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WWL: Columbus Revealed
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In fourteen hundred ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue...


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49:01 minutes (23.53 MB)
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“In fourteen hundred ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” So, is it a day to celebrate?

The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria brought Christopher Columbus and his fellow explorers from Spain to what he thought was India…it was actually the Bahamas.

Despite claims that he “discovered” this new land, the “New World” was in no way vacant.

For the native people living here, Columbus’ arrival was no day to celebrate…as Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote, "The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide."

Today, an exploration of the famous…and infamous explorer Christopher Columbus.

We’ll talk to teachers and hear about how they teach their students about this explorer… we’ll talk to one researcher who says Columbus was not a poor Italian peasant but a wealthy Portugese spy... with Polish roots - - and another scholar who has shown, through genetic testing, that Columbus and his men brought syphilis from the New World, back to Europe.

Join the conversation. Should this day be a national holiday? Should we be celebrating Christopher Columbus?

Related Content:

I believe we should abandon

I believe we should abandon the Columbus Day holiday and replace it with “HEROES” DAY. HEROES DAY would involve school children choosing a local, national, and international life to commemorate every year. Three in all. This involves research, discussion of values, and development of appreciation for individuals working in three important spheres of operation – home, country, and globe. The act of choosing and eliminating candidates would be a major learning experience in itself. All the nation’s school children would participate and every year the national tally would determine the national and international “HEROES of the YEAR”.

Listener Email from Dan

"In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, but in 1493, Columbus stole all that he could see."

My students researched this revisionist history poem on Howard Zinn's website, gaining the native perspective of Columbus. They also researched "Dias de las Culturas" (Culture Day) in Costa Rica, which has replaced Columbus Day.

Thank you,
Dan Hart,
Teacher in Southington

Columbus Day comment


Thank you for having the Columbus Day show on today.  I was in my car and listened to the beginning, but now that I am home, I cannot listen because, living in Avon, your atenna does not reach us in the Valley.  However, I have a comment about Columbus Day.

When I was in grad school during the summers of 1982-1985 studying for my degree in Spanish at Middlebury College's summer language school, I read Bartolome de las Casas account of the arrival of Columbus in the "new world."  Barolome was on board when they arrived and he wrote of terrible atrocities to the natives, the land, the women and children, poisening of food, blankets with smallpox to kill natives, etc.  It was horrible.  They killed for gold.  I also learned that most schools in central and south America do not teach about Columbus as a hero like we do here in north America.  I was pleased to hear that back then and very surprised to hear your guests today say that this country is FINALLY teaching about his activities in a truthful way. 

Thank you for bringing this to light.  I am sure Italians who study history truefully will be as horrified by what Columbus and his teamdid as we are.  Now, let's make sure the Spanish, in Spain, where the ship was financed, feel the same way.

You did a wonderful service today.  I just wish I could have listened to the program past the first 10 minutes I had in the car.

Terri in Avon

Counter Columbus Day Teach-In tonight

Your listeners may be interested in this event this evening:

Counter-Columbus Day Teach-In

When: Mon, October 12, 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Where: Wrench in the Works, 861 Main St, Willimantic

Laurie Pasteryak of the Pequot Museum will be coming in to talk about the genocide

known as the Pequot War. Her presentation will cover both the historical context and
contemporary perspectives on the event which allow us to consider the Columbian
legacy and the invasion of the Americas (particularly in our own back yard) with a more
critical eye.

Print flyer: www.wrenchintheworks.org/ccd.pdf