1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Okay, that part is true, but it turns out that most of what you and I learned about Columbus when we were in grade school was more myth than historical fact. I know what you’re thinking—don’t ruin it for me. Columbus Day is a holiday after all, legitimately celebrated by many who revere Columbus as a hero, much as I did when I made my first cut-and-paste versions of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.
Unfortunately, we may have fallen for a legend instead of a real man. True or False?
--Columbus discovered America.
--Columbus proved to everyone that the earth was round.
--Columbus and the Native Americans got along famously after he arrived in the New World.
OK, so you might have guessed that last statement is a whopper, but the other two “facts” are False as well.
Today’s history teachers have a more complicated task ahead of them when they broach the subject of Columbus. First, there’s getting rid of the misinformation; then, there’s dealing with the darker topics that surround Columbus, namely, genocide and slavery. Yikes!
It’s probably unfair to blame it all on Columbus. Chances are he was just a man of his time--an adventurous spirit looking for fame and fortune and willing to do unthinkable things in the name of progress. Hmm, something sounds familiar here. There are many ugly moments in American history and many flawed individuals we revere as heroes. Still, Christopher Columbus had courage, he had vision and he had persistence…and maybe that's enough to celebrate this Columbus Day.
Find out more about Christopher Columbus, his life and times by visiting:History Channel: The Columbus Controversy
Wikipedia: Christopher Columbus
Biography Christopher Columbus
Then, test your recall with a Columbus Day quiz
Contributed by Danyelle