Celebrations soon to begin for Columbus Day 2010

Christopher Columbus

Columbus Day 2010 will be Monday, Oct. 11. His legacy is complex. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Columbus Day 2010 will be on Monday, Oct. 11. The second Monday of October is always celebrated as Columbus Day. Banks will not be open. Post offices will not be open either on Columbus Day 2010. The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates Columbus Day. However, some people question whether it should really be celebrated at all.

Columbus Day history

Christopher Columbus reached the Americas on Oct. 12, 1492. However, according to Wikipedia, he arrived on Oct. 12 of the Julian Calendar. Currently, much of the world is on the Gregorian Calendar which replaced it, putting Columbus’ arrival on Oct. 21, 1492. Columbus Day began in the United States as a state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and as a federal holiday in 1934. Celebrations of it had been held earlier, as several cities celebrated it in 1792, and in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison called for an observance of the 400-year anniversary of his arrival. It was declared a holiday by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Not all school districts, stock exchanges and state governments observe it. People should make sure to check local banks and state offices and postal services if curious. However, there is some question over whether it should be celebrated at all.

Legacy of Columbus

The closest Christopher Columbus got to what is the United States is Cuba. The first Europeans to see what is the U.S. or Canada were Vikings, who temporarily settled at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. Columbus, for one, barely got his first voyage bankrolled. Within 100 years, the bulk of the native population of Cuba, Haiti and other islands was dead. He and his men have been accused over the years of genocide. His motivation was profit, and a priest who went on a voyage of his, Bartolome de las Casas, famously deplored his brutality.

Dora is a better explorer

Columbus basically got to the Caribbean by luck. Columbus never really thought the Earth was flat, either. He also was responsible, to one degree or another, for the slaughter of thousands. In fact, he was arrested by the Spanish Crown for being too brutal, and died an outcast. His is a complicated legacy. Take a minute to ponder it on Columbus Day 2010.

Sources

Wikipedia on Columbus Day

Wikipedia on Christopher Columbus

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