Columbus Day

            Over 500 years ago, Christopher Columbus was sure he could reach the Indies – Japan and China – by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean. Others said, no, it couldn’t be done. They thought it was too far.

Columbus thought that the Atlantic Ocean was very narrow. Others argued that the distance to Japan was four times greater than Columbus thought. But the king and queen of Spain gave Columbus the money and ships he needed. If Columbus was right, Spain would be rich.

Columbus sailed from Palos, Spain, on August 3, 1492. He had three ships, the Santa Maria, the Nina, and the Pinta. The ships moved through a seemingly endless sea. Many weeks passed. The frightened sailors demanded that Columbus turn back, but he insisted that they continue sailing.

Finally, on October 12, 1492, they saw land. Columbus thought he had reached the Indies. But instead, he had reached the “New World”. Columbus’s voyage made America known to the people of Europe. This truly changed the world. That is why Columbus is honoured.

In the U.S.A., Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October. Because Columbus sailed under the Spanish flag, people in Spain also celebrate Columbus Day. But Columbus wasn’t Spanish. He was Italian. He was born in Genoa, Italy, and so Italians also celebrate Columbus Day. People in many Central and South American countries honour Columbus on October 12 because he also “discovered” their lands.

Picture Credit : Google