The First Electronic Church of America
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Christopher Columbus, the man who knew the world was not flat and set out to circumnavigate the globe to prove that, and discovered America instead, died on this date in 1506. By most standards, he would never make sainthood, and shouldn't, if for no other reason than his treatment of the Native Americans who greeted him on their shores only to be brutalized, terrorized, enslaved, raped and killed. Cristofero Colombo was born in Genoa, an Italian seaport. He became, quite naturally, a sailor. And then something more. He wanted to sail west, until he reached Asia. And he got what he wanted, by dint of a native persistence that overcame all the great men who insisted he was crazy. When John II, the king of Portugal, would not finance his westward crossing, he moved to Spain and made the same request there.When a royal commission turned him down, Columbus continued to seek support, and in April 1492 his persistence was rewarded: Ferdinand V, king of Castile, and Queen Isabella agreed to sponsor the expedition. The signed contract stipulated that Columbus was to become viceroy of all territories he located; other rewards included a hereditary peerage and one-tenth of all precious metals found within his jurisdiction. Columbus commanded three vessels on his first voyage, the Santa Maria, a decked ship about about 100 feet long under his command, and the Pinta and the Nina, two small caravels, each about about 50 feet long. The fleet sailed from Palos, Spain, on Aug. 3, 1492, carrying perhaps 90 men. Some ten weeks later, before dawn on October 12, land was sighted, and early in the morning the expedition landed on Guanahan , an island in the Bahamas. Before an audience of uncomprehending natives, Columbus claimed that, by right of conquest, their island now belonged to Spain and renamed it San Salvador ("Holy Savior"). Columbus returned to Spain, was enthusiastically received by the Spanish monarchs, who confirmed the honors guaranteed by his contract. Columbus would make three more voyages to the New World. In human terms, they were disasters, expeditions filled with contention, mutinies, and shipwrecks. And a cruelty to the natives which, even then, didn't make sense to his contemporaries. He established one colony near what is now Cape Isabella, Dominican Republic, and ended up not only making war on the natives there, but shipping his captives to Spain to sell as slaves. Queen Isabella had enough common sense and was enough of a Christian to send them back, those, that is, who had survived the grueling voyages, both ways. Columbus's fourth voyage ended up with his being stranded in Jamaica. After nearly a year there, he was rescued and taken back to Spain, never to sail again. The final months of his life were marked by illness and vain attempts to secure restitution from King Ferdinand of all his privileges, even though by then Columbus was quite wealthy. He never set foot on what is now the United States. The closest he came: Puerto Rico.
MODEL: For all his cruelty, Columbus is a man worth emulating for his curiosity, his persistence and his courage in facing up to the unknown. Not all of us can do this. Those who do deserve to be called heroes. ***
Your Birthday Today:
Not shy. If you were born on May 20, you let it all hang out, expressing yourself loud and clear to those around you. You also like to probe, test and analyze your environment leaving no stone unturned. Ruled by the number 2 and the moon, you may be overly impressionable and emotional.
Surface dweller. You grow quickly bored if not constantly entertained, which can exhaust your friends and family. Since you are always looking outward for stimulation, you rarely look inward to analyze and improve yourself. You stay only skin deep, never stopping to focus or expand your knowlge, and for this, others may call you superficial.
You are like a shark. You must constantly move or die. Your pace is ridiculous and nerve-wracking. Travel, whether around the globe or around town, is necessary. The only thing that slows you down is a complete illness or breakdown. Jumping from one thing to the next without finishing anything is your style.
Hit the off switch. Your need for stimulation and constant movement stems from your mind. You can't turn it off. This leads to overanalyzing, overworrying and overfearing, to coin a phrase.
A little advice: You must learn to quiet your mind. Start by closing your mouth. Rise above and observe yourself. Learning to meditate may help. Focus on the task at hand and bring it to a conclusion.
Also born on this day: Constance Towers (actress) George Gobel (comedian) Lya Bosi (Italian painter) Elijah Fenton (British poet) Socrates (Greek philosopher) Jimmy Stewart (actor) John Stwart Mill (British philosopher) Cher (singer, actress) Joe Cocker (singer, songwriter) Owen Smith (Olympic pole-vaulter) Doris Fleeson (first US woman syndicated columnist).