Thursday, January 20, 2011

The 4th: Columbus

Alright - so you all remember that I have mentioned I am in an American history course this semester at college. It is weird to be back in this area of study! I was fortunate with my high school curriculum being very diverse, so my American history classes ended in sophomore year and then I took A LOT of classes in humanities, Europe, politics, and world history.
So being back in an American history class is AWESOME. I forgot so many of the interesting stories I had learned, and now at a college level, you finally get to wipe out some of the crap stories people tell you that aren't true at all.

Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

1) Christopher Columbus did NOT think the world was flat. No one did, unless you were very uneducated.  The Greeks had already figured out that the earth was round in the 6th century B.C., and almost the exact size of the Earth in the 3rd century B.C. The reason so many people doubted Columbus's plan was the fact few believed India (the intended destination) would be reachable by sailing east, and assumed they would run out of supplies before they reached land.
2) Another old (fake) story was that the Spanish monarchy had to sell some of the royal jewels to finance the trip - not true at all.
A statue of Leif Eriksson by the St. Paul capitol! Goooo Vikes!
3) There is complete evidence now that it was not Columbus who found America, but the Viking, Leif Eriksson around 1001AD - about 491 years before Columbus.
Amerigo Vespucci... maybe we don't celebrate him
because him name just doesn't roll off the tongue
as easily as Christopher Columbus.
4) Even though Columbus gets a celebration day on our calendars, he was left out of the best part - naming the new land! Since he was convinced he had landed somewhere in India, it wasn't until Amerigo Vespucci came to the New World in 1499 that he realized it must be a new continent - thus, the name America is modeled after Amerigo.
5) When Columbus returned to America for the second time in 1493, he was told by the Spanish monarchs to "treat the Indians very well." But when Columbus got to America, he realized the unsupervised soldiers created chaos by raping women and robbing villages. When the Natives retaliated and killed 10 of the Spaniards, Columbus had them murdered with crossbows, guns, and dogs. He then loaded up roughly 550 natives on a boat to be introduced to the Spanish slave trade.

Seems like a nice guy, huh?

I'll be back with more!

(As for the funny picture, I couldn't find it with a good resolution - but I have decided I need the T-shirt that proclaims: "HISTORY MAJOR. YOU WOULD BE MORE INTERESTING TO ME IF YOU WERE DEAD."  --Awesome.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad we have a federal holiday named after that guy. Such a charmer.