1492: Christopher Columbus makes landfall

From History:


On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina.On October 12, the expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and “Indian” captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New World, discovering various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainlands, but he never accomplished his original goal—a western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.

An amazing accomplishment.

Here is a photo of Christopher which I lately took in Central Park.


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  1. AvantiBev says:

    And this is a good time to remember that western Europeans were looking for a way to reach the spice traders of China and SE Asia because a certain religion of pieces, er, peace was making land routes perilous.

  2. Darren says:

    Just think, Italy did not have tomatoes until after Columbus came to America!

    Here is an old photo I took of a statue of Columbus at Journal Square in Jersey City, NJ. It is still there.

    Maybe 15 years ago? (It says 2010 on the page, but that is when I scanned the old photo)

  3. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I encountered a link to this neat overview when reading another Columbus Day article:


    A Franciscan tertiary aspiring to work to fulfil the centuries-old request for missionaries by the Great Khan to the Polo brothers while raising enough money to try to liberate the Holy Land, evangelizing as he went as a conscious living up to his baptismal name! (Interesting to think that his ship, Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepción, sailed just over nine years after the publication of grave nimis by Sixtus IV.)

  4. Legisperitus says:

    Christopher Columbus was a hero, not only for his courageous exploration and discovery, but above all for bringing Christ to the New World! Since they can never forgive him for this, the PC brigade have been out in force as usual this time of year. Several cities have recently replaced Columbus Day with “Indigenous Peoples Day,” along with all the slander toward Columbus that that implies.

    Let no one tell you that Columbus enslaved the natives. He was mortified on his second voyage to find how some of his men had been treating the “Indians” and demanded they cease their mistreatment. Columbus, a saintly man by temperament, should not be held responsible for the unauthorized actions of others that occurred in his absence. He would probably have been declared “Venerable” by the Church already if not for some ambiguities regarding his place of birth.

  5. sirmaab says:

    Wouldn’t any kind of Cause also be prohibited by his adherence to Joachim Fiore?

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    It pains me to see Columbus so maligned in the US today, but then again, generally anything of European origin, including Caucasians, are maligned by the professionally outraged, and are the target of increasing hatred.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    Send us your poor, your tired, your ticked off.

  8. Imrahil says:

    Dear Venerator Sti Lot (and in the same vein),

    what is already amazing is that a man named “the Christ-bearer” and “the male Pillar” sailed on a ship (!) named “St. Mary” discovering “the New World”…

    and that said New World, for all her problems and (may I say it) failures, remains (North and South) a refugium of Christian religious life, was for long time a haven for the oppressed and the destitute, and would once set out to free the old world.

    (I got this idea from the paintings in Weltenburg Abbey, which represent the journey of the Church through the times with the journey of Columbus, even featuring some Red Indians in the new world…)

    What is also amazing is that following. Let’s set historical criticism aside for a moment and just follow small-t tradition.

    According to that, our Lord was visited in the manger by the kings of (a country each within) Arabia, India and Africa (all connected somehow to Babylon – must be possible somehow, right?).
    The Bible verse that refers to this is: “The Kings from Tarshish and the Isles are bringing gifts, the Kings of Saba and Sheba are coming with presents” (Ps 72).
    Saba and Sheba are within Arabia and Africa respectively, that seems to be generally accepted. Neither of which, though, let’s face it, is an isle, nor does Tarshish lie in India – but, as we might remember from Moby Dick (and what is hold the most probable, though not only, possibility by serious critics), it lies in Spain!

    Well… when some 1500 years later, the King of Tarshish and the Isles, that is of Spain “and the new Islands and Continents beyond the Sea” as it was called at the time, did come to the manger, that is the Church St. Mary Major ad Praesepe in Rome, and humbly present the first-fruit gold of his new land to our Lord (that is the said Church’s nowadays decoration), that land happened to be called, and he to be called King of, India.


    Of course also, when Scripture says: “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law” (Is 42,4), what are these “Ilses” that are so neatly distinguished from the “Earth”? Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus? That can be thought of course (these are “isles”, just as all isles are of course “earth”), but it does sound, to me, like something a bit more islandish and more far away than that. It sounds like America.

  9. Marc M says:

    Can anyone direct me to a good historical resource defending Colombus? The googling I’ve done after reading the various attacks every Columbus Day the last few years, has pretty much led me to believe that the modern lefty view on this actually has a significant amount of serious evidence. If everyone was just quoting and re-quoting Zinn’s book I could ignore it, but there are enough primary sources, and I have trouble finding a weighty counter-argument.

  10. acardnal says:

    Marc M., the Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon, SJ, wrote a series of articles on Columbus. You might find them worthwhile. HERE

  11. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    I’ve little more than heard of a connection with Joachim, but the Wikipedia article on “Book of Prophecies” reports The Libro de la profecias of Christopher Columbus, Translation and commentary by Delno C. West and August Kling, University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 1991. Presumably that would give an idea of what the connection was, and help discern whether it was a problematic adherence.


    Fascinating! I had not remembered (or never knew?) the connection of the landing with the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, till I read Ben Broussard’s article, and even then did not see a connection with the surname!

  12. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I don’t know anything about the details of celebrations of “Indigenous Peoples Day” anywhere, but fear they may seldom do justice to the evidence of the joy of many and various ‘Indigenous’ people to receive the Gospel and Baptism down the ages since 1492.

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