Tag Archive | "North America"

The Curious Case of Christopher Columbus: A Study in Historical Revisionism

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Christopher Columbus

Attorneys can be disbarred.  Saints can be de-canonized (just ask St. Christopher, the guy who used to protect us as we took our lives into our hands on the Jersey highways).  So what do you call it when the man credited with discovering America is no longer honored, as he was in the recent past, with his own day and parades replete with marching bands?  I’m really not sure what to call it, other than a miscarriage of justice for the great Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus.

 

Far more progressive and controversial than his contemporaries, Columbus postulated that the world was not flat but round.  Columbus’ theory put forth that a spherical planet would enable a faster trade route to the East, wherein lay all manner of goods and beaucoup bucks, as we say today, for those who traded those goods.  With visions of riches dancing in his head, Columbus made his sales pitch to the King of Spain, who was both tolerant and solvent.  It was a good sales pitch, for it earned the explorer three fine ships and a crew by which he had planned to haul back the goods, create new wealth for himself and the Spanish monarch, and offer the people of Europe the luxuries of the Orient.

 

Instead of discovering a new route to the East, Columbus ran ashore of the New World (America).  Planting the flag of Spain on North American soil, he dubbed and befriended the native “Indians”, for indeed, he’d assumed initially that he’d hit India.   Eventually, he found his way to the Caribbean, where he located the spices and other interesting commodities for which he’d been hoping.

 

In his honor, October 12th was dedicated as Columbus Day: a day to remember the man who’d discovered this continent.   Not so very long ago, schools closed in Columbus’ honor.  Floats moved in stately fashion down the streets of our cities as well as small towns, such as the one in which I was raised.  Brass instruments flashed in the sun, children waved the Stars and Stripes, and entire communities marched in honor.  Everyone celebrated Columbus Day.

 

Inevitably, the Politically Correct came slinking out of their dark, foreboding crevasses to kill Columbus Day, just as they have been trying to do, systematically, with Christmas and Halloween.   Heated discussions arose as to whether or not Nordic explorers or even St. Brendan of Ireland discovered America before Christopher.  And then, of course, came the allegations that Columbus, through guilt by very tenuous association and many generations removed, was responsible for the near-obliteration of the “Indians” (Native Americans).

 

Ergo, no more annual Columbus Day parades, except for those few surviving in proud Italian-American communities, such as Bensonhurst, in Brooklyn, New York.

 

At the time when The Troubles were rampant in Northern Ireland, Great Britain published history books that showed maps of Ireland removed of the 9 offensive Northern counties.  England effectively rewrote history, as it was a bit uncomfortable.  Across the globe, Japanese history books made no mention of the events of Pearl Harbor.  When Japanese tourists visit Hawaii for the first time, they are shocked and horrified to learn of this portion of their history that has been buried.

 

Now that we’ve removed the pomp and circumstance, along with the pride we once felt surrounding Columbus Day, is America now guilty of rewriting history to make things comfortable for the so-called Politically Correct?

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