Posted in Learning Things

In Fourteen-Hundred and Ninety-Two…

You know the rest.  But how much do you really know about Christopher Columbus?  Yeah, we learn the basics as kids.  We learn that he “discovered” America while he was trying to find the East Indies.  We learn that he made contact with the natives and actually set up shop here in America for a while.  Is that why we celebrate Columbus Day?  Or is that why these people protest?

Actual picture of a Columbus Day protest I saw last year in Los Angeles.

I’m not here to get all political on you.  I know why we celebrate, and I know why we protest.  Whatever.  I’m just here to give you a little run-down on what you may not know about the Spanish explorer.  Just because, you know, it’s kind of his day today.  And I need something to blog about.

1.  Christopher Columbus was born on Halloween.

That’s right, the guy is a Halloween baby.  That would totally explain the crazy get-ups he wore, if it weren’t for the fact that Halloween didn’t even exist until fifty years after he died.

2.  Columbus was originally searching for Japan.

Because, you know, he was probably totally digging on green tea.  And anime.

3.  Columbus wasn’t the first one to reach America.

The Viking Leif Ericson beat him to it.  The Vikings pretty much beat everyone to everything, didn’t they?  Well, except where football is concerned.

4.  Columbus thought the earth was really small and Europe really big.

As most Europeans do.

5.  Columbus sailed west from the Canary Islands smack-dab in the middle of hurricane season.

And he didn’t even have The Weather Channel to warn him about it.

6.  Columbus requested he be made “Great Admiral of the Ocean” and named Governor of any place he discovered.

And it wouldn’t even consider the popular or electoral vote.  His request was rejected.

7.  Columbus was kind of a cocky asshole.

“They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them…I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased.”  ‘Nuff said.

8.  Columbus discovered Cuba on Christmas Day.

Feliz Navidad!

9.  Columbus named one of the islands he found “Virgin Gorda” (Fat Virgin).

After that one chick he met at that one bar.

10.  Columbus required the Taino people to bring him 25 pounds of spun cotton every three months.  If not, their hands were cut off and they were left to bleed to death.

See fact #7.

11.  Columbus thought Cuba was a peninsula rather than an island.

It’s well-known that Columbus sucked at geography.

12.  Columbus would scare natives by predicting lunar eclipses.

Easy to do when you have an astronomy book to cheat from.

13.  A hurricane stranded Columbus and his men on Jamaica for over a year.

They drank a lot of Red Stripe to pass the time.

14.  Columbus was imprisoned at age 48 due to complaints against him and his brothers.

See #7 and #10.

15.  Even at his death, Columbus was still convinced that the lands he discovered had been along the east coast of Asia.

It is well-known that Columbus really sucked at geography.

16.  Columbus died at age 54 of a heart attack due to reactive arthritis.

Not a fun way to go.

17.  Canadians don’t celebrate Columbus Day

Because Canadians don’t exist.

18.  Christopher Columbus is regularly referred to by Rastafarian singers and musical groups as an example of a European oppressor.

See #7 and #10.  AGAIN.

19.  1992 the world celebrated the 500th anniversary of Columbus by releasing the movie 1492: Conquest of Paradise.

It wasn’t very good.

20.  America was named after Amerigo Vespucci.

Because he was way better at geography than Columbus.

So now you know all there is to know about Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of our country.  Well, sort of.  Not really.  Whatever.  He did something, I guess.  Just think…if he had only realized where the hell he was on the map, we could all be living in Columbia right now.  Or Columbus, Ohio.

Happy Columbus Day!



I have way too much information floating around in my head, which is why I write things down. I find that books, movies, music, and television are much more interesting than my local news.

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