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Old 10-14-2019, 04:59 PM
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Does anyone really even care about Christopher Columbus?


I recall being fed the whitewash in elementary school, and as long as you knew he was a sailor who accidentally put a Spanish boat on the American East Coast (no need to differentiate: North or South America, Caribbean, whatever was close enough) rather than in and Indian port, it just never came up again. When folks started harping a few years ago about what a monster he was I just gave it a "Meh: European Christian victimizes swarthy natives? Wake me up when the news comes on." Of course he was a prick. Yawn city, that was like 500+ years ago, and it's not like he's some great hero, right? RIGHT?

So what have you seen? And when did you see it? I mean Buggs Bunny seemed pretty impressed by him, but you never really knew when Buggs was being serious or just playing for laughs. But has anyone actually seen/heard, firsthand, a live human being crowing about what a non-savage, genuinely adventurous genius CC was? Or is he just a gigantic strawman?
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:01 PM
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I think they hold a parade in his honor every year around this time in NYC.
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:58 PM
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No, nobody I know. Maybe persons of Italian descent. I wish they would drop it.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:04 PM
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Fats Waller cared about Christopher Columbus.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:05 PM
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I have nothing to add other than Bugs Bunny spells his name with one 'g.'
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Lendervedder View Post
I have nothing to add other than Bugs Bunny spells his name with one 'g.'
Cut me some slack. 24 hours without tobacco and I didn't have the patience to Goggle it.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:36 PM
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As a person, no interest. However, it marked a huge turning point that produced globalism as it is today. Obviously, it would have happened anyway, (and, indeed, already did a couple of times previously) but the manner of it might have been very different. What if it was a ship full of indiginous Americans landing in Spain? What if it was Arabs who made first contact with the new world? Or the French?
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:15 PM
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There's a pretty big damn statue to his honor in Barcelona.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:19 PM
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Discovering Ohio is a pretty big deal.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:41 PM
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Some dude talks the Spanish into paying for his boats/trip West to the Far East; yet he fails miserably as he doesn't make it, instead discovering the Bahamas...& he's celebrated by Italians in the US?


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Discovering Ohio is a pretty big deal.
It helped out space program immensely.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:42 PM
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South Park said it best.

"In fourteen hundred, ninety two; Columbus got us -all- a day off school."
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:03 PM
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Funny, two people asked me that same question today. I know the Italian Catholic Federation is pretty darn incensed that some unpatriotic folks want to trade it in for Indigenous People's Day, but they're the only ones who even seem to care.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:03 PM
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cut me some slack. 24 hours without tobacco and i didn't have the patience to goggle it.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:14 PM
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Not firsthand or live, and not exactly crowing about his virtues, but my Italian aunt emailed me this NYT article today with a somewhat different take on the holiday: How Italians Became ‘White’ https://nyti.ms/2peZzYW
Quote:
The federal holiday honoring the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus — celebrated on Monday — was central to the process through which Italian-Americans were fully ratified as white during the 20th century. The rationale for the holiday was steeped in myth, and allowed Italian-Americans to write a laudatory portrait of themselves into the civic record.

Few who march in Columbus Day parades or recount the tale of Columbus’s voyage from Europe to the New World are aware of how the holiday came about or that President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed it as a one-time national celebration in 1892 — in the wake of a bloody New Orleans lynching that took the lives of 11 Italian immigrants. The proclamation was part of a broader attempt to quiet outrage among Italian-Americans, and a diplomatic blowup over the murders that brought Italy and the United States to the brink of war.

Historians have recently showed that America’s dishonorable response to this barbaric event was partly conditioned by racist stereotypes about Italians promulgated in Northern newspapers like The Times. A striking analysis by Charles Seguin, a sociologist at Pennsylvania State University, and Sabrina Nardin, a doctoral student at the University of Arizona, shows that the protests lodged by the Italian government inspired something that had failed to coalesce around the brave African-American newspaper editor and anti-lynching campaigner Ida B. Wells — a broad anti-lynching effort.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:16 PM
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I have nothing to add other than Bugs Bunny spells his name with one 'g.'
"Round! Flat! Round! Flat! Round! Flat!"

"Well, if it's the Captain's Mess, let him clean it up."

That's all I can remember from a classic cartoon, that is unfairly withheld from public view because it gives Columbus a broad Italian accent, and King Ferdinand a broad Mexican accent.

Political correctness in squelching comedy is one of the few things I lean right on.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:24 PM
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South Park said it best.

