Love him or hate him– the second Monday in October is dedicated to him. Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering “the new world” and whether you agree with it or not, he is one of the most widely recognized explorers in history. Since, it is Columbus Day, here’s 10 things you might be surprised to learn about him.
1. He is the only other person besides Martin Luther King Junior, to have an American holiday named after him.
2. Though many Italians proudly celebrate Christopher Columbus, his heritage is debated. Some historians believe he was born in Italy, others think it may have been Corsica.
3. Columbus actually wrote in Spanish, not Italian, his entire life. (Weekly Universe)
4. He first approached King John II of Portugal in 1484 about backing his transatlantic voyage, but the king thought the plan was too vague.
5. Though the legend goes that Queen Isabella of Spain sold her jewels to pay for the voyage, she and her husband Ferdinand actually used Italian investors to finance the trip. (Weekly Universe)
6. One of Columbus’ crew members had killed a man in a fight and gone to jail for the crime. Three other crew members were the ones who had helped break him out of jail! (Weekly Universe)
7. Columbus first built a fortress called La Navidad on present-day Haiti in 1492. 38 men stayed behind to occupy it but within a year, they had all been killed by natives. (Biography.com)
8. When Columbus died in 1506, he still believed he had discovered a shorter route to Asia. (Biography.com)
9. Columbus died with his riches, but not his titles, which were stripped by the Spanish Crown after settlers complained he misled them with promises of riches. (Biography.com)
10. The location of Columbus’ grave is up for debate. His remains have been moved several times from Spain, Haiti and Cuba. Parts of him may even be in the Dominican Republic and Italy. (Weekly Universe)