a new world

thanks to Columbus

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As the childhood rhyme goes, In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Every October 14th we “celebrate” Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus discovered a New World: America.

Like we learned from our grade school history classes, Columbus did not believe the world was flat; he believed its circumference was much smaller than it is. This helped him develop his west-to-East plan. Which would in-turn lead to his discovery of the New World. A few more facts that we also learned growing up:  Columbus used three ships on his voyage the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.

After doing a little reading about Columbus on Columbus Day I read the following:

Columbus tends to be credited with discovering America, but that assertion is not historically true, Christopher Wanjek wrote for CBS News Thursday.

“Yes, let’s ignore the fact that millions of humans already inhabited this land later to be called the Americas, having discovered it millennia before,” Wanjek wrote. “And let’s ignore that whole Leif Ericson voyage to Greenland and modern-day Canada around 1000 C.M.E. If Columbus discovered America, he himself didn’t know. Until his death he claimed to have landed in Asia, even though most navigators knew he didn’t.”

So why does the U.S. celebrate Columbus? Wanjek argues that because the U.S. was fighting with England in the early years of the nation’s existence, colonists chose to discount John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland around 1497 and go with Christopher Columbus as their heroic explorer instead.

So what’s your opinion is Columbus a hero, a villain or both? Whatever you think we have to remember that Columbus Day is celebrated in the United States, but many nations home to, visited and/or explored by Christopher Columbus also celebrate the holiday in their own ways.

Here’s to Columbus!

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