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0 Comments | Feb 20, 2010

Outrun the Devil – Cast of Characters

Cast of Characters

  1. Columbus, Christopher – Explorer who traveled to the New World four times in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.
  1. Ferdinand II of Aragon (the Catholic) – King of Aragon and Castile, from 1479 to 1516.

  1. Fir, Ain – Rodrigo’s pet peregrine falcon.

  1. Isabella 1 (the Catholic) – Queen of Castile and Leon from 1474 to 1504.
  1. Morillo, Miguel de – Dominican friar and one of two original inquisitors of Castile, appointed in 1480, well prior to Torq’s appointment as IG.
  1. Torquemada, Tomas de –Inquisitor General of Spain (from 1483 to his death in 1498), Spanish Dominican friar. On Oct. 17, 1483, Thomas de Torquemada, then sixty-three years of age and prior of a monastery at Segovia, his native city, was appointed inquisitor-general.
  1. Torres, Luis de – One of 5 conversos on Columbus’ expedition, the one who first set foot in the new world. He served as Columbus’s translator, as he knew both Hebrew and Arabic.
  1. Triana, Catalina de – Lope’s wife, Rodrigo’s aunt.
  1. Triana, Ines de – Daughter of Lope and Maria, cousin of Rodrigo.
  1. Triana, Lope de – Rodrigo’s uncle, brother of his father Pedro de Triana.
  1. Triana, Marina de – Rodrigo’s mother.

  1. Triana, Vicente de – Rodrigo’s father.
  1. Triana, Rodrigo de – One of 5 conversos on Columbus’ expedition, the one who first sighted land in the new world. He will have a pet falcon through whose eyes he can see in addition to his own.

Note: Bold names are genuine historical characters


De Triana, Rodrigo

(Born 1469 in Seville, Spain) was a Marrano sailor and the first European since the Vikings known to have seen America. Born as Juan Rodrigo Bermejo, Triana was the son of hidalgo and potter Vicente Bermejo and Sereni Betancour. His father may have been murdered during the Spanish Inquisition because of his Jewish heritage.

On October 12, 1492, while on Christopher Columbus’s ship La Pinta, he sighted land of the Americas.

After spotting America at approximately two o’clock in the morning, he is reported to have shouted “¡Tierra! ¡Tierra!” (land! land!) Columbus claims in his journal that he saw “light” at 10 p.m. the previous day, “but it was so indistinct that he did not dare to affirm it was land”

Triana went without reward and credit for this find. According to Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, he moved to Africa and converted to Islam following his unrewarded discovery.

The addition of the fictional falcon adds an interesting flair to his sighting of land, because we can create a situation in which the falcon actually spots it first because he‘s up in the air. The boy can see what he sees and so has a natural advantage!

De Torres, Luis

(died 1493), perhaps born as יוסף בן הלוי העברי, Yosef Ben Ha Levy Haivri , (“Joseph the Son of Levy the Hebrew”) was Christopher Columbus’s interpreter on his first voyage and the first person of Jewish origin to settle in the New World.

While still a Jew, de Torres served as an interpreter to the governor of Murcia due to his knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Portuguese. In order to avoid the expulsion edict against the Jews of Spain, de Torres converted to Catholicism shortly before the departure of Columbus’s expedition. Columbus hoped that the interpreter’s skills would be useful in Asia because they would enable him to communicate with local Jewish traders, and he may also have believed that he would find descendants of the Ten Los Tribes of Israel.

After arriving at Cuba, which he supposed to be the Asian coast, Columbus sent de Torres and the sailor Rodrigo de Jerez for an expedition inland on November 2, 1492. Their task was to explore the country, to contact its ruler and to gather information about the Asian emperor described by Marco Polo as the “Great Khan”. The two men were received with great honors in an Indian village, from where they returned four days later. They did report on the native custom of drying leaves, inserting them in cane pipes, burning them, and inhaling the smoke: the first European encounter with tobacco.

When Columbus set off for Spain on January 4, 1493, Luis de Torres was among the 39 men who stayed behind at the settlement of La Navidad founded on the island of Hispaniola. Coming back by the end of that year, Columbus learnt that the whole garrison had been wiped out by internal strife and by an Indian attack, which had occurred in retaliation to the Spaniards’ abducting native women. The Indians remembered that one of the settlers had spoken “offensively and disparagingly” about the Catholic faith, trying to dissuade anybody from adopting it. According to Gould, this man may well have been de Torres, who had probably not converted voluntarily.

On September 22, 1508, de Torres’s widow Catalina Sánchez, living then in Moguer (Andalusia), received a grant from the Spanish treasury in recompense for the services of her deceased husband.

The Luis de Torres Synagogue in Freeport, Bahamas is named after Luis de Torres, and there is a great amount of traditions on his life. The most wide-spread one, which can be found in the Encyclopedia Judaica and similar reference books, affirms that he became in his latter days a wealthy and honored landowner in the West Indies. This version goes back to Meyer Kayserling’s book Christopher Columbus and the participation of the Jews in the Spanish and Portuguese discoveries (1894). In fact, Kayserling confused de Torres with another Spanish explorer who in 1514 was granted an estate and Indian slaves in Cuba.

The story of de Torres addressing an Indian crowd, who sometimes smoked tobacco through their noses, in Hebrew after Columbus’s first landfall on San Salvador is a product of novelists’ imagination. De Torres is also believed to have discovered the turkey and named it after the Hebrew tukki (parrot) of the Bible. Still another legend has him return to Spain and smoke tobacco there, which led to his being accused for witchcraft by the Inquisition.

Without mentioning de Torres’s Jewish origins, some Islamic websites have claimed the participation of “an Arabic-speaking Spaniard” in Columbus’s Atlantic crossing as a proof for the antiquity of Arab American history. The legendary San Salvador speech is said here to have taken place in Arabic. These conjectures have been given credentials in an article by Phyllis McIntosh in the U. S. State Department’s publication Washington File (August 23, 2004): “It is likely that Christopher Columbus, who discovered America in 1492, charted his way across the Atlantic Ocean with the help of an Arab navigator.”

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