"In fourteen hundred, ninety two; Columbus got us -all- a day off school."
I prefer ICP

I can hear the teacher man talking about Columbus
He nothing but an old dead fuck with a compass
Ran up on a beach and threw everybody off
And then he claimed discovery and now we all applaud
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:30 PM
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I’m liberal but this is one of the days I’m very light on social media on Columbus Day. Admittedly today hasn’t had as much virtue signaling on social media where everyone tries to outdo each other by expressing their hatred for Columbus and making sure they blame him for everything evil that has ever occurred since.

My feeling: Columbus isn’t a god but Pocahontas isn’t a documentary either.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:36 PM
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"The Sopranos" has put the idea into my head that Italian Americans have some reverence for Christopher Columbus. But I have no idea if that's based on reality.

CC parades are certainly not unheard of in NYC and NJ. I didn't know it was an actual school-closing holiday in some places until I moved to NJ.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:39 PM
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"The Sopranos" has put the idea into my head that Italian Americans have some reverence for Christopher Columbus. But I have no idea if that's based on reality.

CC parades are certainly not unheard of in NYC and NJ. I didn't know it was an actual school-closing holiday in some places until I moved to NJ.
I believe in Chicago it is now called Italian American Heritage Day. There was a parade last year, don’t know if there was anything today as I was sick in bed all day.
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Old 10-15-2019, 06:22 AM
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There's a pretty big damn statue to his honor in Barcelona.
And it's pointing the wrong way.
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Old 10-15-2019, 06:42 AM
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Discovering Ohio is a pretty big deal.
Is it?
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Old 10-15-2019, 06:43 AM
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When's Leif Eiriksson day?
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:38 AM
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What bugs me is the idea that Columbus was this evil conqueror that if he had only stayed at home North Americans would have stayed happily peaceful or that had anyone else landed they would have first asked permission or something, I dont know. The point is it happened and I think we should move on. Slamming Columbus by rewriting history books to make him the bad guy or by vandalizing his statue does no good.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:09 AM
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"Round! Flat! Round! Flat! Round! Flat!"

"Well, if it's the Captain's Mess, let him clean it up."

That's all I can remember from a classic cartoon, that is unfairly withheld from public view because it gives Columbus a broad Italian accent, and King Ferdinand a broad Mexican accent.

Political correctness in squelching comedy is one of the few things I lean right on.
"She's a round, she's a firm, she's a fully packed! She's a round, like a you head!"

*WHACK*


"She's a flat, like a you head!"
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:13 AM
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And it's pointing the wrong way.
The story of why the statue is pointing East instead of West is quite interesting. Originally, it was going to be erected with the effigy of Columbus pointing indeed towards the West. However, the statue was to be placed right in front of the old port of Barcelona, right next to the sea, and it was felt that it would look really weird to have the great navigator pointing inland, towards the mountains.

So, they decided that Columbus would be pointing towards the sea, with his back to the mountains, to emphasize his role of sailor and admiral and all that.

Besides, technically speaking the statue still points towards America, only going the long way round the globe...
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:42 AM
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Yesterday, when I turned off the tv, the local news' online poll had a grand total of 7 votes 4-3 against changing Columbus day to Indigenous day. My feeling is; Who cares honestly? let the feds and kiddies have their day off already and stfu all you people up in arms over this! there's more important shit to worry about than who got here first.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:52 AM
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Is it?
We'd only have 49 states without it.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:54 AM
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We don't take St. Patrick's Day off work, or Cinco De Mayo either. Why should an Italian heritage day be different?
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:10 AM
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We don't take St. Patrick's Day off work, or Cinco De Mayo either. Why should an Italian heritage day be different?
Those holidays can pop up on any day of the week. Columbus Day is conveniently always on a Monday.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:17 AM
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I know the Italian Catholic Federation is pretty darn incensed that some unpatriotic folks want to trade it in for Indigenous People's Day,...
The truly mind-crushing bit is why USA people give a flying fart about him any more than Magellan or good old Leif (Garrett or Erikson, I can never remember); he never even SAW what would be the continental US.

For what it's worth I'm all for something like Indigenous People's Day, but I really can't think of a more inappropriate day for it than CC day. Maybe expand Native American Day.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:26 AM
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My edumacation was a bit spotty - tell me, why don't we live in the United States of Columbus (Columbia?)? Who was this Amerigo Vespucci and why did his name take?



