I’ve been thinking about Columbus Day since it occurred on Monday.
- The first discoverer of the American continent was Jansong from Siberia in 9,000 bp when he crossed the Aleutian chain of islands with his tribe of more than 100 men women and children. He didn’t know he was on a new continent or even what a continent was.
- Then the next discovery was by Lillikarsh from a fishing village in West Africa who landed near the Amazon in 2100 bp.
- After that appears to have been Li Liu, probably a Buddhist monk with a group of his fellow monks from China in 1650 bp. The ballast from his boat has been found near Long Beach.
- Followed by Jesus De Marsco a Portuguese fisherman in 1500 bp who regularly rode the great Gulf Stream Current, stopping for water in what would later be called Cuba.
- Then came Eric the Red from Greenland in 1000 bp. He stayed a few years with 30 or so men who didn’t know he landed on a new unknown continent. He is described in one of the Viking Sagas.
So why is Columbus celebrated for his discovery of this same place?
Because Columbus came from a society with a few thousand literate men who also kept records. They were able, using their literacy to write letters and carry the story of land thousands of miles away to the West. The story was spread to the thousands of other literate people who described the story they heard in written documents.
Importantly, Columbus was able to return to his home country several times. Others who followed Columbus explored the area he had found and recognized it as a large land mass that was unknown to their fellow Europeans.
That is why we honor Columbus. Literacy makes a big difference.