A Closer Look at Columbus Day

Tyler W.

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In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue and, supposedly, discovered America. Columbus Day recently came, and we got a day off from school. The reason for that is to celebrate Columbus and his famous voyage. But he wasn’t really the first one there. The Native Americans got there first. So who’s the real reason that we celebrate Columbus Day?

 

Christopher Columbus

 

So why did Columbus ever sail to America in the first place? Well, during the 1500s, it was not very easy to go to Asia from Europe by land. It took a incredibly long time to get there, and there were annoying armies that always got in your way! But Portugal was like, “Yo explorer dudes, let’s just sail to Asia with boats!” So a bunch of explorers sailed to Asia by going down along the coast of Africa, and going around the Cape of Good Hope. But Columbus was like, “Hey, I got an idea, I’ll just sail around the world to get to Asia! It’ll be easy!” Yeah, right. Columbus set sail with his three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria. But Columbus didn’t know that there was something blocking his path. And that was the Americas. So he ended up in what we now call the “West Indies.” That’s what Columbus named the place because he thought he was in India. He also called the people living there “Indians.” He made a three more voyages and ended up getting himself arrested for enslaving the so-called “Indians” and handling the colonies poorly. In 1502, he was set free and he set one last trip to the Atlantic. This was a bad idea. The Natives were very mad at Columbus and attacked him. So he returned to Spain and died in 1506. And if he had never made his voyages to the Atlantic, nobody would ever know about America.

 

Native Americans

 

Now let’s talk about the guys who really discovered America. The Native Americans. They were pretty cool. According to the Land Bridge Theory, the Native Americans came from Russia. About 2.4 million years before Christopher Columbus came, the Ice Age was going on. Therefore, the oceans lowered. This formed a land bridge between Alaska and Russia, which allowed Native Americans to reach North America. That’s how they got there. They sailed in their wooden boats to sail to different places that they settled in. And sure, the Vikings went to Newfoundland, but we’re not talking about them. They had their own cultures and religions until Columbus came along and enslaved them. They were the ones who were already there.

 

So whose side are you on?

 

Who do you think the holiday should be about? The people who got there first, or the guy who found out that they did? Whoever you choose, remember that they both shared an extremely important part in American history. I think they’re both pretty cool.

 

FUN FACT OF THE PASSAGE:

 

Even though Columbus thought he had sailed around the world, he actually didn’t. The real first person to sail around the world was a guy named Ferdinand Magellan!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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A Closer Look at Columbus Day