(yes, I know, I could go goggle it)
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:36 AM
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To the extent that I care about Christopher Columbus, it's mostly in that I am still to this day pissed off that I got force fed the whitewashed 'heroic' portrait of Columbus when I was in elementary school. Like, if we as a society are going to teach kids about CC, then actually *teach* them about him as he actually was. It does not matter one iota to me whether a kid is only in the second grade or whatever when the Columbus history lesson is introduced; the world is a rough place and sanitizing the CC story doesn't do anybody any favors.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:41 AM
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What bugs me is the idea that Columbus was this evil conqueror that if he had only stayed at home North Americans would have stayed happily peaceful or that had anyone else landed they would have first asked permission or something, I dont know. The point is it happened and I think we should move on. Slamming Columbus by rewriting history books to make him the bad guy or by vandalizing his statue does no good.
The problem isn't that it happened, the problem is that he's glorified and thus his actions are glorified, which they shouldn't be. We could celebrate what happened in a way that is respectful and reverent to the people who lost their lives, land and culture instead of the cartoon cock-licking we do today when it comes to revering Columbus.

Last edited by Bone; 10-15-2019 at 10:59 AM. Reason: Fixed typo by request
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:44 AM
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My edumacation was a bit spotty - tell me, why don't we live in the United States of Columbus (Columbia?)? Who was this Amerigo Vespucci and why did his name take?
A cartographer whose map of the newly-discovered lands became very popular.
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  #35  
Old 10-15-2019, 11:04 AM
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What bugs me is the idea that Columbus was this evil conqueror that if he had only stayed at home North Americans would have stayed happily peaceful or that had anyone else landed they would have first asked permission or something, I dont know. The point is it happened and I think we should move on. Slamming Columbus by rewriting history books to make him the bad guy or by vandalizing his statue does no good.
You do realize that Christopher Columbus was vilified for his brutality and corruption by his contempories, even by people who admired him? And in fact, he did some prison time for his excesses and was only rescued because he had some greedy-ass patrons.

I think it is fair to say some violence was inevitable no matter which white man claimed the New World for the crown. But CC wasn't just violent. He was sadistic even for his time.

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Old 10-15-2019, 11:17 AM
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What bugs me is the idea that Columbus was this evil conqueror that if he had only stayed at home North Americans would have stayed happily peaceful or that had anyone else landed they would have first asked permission or something, I dont know. The point is it happened and I think we should move on. Slamming Columbus by rewriting history books to make him the bad guy or by vandalizing his statue does no good.
Writing history books accurately would mean including that everyone who knew anything about the subject already knew that the world was round; that others had been before him; and that he enslaved and murdered people who he found.

Continuing to write history books to make him the good guy, let alone The Good And Intelligent Guy Who Figured Out What Nobody Else Could, doesn't do any good.

And yet every year it seems that there are people in this area who write indignant letters to the paper insisting that history books and news media shouldn't tell the truth.

-- what I find interesting is that it did turn out to be massively important that somebody got so thoroughly lost in the Atlantic ocean that even after landing he thought he was on a different continent entirely. It wasn't as if he was the first person to go back and forth between the continents, even in that millenia. I don't think, if you'd asked assorted people all over the world in 1492 or even for some years after he got back to Europe what the most important thing that happened in 1492 was, that any of them would have said 'Somebody named Colombo got lost in the Atlantic Ocean.' Always makes me wonder what's happening in the current year that we're not thinking of as important, or not noticing at all, but that may wind up causing that sort of shift.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:27 AM
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FWIW, it's not a school holiday in Montgomery Country or Prince George's Country Maryland.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:29 AM
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I recall being fed the whitewash in elementary school, and as long as you knew he was a sailor who accidentally put a Spanish boat on the American East Coast (no need to differentiate: North or South America, Caribbean, whatever was close enough) rather than in and Indian port, it just never came up again. When folks started harping a few years ago about what a monster he was I just gave it a "Meh: European Christian victimizes swarthy natives? Wake me up when the news comes on." Of course he was a prick. Yawn city, that was like 500+ years ago, and it's not like he's some great hero, right? RIGHT?

So what have you seen? And when did you see it? I mean Buggs Bunny seemed pretty impressed by him, but you never really knew when Buggs was being serious or just playing for laughs. But has anyone actually seen/heard, firsthand, a live human being crowing about what a non-savage, genuinely adventurous genius CC was? Or is he just a gigantic strawman?
Back in 1999, no less an authority than Life Magazine called Columbus the 2nd most important person of the past 1,000 years.

