Monday, October 11, 2010

Christopher Who?

In the United States, today is Columbus Day.  When I was young, this was the day we celebrated the day that Christopher Columbus discovered America.

Except it was only the Caribbean islands.
And there were natives waiting for him on the beach.

Well, OK, maybe there had been people living here since the last Ice Age.  Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the Americas.

Except for the Vikings
And possibly a drunken Irish Monk

OK, so he was an Italian expatriate who hired himself to the Spanish crown to find a way to the far east so the Spanish could beat out the Portuguese in bringing silk, spice, and gold to Europe from India and China.

Except he couldn't calculate how far the East Indies are, so when he ran into land that was 1/4 of the circumference of the globe away from where he thought he ought to be, he faked it and declared victory.

OK, so he was a great leader.... Wait, what?  

Mutiny?  Skull duggery?  Slaves?  Diseases?

OK, today we celebrate an Italian mercenary who couldn't read a map or the stars, and survived his little adventure as much by luck as by skill and effort.  He brought diseases to the Caribbean that helped to wipe out entire races, and probably introduced a few in Europe that ran wild for hundreds of years.

But hey, he was a heck of a guy!  Happy Columbus Day!


bluesun said...

And here I was thinking the capital of Ohio got its own holiday while all the other ones were left in the cold.

By the way, I think your links are messed up, though I love the story of St. Brendan.

Old NFO said...

LOL- Good one! Thanks!

DaddyBear said...

Thanks bluesun. I fixed them.

Jay G said...

Gotta watch those damned Italians...

Shannon said...

In our house, it's "hey we get the day off for no significant reason!"

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