Christopher Columbus: Not a Hero

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Have you ever wondered why America has had an annual holiday known as Columbus Day ever since the early 1900s? While enjoying the day off has the question of why an Italian explorer has a day dedicated to him in America ever occurred to you? Probably not, but every American with at least an elementary education has the general knowledge that Christopher Columbus is the hero credited with discovering America. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to even say that he is a national icon. In actuality, he’s far from being a hero. Although he did find a land that was unknown to the “civilized” world, his actions after the discovery illustrate no characteristics of being heroic at all.

Born roughly around 1451 in Genoa, Italy, Christopher Columbus grew up during an era where the “New World” was unheard of. European sailors had no idea of America’s existence, so crossing the Atlantic Ocean was pointless and dangerous due to not knowing what was “out there.” However, experienced sailors like Columbus were looking for new, more efficient routes of sea trade. Since Columbus thought the world was round, he believed that if he traveled west from Europe he could reach the Far East with all of its riches and valuables. Little did he know, though, that a whole continent lay between him and Asia. Therefore, Christopher Columbus’s discovery of what he thought was the East Indies, was indeed an accidental discovery of a whole new continent. Even though the “New World” was bound to be discovered sooner or later, Christopher Columbus can be credited with venturing out to unfamiliar lands and making it back successfully. This is surely what most people know Christopher Columbus for, but this is only half the tale.

Most people are unaware of the flaws to Columbus’s voyage. Calling his discovery of America accidental is quite nice considering the circumstances he was in. Even though he had planned and brought three ships of supplies and men to cover the distance he thought it would be...
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