SAVED BY AN ECLIPSE
Christopher Columbus discovered America; but he nearly died mid-journey, and was saved by an lalmanac and a natural spectacle.
In 1503, on Columbus’s fourth and final journey to the New World, his ships were attacked by ship worms that ate away at his ships.
On June 25, 1503, two of the ships docked on the island now known as Jamaica, hoping for help from Europe. The Arawak Indians living there first treated the crew like royal guests but later abandoned them. No food or shelter spelled death for the stranded Europeans.
Long ago, ship captains relied mainly on astrological charts and Columbus had with him the two books he always brought along.
One was Ephemeris by German mathematician and astronomer, Johannes Muller von Koenigsberg. This was an almanac with astronomical tables covering the years 1475–1506, giving detailed information the sun, moon and planets, as well as stars and constellations to navigate by. The second was an almanac of more than 300 pages of astronomical tables called Hachibut Hagadol (Perpetual Almanac of the Heavenly Bodies) by Rabbi Abraham Zacuto, who also served as royal astronomer to the King of Portugal.
From these books, Columbus learned that a lunar eclipse was predicted for the evening of February 29, 1504, and came up with a brilliant plan.
He told the Arawaks that G–D was very angry at them for no longer helping the stranded explorers, and therefore, their moon would be taken away from them in 3 days. Three days later, the terrified Arawaks watched as a beautiful full moon began to be nibbled away by something or somebody! In moments they were on their knees begging Columbus for forgiveness. Columbus promised to return their moon. When the eclipse was over, so were the troubles of his crew until aid arrived from Spain.
Source: Mishpacha Magazine