"Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World".....Christopher Columbus... August, 1492
About 20 years ago Berkeley, California, declared Columbus Day abhorrent and invented Indigenous Peoples’ Day!!! It was not long after this declaration that other institutions and governments followed suit.
In 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America, just saying "Columbus's discovery of America" was cause for excoriation by the overseers of political correctness. Examples include:
The National Council of Churches " an invasion" that led to "genocide, slavery, 'ecocide,' and exploitation."
The American Library Association …. “Columbus's arrival heralded "a legacy of European piracy, brutality, slave trading, murder, disease, conquest, and ethnocide."
The National Education Association (as many know…my FAVORITE of unions) "never again will Christopher Columbus sit on a pedestal in United States history."
To the multiculturalists Columbus is the symbol for all subsequent atrocities that befell Native Americans.
Yes…I KNOW…Columbus kidnapped natives for show in Spain (none of them made it alive) on his first voyage, enslaved several hundred Indians on his second visit, and after his third trip faced charges back home of governing as a tyrant. And EVEN WORSE, while at sea, the admiral and his crew ate a dolphin—OH, THE MADNESS!!!
Columbus was not a sensitive metrosexual male.
He was a mariner with many years at sea and a man very much in keeping with the nature of his time.
It cannot be overlooked that Europe in 1492 was superstitious, interested in slavery, and capable of savagery. This traveled to the Americas with Columbus.
But, this explorer also praised some of the tribes he encountered as “gentle,” “full of love,” “without greed,” and “free from wickedness.” …exclaiming, “I believe there is no better race.” …
Christopher then described tribal warfare, cannibalism, castration, the exploitation of women, and slavery among many of the other native people.
Just a reminder… at this same time, the Aztecs of Mexico, the Maya, and the Incas of South America performed elaborate rites of human sacrifice, in which thousands of captive Indians were ritually murdered, until their altars were drenched in blood . . . and priests collapsed with exhaustion from stabbing their victims. As Dinesh D'Souza wrote in a 1995 article in the journal First Things. "When men of noble birth died, wives and concubines were often strangled and buried with them."
But, the politically correct obsession with all Christopher did wrong has obscured his very profound accomplishment:
Columbus discovered the New World. He was the man who sowed the seeds of Western civilization in the New World …and YOU dear reader would not be sitting here if he hadn’t.
No Indian holy men decried Indian cannibalism and child sacrifice -- just as no Indian mariner sailed east and discovered Europe. Only the culture that made possible an Age of Exploration could make possible the culture that stated, "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."
Columbus's glory is not that he discovered America, but that he set in motion the POSSIBILITY of America.
While the enslavement and cultural conquest of peoples is common in humanity’s history…. leading the way for discovering two continents is not. Some have even argued that other than Christ, it would be difficult to name a person who changed the world as dramatically as Columbus did.
Columbus endured the skepticism of potential patrons (THEY THOUGHT THE WORLD WAS FLAT!), a near mutiny, and more than a month at sea to reach the Americas.
It is said that the Vikings discovered what became known as America before Columbus, and that Phoenician navigators went to South America.
Even if they did..... SO WHAT? They never came back. Nobody else followed. They never wrote about it. They never returned to do anything with it.
It would be a decade before Europeans realized that the lands Columbus had reached were not part of Asia but an entirely different continent. This was due to astronomical observations made by Amerigo Vespucci off the coast of South America.
It is important to remember that without the voyages of Christopher Columbus, Vespucci would have had no opportunity to conclude a "new continent" had been discovered, and the Americas would not have been opened to Europeans at that time in history.
History, therefore, would have proceeded along entirely different lines.
BEHIND him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: "Now we must pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?"
"Why, say, 'Sail on! sail on! and on!' "
Columbus sailed from Palos, Spain on August 3, 1492. He went to the Canary Islands, and proceeded to the west until he sighted land on October 12, 1492.
The route chosen by Columbus for return was sailing north on the latitude of Lisbon, and then, as he had suspected, he found favorable winds and current for the voyage home. It was an amazing accomplishment! He was perfectly right and this route towards the Antilles and back became the accepted standard for centuries. Columbus traveled four times to the Antilles.
"My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak."
The stout mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
"What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?"
"Why, you shall say at break of day,
'Sail on! sail on! and on!' "
He was a great man. Unschooled, he taught himself to read and write, then studied geography, cartography, theology, and cosmography. He went to sea at 14 and became a seaman of extraordinary skill, whose pre-1492 career had taken him north of the Arctic Circle and south nearly to the equator.
They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said:
"Why, now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dead seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say" --
He said, "Sail on! sail on! and on!"
He was convinced that the Earth curved and was completely focused on the subject of reaching the fabled East by sailing west. For nearly eight years he struggled to find a patron to finance his "Enterprise of the Indies." He was turned down over and over again.
Christopher Columbus traveled thousands of miles across uncharted ocean with no method but dead reckoning to find his bearings. Columbus sailed without celestial navigation, without longitude, without any reliable way to measure speed.
It would have been enough that he found his way to the Caribbean and that he found his way back. He repeated this trip three times! If he had discovered nothing, his nautical achievements alone would have earned him a notable place in history.
Three very small ships…THE NINA, THE PINTA, and THE SANTA MARIA were readied for this trip, without knowing that this would become a voyage that would change everything. The world to follow would be a different world for all of us.
They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
"This mad sea shows his teeth tonight.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:
What shall we do when hope is gone?"
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
"Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!"
On board were some of the very distinctive Western qualities that made and continue to make it possible for human beings to rise above their baser notions and enlighten themselves: Columbus came with a thirst for knowledge, and a passion for progress…Sailing with him were also thoughts about natural law and human rights, and a Judeo-Christian ethic of justice and morality.
We are WHO we are and WHERE we are because of the ideas and enterprise of this man....this EXPLORER .
To be profitable an idea has to be the cause of actions that will change the direction of the world ….it must call forth a paradigm shift. And sometimes the impact of that shift takes many centuries to be realized.
The world, after Christopher Columbus, was never the same.
Our ideas about navigation and shipbuilding, geography, history, politics, philosophy, botany and other disciplines were forever affected.
In Christopher Columbus we had proof that the Earth was a sphere. We learned we could travel farther than we ever imagined, we could live in a land that was thought not to exist, we could build new lives based on new ideas… and when we looked to the horizon we did not have see monsters and a deep frightening abyss….we could see a shining promise.
Then pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck --
A light! A light! At last a light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: "On! sail on!"
COLUMBUS by Joaquin Miller