Happy Columbus Day!

IN 1492

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.

Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.

Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.

Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.

October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!

“Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.

But “India” the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.

The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.

Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he’d been told.

He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.

The first American? No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.

Found at My Life, or Something Like It.

There are those, including some of America’s aboriginal peoples, who protest Columbus Day. These protesters feel that the land was “stolen” from the aboriginal people. I have to admit that the Europeans who came here were not always “angels” but neither were they “devils”. Manhattan was purchased. We may not think that the purchase price was fair, even the Dutch probably thought they were getting a great deal, but the purchase price was set by, or at the very least accepted by, the seller.

Europeans came to a land where the native peoples were still living a hunter/gatherer lifestyle for the most part. Their own civilizations rose and fell – the Anasazi abandoned their “city” hundreds of years before the Europeans came.

We are all Americans. Of Indian, European, African, Asian, Arab, or whatever descent. This land would have been settled by others than the aborigines at some point in time, it just so happened to happen 500 years ago, with a voyage underwritten by Queen Isabella of Spain on a search for a western route to India.

Happy Columbus Day.

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