Happy Columbus Day

I know, I know. We don’t call it that up here in the enlightened state of South Dakota. Of course, even for states that still do, things are handled a bit differently than I can recall from my own childhood:

“The whole terminology has changed,” said James Kracht, executive associate dean for academic affairs in the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development. “You don’t hear people using the world ‘discovery’ anymore like they used to. ‘Columbus discovers America.’ Because how could he discover America if there were already people living here?”

In Texas, students start learning in the fifth grade about the “Columbian Exchange” — which consisted not only of gold, crops and goods shipped back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, but diseases carried by settlers that decimated native populations.

In McDonald, Pa., 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, fourth-grade students at Fort Cherry Elementary put Columbus on trial this year — charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison.

Life in prison for the old adventurer, eh? Well, it would give him time to write his memoirs.

“Every hero is somebody else’s villain,” said Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, a scholar and author of several books related to Columbus, including “1492: The Year the World Began.”

“Heroism and villainy are just two sides of the same coin.”

That’s a horribly post-modern definition of a hero (and one which does not stand up to scrutiny).

Now if we could just rename all those terrible cities (like Columbus, OH, GA, MO, etc) to something better, more peaceful and less divisive, like Nobel. Hmm.

4 thoughts on “Happy Columbus Day

    1. I recently heard about this. Be interesting to study it. I’ve looked at Eric the Red’s discovery of America also. Seems like discovering America was a regular pastime to the ancients.

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