The first Columbus Day was celebrated in 1792, in honor of Christopher Columbus landing in the New World on October 12, 1492. The U.S. made it an official holiday in 1937. For many, the holiday marks the achievements of Columbus and Italian-American heritage, for others, it’s more controversial.
Over the past few decades, historians revealed new evidence about Columbus’ exploration and treatment of native people, which has resulted in new traditions and attitudes regarding the holiday. Native Americans and other groups protest the celebrations, denouncing the explorers hero status.
Did Columbus really discover America? Did Marco Polo really introduce pasta to Italy? Take the quiz to test your knowledge of great explorers.
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When Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic in 1492, he discovered what is now the United States.
Many believe that after crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Columbus and his crew landed in what is now the Bahamas. Before returning to Spain, Columbus explored several other islands in the Caribbean, including Cuba and Hispaniola, but he never made it to modern-day America on that famous first trip.
Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean.
It is believed Magellan was the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean and sailing around the tip of South America, Magellan sailed across the Pacific Ocean. After reaching modern-day Guam, Magellan sailed to the Philippines, where he was killed in battle.
Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European to see the Pacific Ocean.
It is believed Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. In 1513, Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and reached the Pacific Ocean. Balboa named the body of water Mar del Sur (which means South Sea in Spanish), and claimed it for Spain. The Pacific Ocean later got its name when Magellan described it as pacific, which means mild or soothing.
Diego Velazquez, who conquered Cuba, once sailed with Columbus.
In 1493, Diego Velazquez sailed with Christopher Columbus on Columbus second voyage across the Atlantic. During that expedition Velazquez helped to conquer the island of Hispaniola. In 1511, Diego Columbus, Columbus son, sent Velazquez to conquer Cuba.
Captain James Cook discovered the Northwest Passage.
In 1778, Cook sailed from Hawaii to Canada intending to discover the Northwest Passage (a sea route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Arctic Ocean), but he was unsuccessful. The passage was not successfully navigated until 1906 by Roald Amundsen.
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado conquered the Seven Cities of Cibola.
The Seven Cities of Cibola were legendary Native American cities that were said to be filled with gold. The myth of the seven golden cities drew many Spanish Conquistadors to the American Southwest, where the cities were rumored to be located. In 1540, Coronado led an expedition from northwestern Mexico to find the cities, but he was disappointed to discover that the legendary cities were actually the relatively modest communities of Zuni pueblos.
Sacagawea did not actually accompany Lewis and Clark on their expedition.
Sacagawea did travel with Lewis and Clark on their legendary expedition to explore the American West. She acted as the groups interpreter and helped them to communicate with Native Americans.
After losing their ship off the coast of Antarctica, Arctic explorer Sir Earnest Shackleton and several others traveled 800 miles in a lifeboat to save the rest of the crew.
After losing their ship in the Weddell Sea, Shackleton and his crew camped for five months on Elephant Island, which is off the coast of Antarctica. But when supplies started to run low, Shakleton and several others traveled 800 miles by sea (in a 22-foot lifeboat!) and 26 miles by foot in order to reach a whaling station on South Georgia Island. Remarkably, every member of the crew survived the ordeal.
Aztec leader Montezuma II attacked Hernando Cortes when the explorer set foot in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
When Cortes arrived on Aztec land, Montezuma welcomed the conquistador and gave him lavish gifts. It is believed that the arrival of Cortes fulfilled an Aztec prophecy about a white-skinned God arriving from the East. Eventually, relations between Cortes and Aztec leader soured, and Cortes took Montezuma hostage to prevent the Aztecs from rebelling against him.
Marco Polo introduced pasta to Europe after discovering noodles in China.
While there are many myths surrounding Marco Polo (the most popular being that he introduced pasta to Europe after discovering noodles in China, which is widely disputed), he did lead an extraordinary life. When he was 17, Polo and his family journeyed from Venice to modern-day China on the Silk Road. Because Polo could speak several languages, he became a fixture in the court Khubilai Khan, where he stayed for 17 years.
Christopher Columbus wasn’t even the first one to “discover” the new world (America). Vikings and Native Americans were there before he was. I don’t think we should celebrate Columbus Day. And if we do celebrate it, should it be called Columbus Day?
On the quiz, we disagree with question 3. Marco Polo, who lived centuries before de Balboa, set eyes on the Pacific Ocean.
In my opinion I believe that Columbus day should not be celebrated, I never knew that Columbus was so evil and killed so many innocent people. Why celebrate a day when an evil man came and started to kill? it seems wrong to celebrate a day like that. Therefore I believe that Columbus day should not be celebrated.
We should not celebrate someone who killed our native people… Columbus did not discover amarica our natives did!!!!
do cierras idea