Today is the second Monday in October and is a day celebrated by two famous explorers. Leif Erikson was the first European to set foot on North American soil. It’s been proven by Historians based on some records at that time. Leif Erikson did not map out his journey. Therefore, there is no physical evidence of his travels.
It was around 1002 Leif Erikson sailed to North America from his home in Greenland. He went in search of a land seen by a Norse Sea Captain. During that voyage, he stopped at a number of places. None of his landings were ever documented in a map. It is believed he landed along the coast of New Foundland, and perhaps as far south as near Cape Cod. Erikson and his men were said to have spent the winter in North America. They built a large house for lodging , and a shed to shelter the boat over the long winter. Leif Erikson never returned to further explore North America and never claimed the land. A number of explorers, including his brother, traveled to North America. Unfortunately, his brother was killed by Indians. In 1964, a joint resolution of Congress declared October 9th as Leif Erikson Day.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America. However, credit was never given to the fact that Native Americans were already here. Native Americans are truly the original inhabitants of our great country. That’s why we honor the Native American Community today.
Today, we celebrate Columbus Day for what it accurately is. Columbus did discover the existence of the New World for Europeans. Up until then, they believed the world was flat and ended somewhere in the Atlantic. Now the focus is being focused more upon discovery of the “New World”, and less upon Columbus himself. Although, if it wasn’t for these two great explorers, where would we be? We wouldn’t be enjoying the freedom of this wonderful country.
Some key facts (in case you forgot):
- Columbus Discovered America in 1492. He originally set sail on August 3, 1492, but had trouble with the ships, stopping at the Canary Islands for a month. The ships left the Canary Islands on September 3,1492.
- He traveled with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria
- While Columbus was an Italian, Italy wouldn’t fund his exploration, so he turned to the King of Spain. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella provided the funding.
- Christopher Columbus did not land on the U.S. mainland. He landed on an island in the Caribbean.
Today is a day off for most schools. While you’re enjoying this day remember you owe it to two men, who took the time to search out new lands and adventure. Remember the Native Americans, who taught us how to survive in a foreign land.