Monday, October 11

Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day.

Except Not.

I think Columbus Day is a stoopid, and rather naively celebrated holiday.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?  On October 31, 1451, Christopher Columbus was born....ok jk.  Not that beginning.  To sum up: Christopher Columbus sought funding to sail to the New World.  He came before Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain who agreed to back his voyage(s).  On August 3, 1492, Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue (lol, I'm funny.)  He departed from Spain with three ships in his fleet, the Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina.  On October 12, 1492, land was spotted.  Hooray!  Columbus had discovered the New World (the Bahamas, to be exact), which had never, EVER been discovered before.

Except that it had.

Sometime circa 1002 or 1003 CE, the Norse explorer, Leif Ericson, traversed past Greenland and established a settlement at Vinland which lies at the northern-most tip of modern day Newfoundland.  This clearly proves that Leif was the first European (at least in recorded history) to discover North America.  Thanks Leif.

But unfortunately Leif Ericson nor Christopher Columbus can lay claim to the concept of discovering America.  At some point 40,000-17,000 years ago, migrants crossed the land-bridge between what is now eastern-Siberia and Alaska.  Then, over thousands of years, these migrants scattered throughout North and South America, becoming what we know as Native Americans, Incas, Mayans, Aztecs, etc.  There were small tribes and empires that spanned throughout the Americas.  These persons should be credited with discovering America.

There are three states in the United States that do not observe Columbus Day (hooray for them!)  Hawaii celebrates "Discoverer's Day" which also observes the Polynesian colonization.  Columbus Day is acknowledged in Nevada, but offices do not close like the rest of the states.  South Dakota celebrates correctly, in my opinion.  Instead of Columbus Day, they celebrate "Native American Day."  This is justified in the fact that they were the true, original settlers on our great continent. 

There is a Leif Ericson Day.  First observed in 1930 in Wisconsin, the holiday spread to Minnesota, and by 1964 was declared an official holiday by the US Congress, although it is not commemorated by having a paid holiday.

Regardless of whether Christopher Columbus can be argued as a discovered of North America, he should not have a federal holiday in his honor.  He may have braved treacherous seas and dangerous diseases, but he was not an honorable man.  Along with his greed, Columbus brought with him disease and cruelty, to the New World.  His goal was to make money, and it didn't matter to him whether he enslaved an entire population of indigenous people, or brought their downfall by small-pox or some other eradicating disease.  He was determined to get ahead and make a name for himself.

Now, let me tell you the only reason I like Columbus Day.  I work for the state, so I get paid leave for Columbus Day.  But who wants a random Monday in October off of work (especially for such a horrible, self-righteous human being)?  The governor of Tennessee has the power to elect to celebrate Columbus Day on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Now I would much rather have a 4-day holiday weekend in November than have a random three-day weekend in October.  However, I still do not think Christopher Columbus deserves his own holiday, but I do not think I alone can campaign for the removal on the federal calendar.  Plus, my co-workers might kill me.

Happy Native American Day!


Copyright (c) 2010 Hakuna Matata. Design by WPThemes Expert
Themes By Buy My Themes And Cheap Conveyancing.