Sunday, October 12, 2014

Land Ho — We Discovered China — We Are Going to be Rich and Famous: Oops

October 12, 1492 - October 12, 2014 
(522 Years)

Notes (with my blog editing) from History - FYI:

Columbus Day is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492.  It was unofficially celebrated in a number of cities and states as early as the 18th century but did not become a federal holiday until the 1937.

Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who had set sail two months earlier, backed by the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He intended to chart a western sea route to China, India and the fabled gold and Spice Islands of Asia. However, instead, he landed in the Bahamas, becoming the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland during the 10th century.

Later that same month, he sighted Cuba and believed it was mainland China.

Then in December, he found Hispaniola, which he thought was Japan. It was there, he established Spain’s first colony in the Americas with 39 of his men.

In March 1493, Columbus returned to Spain in triumph, bearing gold, spices and “native Indians” as captives.

He crossed the Atlantic several more times before his death in 1506. By his third journey, he realized that he had not reached Asia but instead had stumbled upon a continent previously unknown to Europeans. The rest is history as they say.

The first Columbus Day celebration in the U.S. actually took place in 1792, when New York’s Columbian Order, better known as Tammany Hall, held an event to commemorate the historic 300th anniversary landing.

Then in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation encouraging Americans to mark the 400th anniversary of the voyage with patriotic festivities, and writing: “On that day let the people, so far as possible, cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.”

Finally, in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday – to be celebrated on the second Monday in October (regardless of the date – this year anniversary day, October 12, falls on Sunday).

No matter how the story is told (and we all have heard various versions), it's still history and the way millions found the "New World" that ultimately became the United States that we are today. 

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