For decades and decades, American history books and school teaching told us that Christopher Columbus discovered America. What those books and teachings did not give credit to was the fact that Native Americans were already here first and truly discovered America. It also gave little mention to the fact that Nordic explorers had travelled down the eastern cost of Canada thousands of years earlier.
Today, we celebrate Columbus day for what it accurately is. Columbus did discover the existence of the New World for Europeans who until then, believed the world was flat and ended somewhere in the Atlantic. And, the focus is more upon discovery of the "New World", and less upon Columbus himself.
Did You Know? Columbus day is sometimes referred to as "Discoverer's Day".
Some key facts (in case you forgot them since grade school):
- Columbus Discovered America in 1492. He originally set sail on August 3, 1492, but had trouble with the ships, stopping at the Canary Islands for a month. The ships left the Canary Islands on September 3,1492.
- He travelled with three ships: The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria
- While Columbus was an Italian, he could not find funding in Italy, so he turned to the King of Spain. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella provided the funding.
- He did not land on the U.S. mainland. He landed on an island in the Caribbean. While many believe he landed on San Salvador, there is still debate on which island he originally landed on.