The Truth About Christopher Columbus

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The Truth About Christopher Columbus Millions of people around the world celebrate Columbus Day every October 12. The tale of Christopher Columbus, the legendary Genoese explorer and navigator, has been retold and rewritten many times. To some, he was an intrepid explorer, following his instincts to a New World. To others, he was a monster, a slave trader who unleashed the horrors of the conquest on unsuspecting natives. What are the facts about Christopher Columbus? The Myth of Christopher Columbus Schoolchildren are taught that Christopher Columbus wanted to find America, or in some cases that he wanted to prove that the world was round. He convinced Queen Isabela of Spain to finance the journey, and she sold her personal jewelry to do so. He bravely headed west and found the Americas and Caribbean, making friends with natives along the way. He returned to Spain in glory, having discovered the New World. What's wrong with this story? Quite a bit, actually. Myth #1: Columbus wanted to prove the world was not flat. The theory that the earth was flat and that it was therefore possible to sail off the edge of it was common in the middle ages, but had been discredited by Columbus' time. His first New World journey did help fix one common mistake, however: it proved that the earth was much larger than people had previously thought. Columbus, basing his calculations on incorrect assumptions about the size of the earth, assumed that it would be possible to reach the rich markets of eastern Asia by sailing west. Had he succeeded in finding a new trade route, it would have made him a very wealthy man. Instead he found the Caribbean, then inhabited by cultures with little in the way of gold, silver or trade goods. Unwilling to completely abandon his calculations, Columbus made a laughingstock of himself back in Europe by claiming that the Earth was not round, but
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