Columbus day.
Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. At least that is what all elementary school children were always taught: "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." Of course, Columbus never "discovered" North America, and the regions he explored were already inhabited. He only discovered them from the viewpoint of the Europeans. Yet his first voyage did prove one thing for sure, that the earth was not only round, but that it was bigger than he had thought.
One of the first known celebrations marking the discovery of the "New World" by Christopher Columbus was organised by the Italian population of New York on October 12m, 1866. Three years later, in 1869, Italians in San Francisco celebrated October 12m calling it C-Day. In 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed every October 12tn as Columbus Day. In 1971 it was declared a federal public holiday. Today, Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October.
Christopher Columbus was bom in 1451 in Italy. He probably worked as a weaver before going to sea.
At that time the life of a sailor was full of adventure and danger; so Columbus had many exciting experiences. Once during a battle with a vessel off the coast of Portugal, he had to leave his boat and swim to the shore a long distance away. He afterwards lived in Portugal a number of years, and while there, he married the daughter of a sea captain. For some time he earned his living, partly by making sea voyages, and partly by drawing maps and selling them.
Knowing that the earth was round, he decided to reach India by sailing to the west.
It was very difficult for him to organise his expedition as nobody wanted to help him.
Many years after, the Spanish government gave him some money for his expedition.
In 1492 he sailed with three small ships into the Atlantic Ocean. They soon met a north-eastern wind that drove them farther and farther south-west.
They had been sailing for more than two months. The sailors began a mutiny.
They were afraid that they would not be able to return home. At last they saw land.
When they landed they saw strange trees and flowers. Men and women with olivecoloured skins gathered around them and looked at them with great surprise.
Columbus was certain that the lands he discovered were part of India, and he called these islands the West Indies. The people living there have been called Indians since then, though they have nothing in common with the real Indians — inhabitants of India.
Columbus' second voyage to America took place in 1493. This time he discovered some other islands of the West Indies.
Twice more Columbus tried to find India. During his third voyage, enemies spread false rumours about him. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were led to believe that he was a tyrant. Columbus was sent home in chains. Back in Spain, he quickly proved his innocence.
His last voyage was made in 1502-1504. After that, seriously ill, he remained in Spain until his death. He died believing that Cuba was part of Asia.
Columbus was tall and imposing. No real portrait of him exists, but he is described in the writings of the men of his time as having blue eyes, red hair, and a freckled complexion, which reddened when he was excited.
Columbus' voyages gave Europe its first important knowledge of the New World.
Other explorers, their imaginations fired by his discoveries, sailed for the Americas after Columbus. In the western hemisphere many places have been named in his honour. The Americas, however, were named after another explorer, Amerigo Vespucci.



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Last Updated (Wednesday, 01 December 2010 12:50)