Every year on October 12, ever since it became a federal holiday in 1934, we Americans celebrate (though not all necessarily observe) Columbus Day. As most people know, it's to honor Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New World in 1492. However, if we were to step back and really think about it, would we honor a man like this today?
Let's start off with Chris's (can I call him Chris?) original intent: to find an all water route to India. I'm not a geography scholar but he kinda got that one wrong. To his defense, nobody else had made an water-only trip to India so it's not like he had a TomTom to help him out. However, when he finally landed in the "New World," he still thought he was in India. He named the islands he landed on the West Indies thinking simply if he named a place after India, it automatically made it that place. If we all played by those rules, I live in Buckingham Palace.
The New World. Let's break that down. It wasn't a New World. Just new to Europeans. There had been people living there all along. However, I don't believe that counted in Chris's eyes. He enslaved and/or killed many of the indigenous people there and forced them into Catholicism.
Chris didn't do a whole lot for Italian explorers either. Marco Polo (in my opinion) had a greater impact on world culture and did more for Italian exploration. He brought noodles back from Asia to Italy and "Voila!" Now we have spaghetti and Olive Gardens everywhere.
That's something worth celebrating.
So let's raise our glasses to running three boats into an unnamed continent and ruining indigenous people's lives. Let's celebrate Columbus...the only man honored for getting lost.