National Geographic : 1992 Jan
the Centurione and Di Negro families to Madeira as factor to handle their affairs. I found evidence that Columbus and his bride lived there for some time -not on Porto Santo, as popularly believed: When he later passed through the islands on his third New World voyage, he was welcomed as a former resident on Madeira but enjoyed no such greeting at Porto Santo, where he also put in. Columbus was on Madeira in 1478, when the sugar transaction occurred that required his return to Genoa to testify. In the lawsuit he declared that he had a personal fortune of "more than 100 florins." Clearly the young factor had married well and risen in the world of trade. By 1480 the couple had returned to Lisbon, where their son Diego was born. There, Columbus acquired from his father-in-law's widow the charts and documents describing the Atlantic voyages. These excited him, stirring his developing interest in ocean exploration. Perhaps among those papers he discovered a copy of a letter by Paolo dal Pozzo Tosca nelli, respected Florentine geographer and mathematician, dated June 25, 1474, that was to be sent to Portugal's king. Another copy was found in the 19th century, at the back of one of Columbus's books and con taining Latin errors typical of him. Charles Gold fever grips a laborer (below) shov eling and straining mud from the banks of Ghana's Ankobra River. Crowned by a golden galaxy, Chief Nana Yaw Asante (opposite) owns part of the river and leases stakes to prospectors. Columbus caught the fever too. "Anyone who has [gold]," he wrote, "can do whatever he likes in the world. ... even bring souls into paradise."