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Columbus Day
Columbus Day
1492 Letter

Columbus Day
Table of Contents

Book recommendations

Internet Field Trips

Maps / Charts

Columbus' ships

Columbus' portraits

Secretive Columbus

Columbus' writings

Fascinating Essays

Games & Projects

Columbus & the Egg

Columbus Day

a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma
(paraphrase of Winston Churchill's comment on Columbus)




Book Recommendations

For parents and older students ...

The Log of Christopher Columbus: His Own Account of the Voyage that Changed the World
translated by Robert H. Fuson, @ 1987, published by International Marine Publishing, an imprint of Tab Books
(a division of McGraw-Hill), Camden, Maine, paperback, ISBN# 0-88742-316-4, phone (800) 822- 8158

For younger students ...

Christopher Columbus First Voyage to America: From the Log of the "Santa Maria" with 44 sepia illustrations
by John O'Hara Cosgrave II, Dover Publications
31 East 2nd Street
Mineola, NY 11501
ISBN # 0-486-26844-6
phone (800) 223-3130

The Last Crusader: The Untold Story of Christopher Columbus by George Grant


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Internet Field Trips

Columbus Chapel
Our family looks forward to making our annual visit to Columbus Chapel every Columbus Day. Obviously, the BBC found Columbus Chapel fascinating as well. Read this article to learn more.

Santa Maria
If you are fortunate to reside close to Columbus, Ohio, you may want to take a voyage on the Santa Maria with re-enactors or become one of the crew! If not, be sure to check out the ship's log and the ship at this site

Columbus Coat of Arms
(Can you figure out the Christian worldview symbolism?) Also fascinating is the Book of Privledges, a collection of agreements between the the Spanish monarchs and Columbus

The Explorations of Christopher Columbus
Basic Info from the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, VA, also check out their Age of Exploration curriculum guide

The Columbus Navigation Homepage
This site includes information about dead reckoning and celestial navigation along with timelines

Columbus Monuments
Travel all over the world to see how Columbus has been honored

The Pinta and the Santa Maria

Nos Los Inquisidores
(The Harley L. McDevitt Collection on the Spanish Inquisition, Department of Special Collections University of Notre Dame Libraries, Rare Books Collection)


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Age of Discovery
map (wonderful to print off to use for your homeschooling studies)

Anonymous Genoese chart of Europe and North Africa
(C. Columbus ?), ca. 1490 circular world map is shown on left

Anonymous Genoese chart
(C. Columbus ?), ca. 1490 detail of circular world map (oriented with East at the top)

Anonymous Genoese chart of Europe and North Africa
(C. Columbus ?), ca. 1490 detail of North Africa

Anonymous Genoese chart
(C. Columbus ?), ca. 1490 detail: outline drawing of circular world map (oriented with North at the top)

Martin Behaim's Globe

The History of Cartography
(Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin) Learn about the history of cartography

San Salvadore Island route of Christopher Columbus (Excite). The three different maps here may be of help to your homeschooling scholar

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The Ships of Columbus

The Columbus Fleet

(an Exhibit of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC)

Columbus Landfall Homepage
Just where did Columbus see the New World?

Timeline of Columbus' life
(the first entry, "1451 Born in Genoa, the son of a wool merchant and weaver" is up for debate since we are not really sure when Columbus was born, where he was born, or who his parents were! For that matter we are not even sure where he is buried ... there are three, and some say, four possible sites!)

Compton's Encyclopedia
(online encyclopedia)

Columbus Doors
at east end of the US Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC ... an interesting read

Christopher Columbus .... His gastronomic persona
by Lucio Sorre (find out what they ate on board ship)


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Portraits of Christopher Columbus
Columbus never allowed a portrait to be taken of him during his lifetime (which adds to the mystery of where he was born, his parentage, if Bartolomew was his older brother/younger brother/uncle, and on and on. However, we do have first hand eyewitness writings with respect to what he looked like.) A fun activity the next time you are at the library is to compare and contrast the various portraits of Columbus ... how are they alike/different?

Portrait #1 attributed to Girlandaio, Naval Museum, Genoa

Looks Are Deceiving: the Portraits of Christopher Columbus
      Composite Portrait "Morphed" image of Columbus from eight separate prints.
      Stages in the Morphing (portraits used to "morph" Columbus' image)

Portrait #2 (from the University of Texas)

Portrait #3 Columbus Leaving Palos


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The Secretive Columbus

No one knows for sure WHY Columbus was so mysterious about his past. Even Columbus' children did not know the names of his parents. Many scholars, however, have identified three (3) possible reasons.

