victory when they also found out that Mrs. Carey and the children would be able to sail with them who were not going to be able to go before and they sailed on June 13.  Dr. Thomas was reared in the home of a Baptist deacon in England where he was early acquainted with the gospel.  He was not saved however, until after medical school and marriage.  Dr. Thomas then was assigned as the assistant surgeon on one of His Majesty’s ships and sailed several times to India.  The British East India, Co. that had begun as a commercial enterprise later had become an arm of the British government.  They were interested only in financial gain which meant that they actually worked against the advancement of the missionary cause.  A few of the employees who were Christians built a chapel for worship in 1715 and invited Dr. Thomas to minister and then invited him to remain on a permanent basis.  But he found out that his Baptist doctrines such as baptism by immersion became a detriment and he found himself at a great loss of financial support.  It was these turn of events that brought the shoemaker-preacher Carey and the doctor together and God opening India as the first mission field for the Baptists of England.  Dr. Thomas suffered many tragedies and died on Oct. 13, 1801, but few know that it was him that led Carey to India.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 137.

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Edward Payson Scott
The Power of Gospel music
1913 – Dr. Edward W. Clark passed away on this memorable day.  He and his wife were the ones that followed Edward Payson Scott to the music loving head-hunting Naga’s in Assam, India.  Payson went with a Bible and a violin in 1869, and the first twelve Naga’s that approached him changed their fierce attitude to joy as they heard him play, “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?”  However, it wasn’t a spear that killed him but the cholera, just a year later.  The Clark’s not only gained entry to the Naga’s but penetrated further South into an even more vicious head-hunting tribe, the Ao-Nagas and spent forty-two years in that land with only two furloughs.  Clark had been born in New York on Feb. 25, 1830.  Receiving Christ early in life as a farm boy, he looked forward to Christian service as he graduated from Brown University and then from seminary in Rochester, N.Y.  He married Mary Mead and served a short pastorate in Logansport, Indiana and became the editor of a Christian publication when he was asked to take charge of a mission printing press in Sibsagor, the ancient capital of Assam, India.  The accomplishments of Dr. and Mrs. Clark surely deserve to rank among those of the great missionary pioneers.  It was sometime before they could settle at Molung among fierce savages.  Clark found time to do a great deal of literary work.  He reduced their language to writing, translated some of the gospels, and printed many books for use in their schools.  His last work was the Ao-Naga-English Dictionary, upon which he worked the last seven years of his life.  He was honored with three honorary doctorates but considered his greatest honor to simply be called a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon, from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson /, pp. 110.
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353 – Dec. 19 – This Day in Baptist History Past


The importance of doctrinal purity


1965 – Silas Fox, known as the White Fox of Andhra, recorded in his journal, “Prayed 3 hours. Read. Praise God.” However, on Sept. 27, 1960, he wrote: “No prayer, Result “TROUBLE: TROUBLE: TROUBLE.”  Andhra is in an area in East India, in which Fox made a great impact, for fifty-one years preaching the gospel of Christ. His biographer said that preaching was his life’s blood, and he really had little gift for anything else. Silas Fox had a passion for souls from the day that pastor Andrew Imrie was used of God to ignite him after Silas was saved through Imrie’s ministry.  In fact the very next day Fox lead a friend to Christ, and that zeal continued throughout his lifetime. Fox was born on Dec. 22, 1893. The next year his father died and he grew to manhood on very meager substance in Canada. After completing his Bible College training in 1916 he married Emma Graus, his childhood sweetheart on Nov. 23, and two days later they left for India. In contrast, in Southern India, in the State of Karala a native Indian missionary and his wife labored, who emigrated to America, were saved through the efforts of Baptist Sunday School workers, graduated from a Baptist Bible College, and went back to their native India with a burden to reach their people for Christ. In eight years he had established eight Baptist churches with their own buildings that throbbed with spiritual life, and a Bible College with thirty students who were training to reach the orient with the gospel. Fox had gone to India at a time when many denominations labored together. There was no doctrinal unity, only mission stations, hence no churches were founded.
[This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 692-94. Donald S. Fox, The White Fox of India (Philadelphia: Dorrance and Company, 1977), p. 135.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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340 – Dec. 06 – This Day in Baptist History Past


First woman missionary to India.


