Monday, October 10, 2005


They still laugh at Christopher Columbus

Ugly? Certainly. Misguided? Without a doubt. A mommy’s boy? Let the facts fall where they may.

Yes, I am talking about Christopher Columbus, a man whose actions made him famous, even though “was not a perfect person by any means, and was a man of many flaws,” according to one historian.

Is it any wonder, however, that as America celebrates the wrong founder of its country, Canada celebrates its own Thanksgiving day? One of the things Canada is thankful for, by the way, must be that Columbus gets no credit for finding the other part of North America.

Born in Genoa, the son of a wool merchant and weaver, in 1451, Christopher wound up in Spain thanks to his brother, Bart, a cartographer (map-maker). Legend has it that Christopher was haunted into his teens by dreams of finding a “new world,” and that his brother jokingly claimed he could make a map for Chris to find it. “And when you find it,” his brother allegedly said, “we can all go there and eat Spanish rice and salami wearing funny hats with feathers.”

Facts are still uncertain about Chris’s journeys. After five hundred years there's still disagreement about just where Columbus set foot upon his new world. Historians wrote that before he got to Cuba he went to five islands in the Bahamas. He reportedly named them San Salvador, Santa Maria de la Concepcion, Fernandina, Isabela, and Las Islas de Arena. But some say he just called them Island I through Island IV, because he wasn’t so smart.

On the day America celebrates this man, I come not to bury him but to praise him. If nothing else, the wonderful circle named after him in New York City is a delightful place to hold the hand of someone you love.

For facts, theories and history on Columbus, click here.

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