Did navigators and astronomers in Columbus's time have the wherewithall to calculate the Earth's circumference?

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  • 7 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Yes, they did. Columbus, for some weird reason, thought the circumference was much smaller than what most educated people thought. He believed the circumference was only 25,260 km, but the correct value is 40,000 km, known for many centuries before Columbus. He also though the distance to Japan was only 3,700 km (correct value is 19,600 km). He was wrong .. and very lucky that there was another land mass in the way.

  • Anonymous
    7 months ago

    somewhat.. that's how they found the Earth is flat...  move along children..

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  • John P
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    In fact in about 240 BC the Greek scholar, Eratosthenes, calculated the size of the Earth to within 4% of its now known value, and Arab scholars in the ad 700s calculated it to within 1%. Both far closer than the value that Columbus worked with!

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  • Anonymous
    7 months ago

    Yes, of course. In fact, an ancient Greek had done it (quite accurately) well over a thousand years earlier. People in the 15th century could easily have repeated that guy's experiment. They didn't, though.

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  • Bill-M
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    Yes. The Greeks did.

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  • 7 months ago

    They could Hazard a Guess but did not take into account the American Landmasses as they weren't known

    25, 260 Km was estimate when the true circumference is actually 40,000 Km

    2, 000 years ago in Ancient Greece, Erostathonese made a startlingly accurate Calculation

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  • abdul
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    No. They thought the earth was much smaller than it is. This is why they were surprised when Columbus found the western hemisphere instead of a shorter route to the spice islands.

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  • 7 months ago

    YES!!!!

    A classical Greek scientist , Eratosthenes, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, calculated the circumference of the Earth to a very high degree of accuracy. This was done in about 240 B.C.

    I suggest you look in Wikipedia, under Circumference of the Earth.

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  • marty
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    Yes they did.Earth's circumference was first accurately measured more than 2,000 years ago by the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes, who at the time lived in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.

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  • 7 months ago

    The ancient Egyptians calculated the earth's circumference.

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