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Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus day and other slander

sailing ship 1 

I hate this day, I like federal holidays as much as the next person and the fact that my husband can read this over my shoulder is fantastic.  However, I hate the premise that this day is based on.

Christopher Columbus was a pirate, as well as a human trafficker, and a thief.  However, there are plenty of posts on his behavior with the natives he found on the island of Hispaniola, Cuba. 

That is right, Cuba and not the continent of North America.  In fact he never once stepped foot on the land we call his "discovery".  The honor of the discovery of America goes back much farther.  The Russians and the Polynesian arrived more than 1000 years prior to Columbus.  Also the great explorer Leif Erickson discovered the America's five hundred years before Columbus.  So many groups of people knew this continent existed. 

What are some other myths about Columbus?  He was going to sail to India to open a trade rout and prove the world was round.  For one second let us take a look of the invention of the globe,  Something that most wealthy individuals would have had.  The first terrestrial or (earth) globe was invented by Martin Behaim in N├╝rnberg, Germany, in 1474.  At least this is earliest we can find.  Since Columbus sailed in 1492 one would think that there was a small issue with the numbers.  The earth was accepted as round prior to him leaving on his trip.  Yes there were a lot of issues with the globe as it was portrayed at the time but it was a globe. Columbus knew the world was round but thought that the size of the world was overestimated by a good margin.  I bet that must have been a shock we he discovered that the size of the world was greatly underestimated.

The Church did not hate Columbus, they in fact housed and cared for him.  The Spanish monks helped Columbus petition the Queen for funding.  The Archbishop of Seville was one of Columbus's greatest supporters. 

Columbus didn't find gold?  Nope he found a ton of it and slaves to work the mines.  That is why he was pardoned for his crimes against humanity the first time.  The coffers of Spain were full of gold from Columbus and his crews.  That is why he made so many trips back and forth. 

One thing that Columbus did have was a great ability to navigate, that part is not exaggerated.  However, what he did with that ability is not as note worthy as one would wish. 

While I am poking holes in popular versions of history I will add in one more issue that has bugged me. 

The midnight ride was not performed by Paul Revere; Revere lit the light house and then was captured before they had finished 20 miles.  Reveres job was to light the warning signal, and it was an important one, I don't downgrade what he did.  The midnight ride as described in the poem was performed by Israel Bissell.  However, since it was not a romantic sounding name he was left out of the poem and the credit was given to a different man.  However, I know for a fact that one of the decedents of Henry Wadsworth was able to apologize to a decedent of Israel Bissell, and forgiveness was forgiven. 

That is all the clearing of pop culture history mistakes that will be done for today. 

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