I love writing about weird holidays that are celebrated both nationally and internationally. I’ve talked about celebrations like Taco Day, Curmudgeon Day, Mad Hatter Day and much more. There’s one holiday, though, that has always befuddled me.
Just like many other’s, I am off work today in honor of Columbus Day. Banks are closed, schools kids are off, and retailers dominate our TV’s with sales! Then I started thinking, what do I really know about Columbus Day other than what I was taught in school and that I get a day off work in October?
Here’s a little of what I learned in school:
- In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue
- Columbus had three ships: the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria
- He discovered the Americas
- Columbus wanted to find a new route from Asia to Europe for spices
- Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand funded Columbus’ voyages
I’m sure there are more ‘fun’ facts I learned in school but you get the idea, right?
I had a foundation of what Columbus Day was all about but my appetite was whetted and I needed to know more. What I discovered was shocking!!
Would the Real Columbus Please Stand-Up
I found it interesting, as I researched and read, that perhaps many education curriculums are written with lies. Apparently, those who wrote the curriculum I learned in school had a revisionist history in their minds when it came to Columbus.
Columbus wasn’t all the schools built him up to be. In fact, he was somewhat of a horrible person! His history is bespeckled with things of greed, lies, and horrible treatment of others who were on this land long before he arrived. In fact, there is evidence he didn’t actually discover the Americas.
Did You Know…
Columbus was deplorable in his treatment of others – Columbus actually enslaved the natives who were already on the land when he arrived. Yep! He put them to work in his gold mines and if they didn’t collect enough gold to suit his taste, he had their hands chopped off and hung the hand on the person’s neck as a warning to others.ͣ Why didn’t I ever learn THAT in school? I’m sure it was to protect my child mind and to protect what they thought I should know.
Columbus was a Liar – Columbus also altered his log books so as to fool his crew. He kept one log for his eyes only and another that the crew could see. Apparently, the voyage was longer than he anticipated and he wanted to keep his crew’s apprehensions at bay, so he falsified one log showing a lesser distance than they had actually gone. In the log for himself, he kept a record of the actual distance.ᵇ I never would’ve believed that the man we celebrate as one who discovered this land was in the liars club.
Columbus was Less Than Noble in His Intentions – Columbus may have told Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand he wanted to find new routes for the spice trade, but the agreement he wanted and received tells another story. Columbus was to gain significant wealth and status from his travels. He would get 10 percent of anything he found whether it be gold, pearls, silver, spices or other things he got while on the voyage. He would also be proclaimed admiral, viceroy, and governor of any land he discovered. ͨ That’s not a character trait schools want to teach young, pliable minds!
Columbus Didn’t Discover America – Nope! There were many others who came before him. There is evidence that there were millions (probably Native Americans) of others living on this land long before Columbus ‘discovered’ it, nearly 12,000 years ago. It is also believed that the Vikings, specifically Leif Erikson sailed to this land in 1,000 AD nearly 492 years before Columbus. 70 years before Columbus sailed there is evidence that Chinese Admiral Zheng He was also here. The greatest shocker was that in 22,000 BC peoples known as Solutreans were here from Europe. So, did Columbus really discover America? I’m thinking NO, how about you? ͩ
I’ve asked myself how knowing all of these things makes me feel and I have to tell you I just don’t know. Part of me wants to hang on to my naive and childish thoughts and part of me wants to ask, what the heck?!
What do you think knowing some of these things about Christopher Columbus could be true?