Columbus Day: October 12, 1492. Columbus arrived in America.
Today is a great celebration in Spain, ‘Dia de la Hispanidad’ (‘Spanishness Day’), and in different countries throughout America. In the United States is called ‘Columbus Day’, in Argentina ‘Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity’, in Uruguay ‘Day of the Americas’, in the Bahamas ‘Discovery Day’ and in other countries ‘Day of the Breed’… Anyway, an important day for many reasons:
1.- The Discovery of a new world with different new people provoked a cultural change that, in the end and in spite of all of the struggles and confrontations, brought the Renaissance and, above all, the Enlightenment. ‘The Good Man’ of Rousseau was the ideal man, living according to the Nature, of America.
2.- Not an only monolithic religion never again. The Christian God hadn’t been there and although Spanish Kings (afterwards, other European rulers) forced them to accept Christianity, intellectuals all over the world will start to ask different theological and philosophical questions. Ecumenism, tolerance, agnosticism, atheism (and their opposites) will be new terms in the dictionaries and Hegel’s dialectic the base of a new way of thinking.
3.- Medieval Economy ended and then, Medieval society (feudalism) too. The large inflows of American silver and gold in Europe provoked the birth of Capitalism and now, bankers, entrepreneurs or shipping business men will be the important people who will manage economics. That old society of noble families full of privileges a special laws will have nonsense. Any entrepreneur could be successful in the new world and soon, the French Revolution will bring a similar change in the own Europe (contacts between the fathers of the American Constitution and European enlightened people were constant).
4.- The terrible exploitation of natural resources and of population that suffered that beautiful new world is still today dramatic, but it generated positive movements on both side of the Atlantic ocean fighting for a better future, possible if the ‘everything for money’ changes in ‘we have enough resources to share and live peaceful together’. The immensity of the new continent would enable this last motto.
5.- American dances, music, crafts, art, landscape, fruits, products… mixed with Eurasian and African ones and this mix has been enriching mankind and accelerating new discoveries in all fields of knowledge. One thousand years lasted the Middle Ages, one thousand years of slow changes. However, from October 12, 1492 (Columbus Day) acceleration of historical time is a reality. Not always positive (evil is still with us) but the progresses in medicine, engineering, agronomy, genetics make us thinking of a progress in ethics and of the possibility of a better bigger world.
Columbus Day is a great day. Enjoy it and think of how different would be an Earth, still unround, still full of prejudices, still looking at its own navel. Now, we are looking at other Moons and planets and now we’d like to know the Universe.
Christopher Columbus, Neil Armstrong, America, the Moon, great ideas… From October 12, 1492 mankind have been thinking in progress.
Yes, Columbus Day is a great celebration. Enjoy it!