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It’s A Holiday

It’s the second Monday in October, so it is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Have a happy one.

The US Federal government has decided to call it Columbus Day, even when it isn’t on the 12th of October which was the second Wednesday in 1492. But it’s okay that the holiday can be on the wrong day, because Christopher Columbus [AKA: Cristoforo Colombo, Cristóbal Colón] didn’t find what he was looking for and identified what he did find incorrectly. The important thing is that a large area of the map got changed from “here be dragons and sea serpents,” to “here be gold and cannibals” and no mention was made of the oppressive heat, mosquitoes, or hurricanes.

It’s a big day for Italians in the US, even though Colombo was Genoese, not Italian, as there was no Italy until just before the American Civil War.

But, hey, holidays are all about frauds and misconceptions in furtherance of a day off. In 1492 Isabel la Católica, Queen Regnant of Castile and Leon; Queen Consort of Aragon, Majorca, Naples and Valencia; Countess Consort of Barcelona, was more concerned to ridding her realm of non-Catholics, and had a “whatever” attitude about Cristóbal Colón. Her support amounted to a piece of paper telling people to supply him with men and ships out of their own pockets, not her treasury.

So while Chris sailed the “ocean blue”, ‘Bel and Ferd with the Dominican friar Tomás de Torquemada as the first Inquisitor General, pursued a policy of “religious cleansing” which provided important material for Monty Python.

We end up on a landmass named for a Florentine employee of the de Medici family, because a Freiburger [there was no Germany until 1870] cartographer read a probably bogus book of letters. OTOH, you have to give Vespucci points for figuring out that he probably wasn’t in Asia.

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