In all probability every single American college youngster old sufficient to study history has heard the small rhyme: “In October, 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” The story has frequently been told of Columbus’ dream of obtaining the East or Asia by sailing west. He is frequently held up as an instance of an individual who set targets for himself and would not give up when obstacles to reaching these targets came his way.

  • He waited at the Spanish court six years prior to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella agreed to sponsor his voyage.

  • He persuaded his guys to continue their westward voyage even when they threatened mutiny mainly because they had not however reached the anticipated islands of the Orient.

Undoubtedly Columbus is a model of determination and courage. But, the man was a lot much more complicated than the stories frequently reveal.

Who Was Christopher Columbus, Actually?

Christopher was a quite devout Catholic who observed all the fasts of the church and prayed frequently. His quite name, Christopher, suggests Christ-bearer. And hunderstood this as a title of his destiny to carry the message of the gospel to far-off lands. He is stated to have diligently searched the Scriptures and believed he discovered assurance for a contact to sail to the far reaches of the globe with the Christian message. Zechariah 9:10 stated that “he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” And Psalm 107:23-24 promised that “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do enterprise in excellent waters These see the performs of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.”

Christopher was specifically concerned with the energy of the Ottoman Turks who controlled the eastern Mediterranean and have been threatening Europe. If a way could be discovered of reaching India by sailing West, the Turks could be attacked from behind and possibly the Holy Land itself could be rescued from their hands. Yes, Columbus was interested in trade and riches, but Christian concern also lay behind his plans.

When land was sighted on October 12, 1492, in recognition of the divine help in his voyage, Columbus named the land San Salvador, which suggests Holy Savior, and he prayed:

O Lord, Almighty and everlasting God, by Thy holy Word Thou hast designed the heaven, and the earth, and the sea blessed and glorified be Thy Name, and praised be Thy Majesty, which hath made to use us, Thy humble servants, that Thy holy Names may possibly be proclaimed in this second portion of the earth.

In maintaining with the Christian motive underlying his mission, Columbus at initial showed excellent concern for how the natives, whom he referred to as Indians, have been treated. He wrote:

So that they could possibly be properly-disposed towards us, for I knew that they have been a folks to be delivered and converted to our holy faith rather by enjoy than by force, I gave to some red caps and to other people glass beads, which they hung about their neck, and several other factors…I think that they would effortlessly be made Christians, for it seemed to me that they had no religion of their personal.

All the very same, Columbus’ concern for the salvation of these folks was coupled with an attitude of superiority, which saw practically nothing incorrect in forcibly capturing the folks and producing them slaves of the Europeans. And the missionary drive which was prominent through his initial voyage, in later voyages became subordinate to his enjoy of wealth and position. Sadly, Columbus was not the final to drop sight of his spiritual targets when tempted with wealth and energy.

Christopher Columbus Day

Some in the Roman Catholic Church have proposed more than the years that Columbus be recognized as a saint, but small severe consideration appears to have been offered to the proposal. Considering that 1971, Columbus Day has been commemorated in the United States on the second Monday of every single October. It was initial recognized as a federal vacation on October 12, 1937.

As 1 of two federal holidays bearing the name of a particular individual (the other is Martin Luther King Jr. Day), opposition to celebrating Columbus’s achievements has been mounted by several human rights groups and Native American groups such as the American Indian Movement (AIM). They contact into query the propriety of celebrating Columbus’s arrival in the New Globe. Columbus may possibly have been the world’s most well-known explorer, but, as they argue, he also ushered in genocide against indigenous peoples as properly as the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. Columbus introduced imperial colonization, forced labor, torture, and the advent of European ailments formerly unknown to the Americas which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Native peoples.

What do you consider about honoring the legacy of Columbus? Is he a historical hero or villain? 


Bandelier, Ad. F. “Christopher Columbus.” Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton, 1914.

Christopher Columbus. Christian History Magazine #35.

Morison, Samuel Eliot. Admiral of the Ocean Sea a Life of Christopher Columbus. Boston: Small Brown and co, 1942.

Nadra Kareem Nittle, “The Argument against Columbus Day.” (http://racerelations.about.com/od/historyofracerelations/a/The-Argument-Against-Columbus-Day.htm)

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Annie Spratt