Michael Hart, in his 1978 list of the most influential people in recorded history, put Columbus #9: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_10...ons_in_History

Back in 2010 I ran a round-robin contest, based upon Hart's list, of the most influential people in history. The SDMB dropped Christo from #9 to #81: https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...&postcount=696

Last edited by JohnT; 10-15-2019 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:39 AM
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Slamming Columbus by rewriting history books to make him the bad guy or by vandalizing his statue does no good.
So you think that rewriting history books to portray actual history instead of absurd fiction is a bad thing? That we should keep up statues to someone so awful even his contemporaries considered his behavior abhorrent? I'm going to have to disagree and say that history books should contain accurate history, not bowlderized and whitewashed accounts, and that statues to awful people celebrating awful things should come down. Remember, the quote below is what you're defending:

Quote:
Natives were regularly whipped for what Columbus considered minor offenses — but stealing a vegetable or animal could result in cutting off a Taíno’s nose, ear, or hand; the offender was sometimes forced to walk around with their severed body part in shame. Columbus took and gifted Taíno women to his crewmen, who would violently beat and rape them. Pregnant Taíno women who were taken captive gave birth to babies who were sometimes thrown to hungry dogs. Columbus established a business in the sale of 9- and 10-year-old Taíno girls for sexual slavery. He also kidnapped and enslaved Taínos themselves — personally initiating the transatlantic slave trade in his voyage back to Europe.

In short, Columbus was a murderous, enslaving, sexual-abusing, treacherous colonizer to the peoples he encountered in the Caribbean. Only two-thirds of the Taíno survived just four years after Columbus’ arrival; some were killed, others succumbed to diseases, and fully half of the dead killed themselves rather than live with his tyranny.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:43 AM
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And it's pointing the wrong way.
Sculptor Gloria Vanderbilt Whitney managed to face hers correctly over in Huelva in 1929.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/t...-columbus.html
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:38 PM
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And it's pointing the wrong way.
He's pointing to his birthplace, not the Americas.
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:04 PM
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He's pointing to his birthplace, not the Americas.
“I can see my HOUSE from here!!!”
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  #43  
Old 10-15-2019, 02:20 PM
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As a person, no interest. However, it marked a huge turning point that produced globalism as it is today. Obviously, it would have happened anyway, (and, indeed, already did a couple of times previously) but the manner of it might have been very different. What if it was a ship full of indiginous Americans landing in Spain? What if it was Arabs who made first contact with the new world? Or the French?
Well, the indigenous Americans didnt have "ships" as we think of them, and even if they had, they wouldnt have colonized Europe.

But yeah, John Cabot would have hit and several others.

Columbus did "discover" America in that he reported back and the knowledge got passed. Sure the Norse ( a better term than "Vikings" since they werent on a raid, per se) found America, and of course there was colonization some 20000 years ago or so.

People love to blame Columbus for all the bad stuff that happened, but the diseases would have happened no matter what- Europe . Columbus was by no means a nice guy, but he was a man of his period. We also have to remember that the Aztecs etc were pretty evil too, what with wars, slavery and mass human sacrifice.
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:23 PM
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What bugs me is the idea that Columbus was this evil conqueror that if he had only stayed at home North Americans would have stayed happily peaceful or that had anyone else landed they would have first asked permission or something, I dont know. The point is it happened and I think we should move on. Slamming Columbus by rewriting history books to make him the bad guy or by vandalizing his statue does no good.
Yep. And the Europeans of that period were not nice people as we think of today. Slavery, disease etc were more or less gonna happen no matter which Euro nation found the America's first.

Mind you - Columbus was by no means a nice guy.
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:32 PM
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My edumacation was a bit spotty - tell me, why don't we live in the United States of Columbus (Columbia?)? Who was this Amerigo Vespucci and why did his name take?



(yes, I know, I could go goggle it)
Well, Amerigo Vespucci was a explorer. He had several voyages, and if his tales are to be believed (and some are rather doubtful), he was the first to land on South America. In any case, it is believed he was the first explorer to realize that the Americas were new Continents. German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in 1507 used "America" to refer to South America. The term took off.
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Old 10-15-2019, 06:29 PM
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We'd only have 49 states without it.

We could always promote DC or PR?
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:12 PM
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German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in 1507 used "America" to refer to South America. The term took off.
So glad he kept HIS ego in check.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:46 PM
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"She's a round, she's a firm, she's a fully packed! She's a round, like a you head!"

*WHACK*


"She's a flat, like a you head!"
No, no no! The last line is in King Ferdinand's Mexican accent, "She ees flat like your ha-id."
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:55 PM
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To defend Columbus here, I think there was (a) much more to him than is the silly caricature often presented, where bits of things he wrote are deliberately distorted to sound stupid, and (b) much more favorable then believed to the native people he met in the Americas. He may not have been "nice" and he certain had no modern beliefs - but that if that's the measure we can look far closer than Columbus. He was brutal in his treatment of Spaniards - precisely because he was concerned for native welfare.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:59 PM
Wheelz is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,710
Somebody vandalized a statue of Columbus here in SF over the weekend, and my first thought was, "Wow, that'll show a guy who's been dead for 500 years."
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