Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day 2010

Columbus' First Journey.  Image from Wikipedia

Christopher Columbus did what other explorers failed to do.  He added the Old World to an ancient world to create the New World.  His discovery of the ancient world helped Nicolaus Copernicus to divorce astronomy from geography and destroyed early Christian-cosmos influenced ideas of world geography.  Finally, his discovery led to the start of the Age of Discovery which ensured the importance of geography to world powers, merchants, and colonists.  (His misadventure later on around Central America may even have given "America" its name).

Today his holiday is celebrated and despised in many ways.  Even though Columbus was a proud man and poor administrator, and there were many ills committed by the European conquers of the Western Hemisphere, it is undeniable that Columbus' travels remade the world, remade geography, and allowed for great deeds to be accomplished in the truly New World.

4 comments:

SRF said...

This is the first positive post I've seen about Columbus today, oddly enough. The pendulum of public opinion, at least in the SF Bay Area has turned strongly against Cristobal Colon.

-Sammy from GeoCurrents

Catholicgauze said...

Hi Sammy,
Sadly I have shared your experience with Columbus Day on the blogs (and Twitter). While Columbus did have his share of faults (his subjects sent him back in chains to Spain!) his contribution of refinding America and getting the Old World to do something about it did change everything. Europe was done and out to the Islamic conquests and the West seemed cornered. The energies from finding the ancient world and getting Europe to follow up on the discovery changed Christianity, politics, and science forever and for the good.

Confini amministrativi said...

It would be nice this man were remembered with his own original name: Cristoforo Colombo. Imagine if in Italy we'd write Giorgio Lavatrice in the place of George Washington...

Catholicgauze said...

Confini amministrativi,
Question, was his native Genoese name Christoffa Corombo? I do see your point however and when I figure out what he called himself I well refer to him as that while keeping the holiday "Columbus Day."