1800 – Hannah Marshman wrote in the mission journal that her outreach  proved successful, for “The women appeared to have learned more of the Gospel than we expected. They declared for Christ at once.” She noticed when going to the bazaar’s that she never saw any women because of the Eastern culture. She knew that they would never be reached unless she visited them in their homes, so she tirelessly went house to house with the gospel. Hannah was the wife of Joshua Marshman, who along with William Carey and William Ward, have often been called the “triumvirate” in reference to the mission in India. In a letter to Andrew Fuller, Carey described Mrs. Marshman as “a prodigy of prudence.” She was certainly a Proverbs Chapter thirty-one woman. She was also the first woman missionary to India. She was born in 1767 in Bristol, England, but her parents died while she was an infant and she was reared by her grandfather, Rev. John Clark, a Baptist minister. Hannah was converted to Christ during her teen years and was baptized. She married Joshua Marshman in 1792, and he taught in the Christian school at the Broadmead Baptist Church in Bristol. Marshman studied Hebrew and Syriac under John Ryland and when William Carey appealed for a linguist the Marshmans sailed for India in 1795 with eight adult missionaries and their children. In Serampore they lived in a compound and it was Hannah’s duty to manage it. The Marshmans established a boarding school which also provided an education for the missionaries children. Hannah served for fifty years in India, taking one furlough. She died in 1847.
[This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 667-68. Nesta B. Shoddy, Great Baptist Women (London: Carey Kingsgate Press, Ltd. 1955), p.42.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg Dixon


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289 – Oct. 16 – This Day in Baptist History Past


Wm. Ward


Other missionaries followed him


1798 – William Ward was appointed to serve as a printer, along with William Carey in India. Dr. Carey had translated the Bible into many languages in the area, and now was interested in a Javanese New Testament when he invited Gottlob Bruckner, a German, to come to India. Rev. Bruckner, with his two sons, made the journey in 1828. Little did he know that he would return to his wife three years later with only one son, having buried the other with a tropical fever. When the task was completed the missionary and his son boarded the ship with 2,000 Javanese Testaments, twenty thousand tracts, and a set of type faces with Javanese letters. Their ship was almost sunk in a typhoon, then arriving home soldiers seized all but a few of the Testaments, but he would not quit. Gottlob was born in 1783 on a farm in Germany. At age 20 he went to Berlin to seek his fortune and heard a gospel preacher and was saved. Through incredible trials he finally reached Semarang, Java in 1814 and became the pastor of a Dutch church and married his wife. While there Rev. and Mrs. Thomas Trowt, Baptist missionaries from England arrived, and they became great friends. It was Trowt that convinced Bruckner of believer’s baptism and when he immersed him the church folks turned him out of his pulpit. It was only six months later that Trowt died of a tropical fever. Bruckner died in 1857 and saw few direct results from his preaching, but other Christian missionaries followed him, and today there are more professing believers in Java than any place on earth where Islam is the strong majority religion. [S. Pearce Carey, William Carey (London: Hodder and Stoughton Limited, 1924), pp. 177, 410. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 566-68.]   Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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277 – Oct. 04 – This Day in Baptist History Past


He published the Word


1829 – Cephas and Stella Bennett arrived in Calcutta, having sailed from Philadelphia the previous May. After spending several months observing the printing ministry of William Carey in India, they continued on to Maulmain, Burma, arriving on January 14, 1830. Cephas was born to the godly Rev. and Mrs. Alfred Bennett, pastor of the Baptist church in Homer, N.Y on March 20, 1804. Alfred was greatly used of the Lord in advancing the cause of foreign missions so it wasn’t unusual that his son would hear the “call of the heathen.”  Cephas became burdened to preach as well as to print the word, so when he returned to America because of poor health in 1839, he was ordained and returned to the field in 1842. He had taken an American press with him, and his work was so efficient that in 1837, a tract was given to practically every Burman in Rangoon, who could read. Hundreds daily sought the missionaries to learn about Jesus, and many were saved through this effort. Large quantities of Bibles, New Testaments, portions of scriptures, innumerable books, besides tracts were made available. In 1834 Bennett founded the Maulmain Free School, which enrolled 122 children. At one time his was the only press in the world that could print in several languages, allowing him to provide the gospel to millions. Bro. Cephas Bennett finally left the field at age 77, having served in Burma for fifty years. [Henry C. Vedder, A Short History of Baptist Missions Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1927), p. 99. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 543-44.]  Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon


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