Why I chose the name “TradeWinds”

trade (n.)[1] From late 14th century English, “path, track, course of action.”

trade wind (n.)[2] From 17th century English, “wind blowing almost constantly in one direction.”

The “trade winds” are a path or a track discovered by Christopher Columbus in the late 15th century.  These winds provided a predictable, steady and stable route during the Great Age of Sail because the winds blow permanently and predictably from the north western coast of Africa directly to the Caribbean. European ships bound for the Americas would sail down to the coast of Africa to the Canary Islands and catch a ride in the “trade winds.”  This path was their ticket to the new world, and the route was well traveled from the late 16th century to the late 19th century.

This diagram illustrates Columbus’ first route to the New World (in red) and the trade winds he used to get there (in black). Columbus’ return trip (in red) was powered by the Westerlies.


Here is a short video in which meteorologist Grant Gilmore of 10News WTSP, Tampa, FL. describes how the the “trade winds” work.

What are the trade winds?

[1] “Trade.”  On-line Etymology Dictionary, https://www.etymonline.com/word/trade

[2] “Trade wind.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trade%20wind.