10 Facts About Abraham Zacuto


Abraham Zacuto later taught astronomy at the universities of Zaragoza and then Carthage.


Abraham Zacuto was well versed in Jewish Law, and was the rabbi of his community.


Abraham Zacuto was one of the few who managed to flee Portugal during the forced conversions and prohibitions of departure that the Portuguese king Manuel I enacted to keep the Jews in Portugal as nominal Christians for foreign policy reasons.


Abraham Zacuto first fled to Tunis and later moved to Jerusalem.


Abraham Zacuto probably died in 1515 in Jerusalem; however, other reports indicate his final home was the Jewish community in Damascus and his death occurred in 1520.


Abraham Zacuto had announced his wish to make his death pilgrimage at a Passover gathering.


Abraham Zacuto developed a new type of astrolabe, specialised for practical determination of latitude while at sea, in contrast to earlier multi-purpose devices intended for use ashore.


Abraham Zacuto set out the data in a simple "almanac" format, with the positions of a planet easily interpolated between entries, making it quite easy to use.


Abraham Zacuto's Almanach supplied the first accurate table of solar declination, allowing navigators to use the sun instead.


The story is that on one of his voyages, when attacked by the natives, Columbus noted that Abraham Zacuto had predicted an eclipse for that day, and used this information to threaten the natives and convince them that he could extinguish the Sun and Moon and deprive them of all light.