Recently many American families came together to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday. Many Americans observe this holiday as a reminder of when Columbus discovered America. For centuries, Columbus has been hailed as a brave explorer whose daring, perseverance, and navigational knowledge led to the “discovery” of America. In grade schools across America children are taught that Columbus is a hero for discovering America. Although, what most schools in the past have not informed their students of, is the fact that Columbus did a great deal more that discover America.
The fact is however that Columbus was no more the discoverer of America than Pocahontas was the discoverer of Great Britain. Native Americans had built great civilizations with many millions of people long before Columbus wandered lost into the Caribbean. Columbus never set foot on North America, nor did he open it to European trade. Scandinavian Vikings already had settlements here in the eleventh century. Thefirst European explorer to thoroughly document his visit to North America was the Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto, who sailed for King Henry VII of England and became known by his anglicized name, John Cabot. Caboto arrived in 1497 and claimed North America for the English sovereign while Columbus was still searching for India in the Caribbean. After three voyages to America and more than a decade of study, Columbus still believed that Cuba was a part of the continent of Asia, South America was only an island, and the coast of Central America was close to the Ganges River. So not only did he not discover a "new" continent, he did not realize what he had found (McKay, Hill, Buckler, and Ebrey, 2000)
Also, contrary to popular legend, Columbus did not prove that the world was round; educated people had known that for centuries. The Egyptian-Greek scientist Erastosthenes, working for Alexandria and Aswan, already had measured the circumferen…