Columbus Day is a holiday that honors the fact that Columbus discovered America. But according to historians, and Columbus himself, he missed the mark.
Christopher Columbus cross the Atlantic in 1492, convinced he could find a route to the Far East or the Indies that wouldn’t require him to sail All the Way Around the Horn of Africa. On October 12th, he landed on a small body of land, believing it was one of the outlying islands of the Orient. Today, we celebrate Columbus Day to honor the fact that Columbus discovered America.
But did he. the truth is that Columbus landed somewhere in the Bahamas oh, there is disagreement as to exactly which island he set foot on, and from there went on to Cuba oh, he thought it was China, and Hispaniola, present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which he thought was Japan. On his second trip, Columbus returned to Hispaniola, and it wasn’t until his third voyage that he finally landed in America, South America, that is, and what is now Venezuela.
Columbus made one last voyage across the Atlantic in 1502, hoping for definitive proof that he’d found a western route to the Indies. Instead, he discovered St Lucia, Honduras, Costa Rica, and the Isthmus of Panama. by that time, another Italian mariner, Amerigo Vespucci, had sailed along the coast of South America and proposed that it was not Asia at all but an entirely new continent.
Columbus was nothing if not resolute. He continued to insist that he had discovered a new route to the Indies until the day he died in 1506. A year later, a German map maker included the Newfoundlands on a world map and called them America, in honor of Vespucci. It was the first time the name had been used. Columbus wasn’t around to complain, and the name stuck.
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