The Empathy and Antipathy Concerning Christopher Columbus

Christopher_Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo

Visiting Italy

Several years ago I made a rail trip across Italy. My journey began in old Venice and ended up at a small coastal town (Finale Marina) on the Italian Riviera. The scenery from Venice westward was rather mundane until the train began approaching Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Here, the flat plains gave way to a rugged almost mountainous terrain, where many dwellings were situated on the sides of some very steep hills.

800px-Genova_1481_(copy_1597) View of Genoa by Christoforo de Grassi
View of Genoa in 1481, copied in 1597 by Christoforo de Grassi

Birthplace of Columbus

At Genoa, I transferred trains at an underground station, so I didn’t get to see much of the city, but the ride along the Mediterranean coast was spectacular as the train passed through several long tunnels interspersed with short lengths of rail set right next to the tranquil blue sea. All in all, this provides little insight into the life and times of the “Great Mariner”, though it could shed a little light on the origins of the explorer, who crossed the Atlantic. For info on the trials and tribulations of Mr. Columbus it is necessary to do some research. A good place to begin is Martin Dugard’s excellent book, entitled The Fourth Joutney of Christopher Columbus.

Travel Poster for Venice

Cruising the Internet for Columbus Editorials and Articles

Every year about this time there appear several articles underscoring the destruction and misery caused by the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. This year the big winner seems to be over at the Oatmeal, where a poster by Mathew Inman has been published entitled Christopher Columbus was awful. Check it out.  On a similar (but not so negative) note you might want to check out what the staff at Indian Country Media Network has to say. Just go to their website and read the piece entitled, How not to party on Columbus Day. Then there is the more positive view which found at the Queens Gazette.  And finally on a lighter note, in an article written last year, Laura Geggel of the NY Times speculates on what that mysterious light might have been that Columbus saw just before he landed in the New World.

In Conclusion

After taking in all these viewpoints, don’t forget that Italy is still a fun place to visit. Along these lines I have included another travel poster. Ciao, and so long for now.

Travel Poster for the Italian Riviera