Monday, July 24, 2006

Cristóbal Colón

Hot & not wanting to spend precious euros on entry fees, I wandered into a free exhibition to beat the heat and take advantage of a little history that wasn't in the guidebook and best of all, gratis (free). The exhibit piqued my curiosity because it talked about Indians and I figured they didn't mean India's Indians. I was right. When I got inside, I saw maps and pictures of Native Americans in America. Then there was a series of maps showing the progress of colonization in America. I also saw intermittent pics of a guy named Colón.

Finished with the downstairs, I went upstairs where the entire floor was dedicated to Colón. Now, I started to pay attention. India, Native Americans, Nuevo País...I remember it all from history, but there's no Colón guy in my high school memory bank. *light bulb* OHHH! Now, I'm looking at the whole name; Cristóbal Colón with references to the reyes (King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel). Could it be Christopher Columbus? If so, how'd his name get changed over in English, especially the last part? Okay, it has to be him. I read through the rest of the exhibit, which is in Spanish of course. I needed to verify, though.

To the guard: ¿Habla usted inglés?

Guard: Un poco.

Me: Cristóbal Colón es Christopher Columbus, si?

Guard: Yes, yes!

Okay. Whew! So my deductive reasoning skills and limited knowledge of Spanish served me well. It's interesting to read other cultures' perspectives on history. The exhibit focused on how Cristóbal Colón helped spread the Spanish culture throughout the new world. That isn't the point of view I was taught in history class. Interestingly enough, I met a couple from Australia, who told me about new research that Cristóbal was not the first to "discover" America, but the Chinese. As a matter of fact, good ol' Cris used their maps. It's all chronicled in the book 1421, which I can't wait to read. See how travel broadens your perspectives?


Anonymous Caymanian said...

hmmm, interesting! I didn't know anything about the Chinese, but he couldn't have "discovered" first if there were already natives inhabiting the land. Pompous, thieving 15th century Europeans! I may have to pick up that book too.

5:05 AM  

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