Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
And ended up somewhere other than where he thought he was going. And claimed to have discovered a place that had actually been “discovered” hundreds of years earlier, and inhabited thousands of years before that. And proceeded to rape, rob and murder those inhabitants and returned to Spain a hero.
During my travels to Spain I noticed a fair amount of worship of Cristóbal Colón as he is known there,
with no shortage of statues and memorials dedicated to the explorer. In Seville, Columbus is buried in the beautiful Seville Cathedral where in a tomb held aloft by four figures representing the four kingdoms of Spain during Columbus’ life, Castille, Aragon, Navara and Leon.
In Madrid, there is the Plaza de Colón, where two monuments exist paying homage to Columbus and his voyage to discover the Americas: the Columbus statue that sits atop a tall pinnacle pointing west, indicating the route he would take to the Americas, and four massive stone blocks dedicated to the discovery of the New World called the Jardines del Descubrimiento (Discovery Gardens).
The Columbus statue in Barcelona is similar to the one in Madrid, in that it sits on tall pinnacle and is pointing, though
not to the west, but towards the sea signifying his naval explorations.
Since his exploits brought a lot of wealth and prestige to Spain, I get that the country wants to pay homage to him, I guess. But all the hoopla over Columbus in the US, that I don’t get. As P.J. O’Rourke noted,
“Everybody in 15th century Spain was wrong about where China was and as a result, Columbus
discovered Caribbean vacations.”
So I guess on the national holiday dedicated to a navigationally-challenged explorer – not to mention sex-slaver, mass murderer and just plain awful human being (see The Oatmeal on why Christopher Columbus was awful) – Americans should go to the Caribbean (taking advantage of the incredible deals offered by airlines and hotels)?
What are you thoughts on Columbus Day? Should America celebrate? Rename it? Abolish it?