CONSTRUCTED COLUMBUS

Posted in Quick Hits on October 9th, 2017 by Ed

Very excited about a Columbus Day themed piece that I got into The Nation. Rather than rehash the fact that Columbus was a bastard – which I think is fairly well established at this point, or at least there is a substantial quantity of content out there that makes that point well – I wanted to look at how and why Columbus became a Thing in the first place. There certainly is no obvious reason we should celebrate him. He was Italian, he sailed on behalf of Spain, and he landed in the Dominican Republic and Bahamas. And Europeans were known even in his day to have seen or set foot in North America before he did.

The politics of the American revolution and some bad historiography are largely to blame, and I get to throw in a bunch of historical arcana along the way. Which is kind of my favorite thing to do.

So, enjoy. There were considerable efforts to present this as a "Columbus was a prick" piece for reasons of internet appeal, but I am happy with the extent to which the things that make it unique and interesting were preserved.