Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day Facts

Credit: Discovery Education
Here in America, and in many other parts of the world, we are celebrating Columbus Day.  Maybe I should say observing, instead.  I did not personally put out any Columbus Day decorations, go to any Columbus memorializing church services, nor buy anyone any Columbus Day gifts (sorry!)  In fact, I don't know anybody who did any of these things, either.  Do you?

Anyway, since it seems like Columbus Day is such a little known holiday, I thought it would be interesting and fun to share some facts I found out about the man and the day.  Here we go!

  • The name 'Christopher Columbus' is only our English translation of his real name- Chrisoffa Corombo.
  • Columbus began sailing when he was only 14 years old.
  • The names for the Pinta, the Nina, and the Santa Maria are misleading.  The Pinta was still called the Pinta, but the Nina is actually a nickname for the Santa Clara, and the Santa Maria was normally referred to as the Gallega.
  • Columbus introduced horses to the Americas.  Until he brought them, the Native Americans hadn't seen horses since the original ancient breed had migrated away.
  • Only two of the ships made the full, round trip.  The Santa Maria shipwrecked on Christmas Day 1492.
  • Three U.S. states still don't acknowledge Columbus Day.  These are Hawaii, Alaska, and South Dakota!
  • Columbus landed on an island in the Bahamas, but never actually set foot on continental U.S. soil.
  • It wasn't Columbus' brilliant plan to a quicker route to the West Indies.  It was actually his brother, Bartholomew's!  Talk about a sibling rivalry!
  • Columbus was an opium addict.
  • Columbus and his crew brought something unwelcome with them to Europe- Syphilis!  There is genetic evidence to back this up.

Now that you know a little more about the man and the mission, I hope your Columbus Day is more about celebrating our past and less about the Post Office being closed!  Have a great Columbus Day!


  1. Saw statues of him in Spain, a huge one on top of a large column in Barcelona.

  2. I love history - took my kids to the east coast this summer from California - DC,Jamestown, Boston, & NYC - loved it!
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