1) Hereditary - Many hint that Columbus had a blood link to royalty. A son of poor wool weavers would not have such a good education or books. Virgil Milani documented 100+ words in Columbus' log that were unknown in other Spanish literature before the early 17th century! A commoner could not marry into Portuguese nobility or move as a peer among royalty. Remember, Henry Tudor or Henry VII had usurped the British throne during the lifetime of Ferdinand. Why is that important? Henry Tudor was ineligible for the throne of England due to illegitmacy ... yet he became king. This can go a long way in explaining the antagonism and shoddy treatment Ferdinand had toward Columbus. Queen Isabella's treatment of Christopher was quite unlike that of her husband possibly due to Columbus' Christian worldview and his discretion (e.g., not having his portrait taken, taking a low profile, etc.) which helps to explain her behavior toward Columbus with respect to his title (Admiral of the Ocean Seas) for himself, provision for his descendants, and his share and that of his descendants of profits in the New World.

2) Politics - Columbus may have fought against Spain at one time or may have been on the "wrong" side of some other political issue.

3) Religious - There is a lot of circumstantial evidence indicating that Columbus may have had a Jewish background. Christians and children of Christians of Jewish ancestry along with Jewish converts would not broadcast this information in 15th century Spain.


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The Writings of Columbus

1494 Columbus' Letter to the King & Queen of Spain
(Love to Learn Place  includes vocabulary, geography, etc.)

Priviledges and Prerogatives Granted by Their Catholic Majesties to Christopher Columbus: 1492
(Love to Learn Place includes vocabulary, geography, historical personages, etc.)

John Day Letter
Read the transcript of this letter believed to have been written to Columbus by John Day detailing the voyages and discoveries of John Cabot

Columbus Journal Extracts (Medieval Sourcebook)

Another Letter from Columbus (University of Southern Maine)


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Fascinating Essays

Defending Ourselves Against the Radical Historians
by Rev. J. Steven Wilkins (Part I from an address given to the Compass Conference on the Christian Situation held in Seattle in October 14, 1995)

Was Columbus a Christian?  
Christopher Columbus often said that he was a member of the body of Christ and would carry Christ to the New World.  When is the last time you heard that? It was God that motivated him, and not gold or glory.  What else didn't you know about Christopher Columbus?  Find out on the Truths That Transform with Dr. D. James Kennedy radio broadcast.

The First Things: The Crimes of Christopher Columbus
by Dinesh D'Souza (a John M. Olin Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is author of The End of Racism, published this fall by the Free Press)

Christopher Columbus & Early European Exploration, A Research Guide (NY Public Library)

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Games and Projects

Ye Olde Middle Ages Scavenger Hunt
Learn about the time of Columbus by going on a Middle Ages Scavenger Hunt!

Play the Christopher's Crossing Game
(this game will need to be modified to a Christian worldview)

Build & Use a Quadrant like Columbus!
Not only can you learn how to build a quadrant, but use it and explore with it!

How to Use a Compass
This is an online tutorial complete with lesson plans on how to use a compass

Map Skills
This site will help you learn how to understand maps, map scales, latitude/longitude and map projections

Ropers Knots Page
Learn how to make all kinds of knots used aboard ship ... stoppers, bends, hitches, single loops, breast plates and more knots.


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Columbus and the Egg

The great honors lavished upon the success of Columbus soon made enemies for him among the jealous courtiers of the Spanish court. One day at a dinner given in his honor Columbus was telling about his voyage. Another guest remarked that he did not think there was anything so very wonderful about discovering the West Indies. With quiet dignity Columbus took an egg and, turning to the man, asked, "Can you stand this egg on end?"

No, the man could not; and neither could any other guest at the table, although they all tried.

When the egg was handed back to Columbus he struck it lightly on the table, cracking the shell just enough to make it stand upright. Then everyone laughed to see how easily it could be done.

"Just so easily anyone could have discovered the West Indies after I had shown the way," said Columbus.


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Request: Do you have any special activites (craft, academic, or otherwise) for Columbus Day?
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© Beverly Schmitt 1997-2004, all rights reserved
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