Tuesday, October 11, 2011
What is Columbus Day?
On October 12, 1492, the Italian seaman Christopher Columbus first stepped foot on the soil of the Americas, bringing with him European culture, goods, religion and practices. While other Europeans and Asians had arrived in the “New World” before him, Columbus publicized his discoveries throughout Europe, which spurred a wave of exploration and expansion throughout the Americas.
Why Is Columbus Day Celebrated?
“In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…"
Ironically, Columbus did not plan on discovering a “New World”. He left Iberia with the blessing (and financing) of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, hoping to arrive in the Indies, a series of islands in South East Asia that Spain frequently traded with through long and expensive journeys on land. His goal was to find a quicker, water-based route instead.
How Is Columbus Day Observed?
But what Columbus wasn't aware of was the existence of the land masses of North and South America. So when he sailed west, he didn't land in the Indies, but rather he anchored in the Bahamas at a place he named “San Salvador”. When he came ashore on San Salvador, he mistook the native people for natives of India, calling them Indians, a misnomer which stands to this day. In fact, Columbus returned to the Americas three more times over the course of 12 years without knowing that he had arrived in an uncharted land, halfway around the globe from his intended destination!
Posted by Window on America at 10:47 AM