by Kate Collins
For your entertainment and in honor of Columbus Day, which the US has celebrated since 1937, I did a little research -- and came away scratching my head. Because in fact there's not much of a reason to honor Señor Columbus.
First of all, he was not the first to believe his ship wouldn't fall off the end of the ocean. Most educated Europeans of his time already knew the world was round.
Second, a number of other explorers landed on the continent before Chris did. He actually bumped into it while trying to reach the East Indies, which is why it is believed he called the native Americans "Indians." He didn't even know this great big continent existed. A geography scholar he was not.
Third, he wanted to enslave the natives and actually took some back to Spain with him, where they were displayed on the streets of Barcelona and Seville.
So whose idea was this holiday anyway? And why do we keep celebrating it? Or do we? Bankers no longer get it off. Do you?
Here are what some famous people had to say about the man, courtesy of Maria Vultaggio, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered. I myself would say that it had merely been detected.” -- Oscar Wilde
“Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by posterity because he was the last to discover America.” -- James Joyce
“If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.” -- Stephen Hawking
“When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, ‘Ours.’” -- Vine Deloria Jr.
“If Columbus had an advisory committee, he would probably still be at the dock.” -- Arthur Goldberg
AND MY FAVORITE: “America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.” -- Oscar Wilde
My question to you is, should we keep honoring this explorer or should we give the distinction to a true American hero? And who would you pick for that?
Enjoy your holiday!