Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus the Sailor

Photo: Nautical Sites Media
Last year we took a look at Christopher Columbus and thought we would share the article below for Columbus Day 2011, with a couple of updates... 

Update 1: Daniel Deagler, writing for Philly.com, suggests in an article this morning (10/10/2011) that "Columbus Day remains at sea", and other than giving a three-day weekend to many, the holiday has little significance for most Americans. The piece points out that, among other things, "Columbus was an exceptional sailor."

Update 2:  The replicas of the Nina and the Pinta will stop at ports in Arkansas and Oklahoma starting later this month according to a brief story in an Indiana paper.

Now back to our Columbus Day article...

Although most schools and government offices are closed for today’s federal holiday in the United States, there are many things about the day’s namesake that you may not have known.

Christopher Columbus first went to sea when he was just 10 years old, according to Wikipedia. More interesting, however, are some of the tidbits we found in The Washington Post this morning. For example, did you know that Christopher Columbus never set foot in North America? It is also likely that he, and many others, knew that the world was not flat and that he would not fall off the edge of the earth.

We also were surprised to learn that the three most famous ship names in the world may not have actually been the ships’ real names. Valerie Strauss from The Post tells us, “The Santa Maria was also known at the time as La Gallega, meaning The Galician. The NiƱa is now believed to be a nickname for a ship originally called the Santa Clara, and the Pinta was probably also a nickname, though the ship's real name isn't clear.”

Regardless of the real names of the ships, they did actually exist and played a big role in making our world what it is today. You can see life-size replicas of the Nina and the Pinta today in Guntersville, Alabama. More info at al.com.(See above Update 2 for the ships' current location).

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