With so much negativity and resentment directed at Christopher Columbus it is amazing we still have a federal holiday today.
It was a lot different back in 1892.
Listen how Clements Markham described Columbus’ legacy then:
“In the present year the fourth centenary of the discovery of America by Columbus will be celebrated with great enthusiasm in Spain, in Italy and in America. That discovery was, without any doubt, the most momentous event since the fall of the Roman Empire in its effect on the world’s history,” (Markham, Clements, “Columbus and the Fourth Centenary of his Discovery,” Royal Geographical Society, September 1892).
Yet for those who study Columbus’ accomplishments it would appear perspective is what matters most.
Here is historian Paul Starrs:
“Discussing the sum total of navigational, economic, historical, genocidal, demographic, and other geographical effects of the invasion of the Americas has tended to be put aside gently in favor of voicing a consensus that acknowledges the political sensitivity of what began in 1492. This is a pity, because the feat of Columbus, accidental or purposeful, terror or triumph, beginning or end, is the geographical fact of the millennium. What else, after all, can compete?” (See Starrs, Paul F., “Looking for Columbus,” The Geographical Review, 1992).
Samuel Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning two-volume biography entitled Admiral of the Ocean Sea: The Life of Christopher Columbus (1942) still remains in print. Not because it avoids Columbus’ foibles. Rather despite his flaws, Christopher Columbus undertook an historic venture in a time of great uncertainty.
We should not shun his story. We need to encourage it. Each generation could use its Christopher Columbus. We definitely could use one now.
Christopher was not immune from those factors that make us human. Needless to say he made a lot of mistakes. Then again, so do we all.
The fact remains. Christopher Columbus inspired an idea at a time when ideas were in short supply. He brought hope when hopelessness ran wild. His grand plan was rejected three separate times yet his intransigence won out. The outcome of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World changed time forever.
Few can ever imagine winning a Nobel Prize but how about a noble journey?
How about just a few of our readers emulating Christopher Columbus? It is time for us all to seek our own noble journey.
Now that is a stimulus plan we all can be helped by.