Should we celebrate Columbus Day? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Should we celebrate Columbus Day?

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. A phrase most of us heard at some point growing up.

While early accounts say Christopher Columbus discovered America, we now know that is not entirely true.

Thomas University professor John Booth says Columbus helped introduce Europe to things like corn, sugar cane, and the buffalo. "When Columbus came he opens the door and here comes Spain, then Portugal, then the French, the then the English, then you know."

Columbus was Italian, but eventually sailed from Spain.

He was turned down three or four times before he successfully lobbied to Queen Isabella. "God gave you all of this and made you Queen of Spain with a healthy marriage and a successful mother and a queen and all this thing, I believe God's wish is for you to convert the ignorant masses of Asia," said Booth.

Columbus Day has sparked controversy around the world.

Some look at Columbus as a villain because of the atrocities done to the indigenous people, while others see him as a hero. "It's really a source of pride for the Italian American community that Columbus opened it up," said Booth.

Booth says Columbus is kind of like the first American politician. "Cause when he left Spain he didn't know where he was going and when he got there and came back, he didn't know where he'd been and he did it all on borrowed money and tell me we couldn't put him in the Senate right now."

Booth says at his death, Columbus was still convinced his journeys had been along the east coast of Asia.

While New York City hosts the largest Columbus Day parade every year, San Francisco hosts the oldest.

Copyright 2011 WALB. All rights reserved.

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