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Quotations for Columbus Day

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Okay, so putting aside the fact that Columbus Day as we previously knew it is actually more of a fake USA federal holiday, or outdated, misleading, or however you want to say it — considering that the brutal explorer Columbus never set foot in North America — let's just call some of these quotations historical and educational and literary. I've collected them for far too many years to trash them all now! Some places have renamed the holiday Discovery Day, Indigenous Peoples Day (what, no apostrophe‽), Native American Day, American Indian Heritage Day, etc. So let's get whatever we can out of these quotes. You know what they say — love the words, hate the explorer. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g, October 2013

In fourteen hundred ninety-two,
Columbus got us all a day off school.
With just three ships he sailed over,
So we could have some me time in October.
~Trey Parker, "Holiday Special," South Park [S21, E3, 2017, Cartman]

In all parts of the Old World, as well as of the New, it was evident that Columbus had kindled a fire in every mariner's heart.  That fire was the harbinger of a new era, for it was not to be extinguished.  ~Charles Kendall Adams

Every ship that comes to America got its chart from Columbus.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.  ~Robert F. Kennedy

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. ~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928

I also hate those holidays that fall on a Monday where you don't get mail, those fake holidays like Columbus Day.  What did Christopher Columbus do, discover America?  If he hadn't, somebody else would have and we'd still be here.  Big deal.  ~John Waters, quoted in The Portable Curmudgeon Redux, compiled & edited by Jon Winokur, 1992

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.  ~André Gide

When asked by an anthropologist what the Indians called America before the white man came, an Indian said simply, "Ours."  ~Vine Deloria, Jr.

He completed the universe, he achieved the physical unity of the globe.  ~Lamartine

Columbus found a world, and had no chart,
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies.
~George Santayana

What a pity, when Christopher Columbus discovered America, that he ever mentioned it.  ~Margot Asquith

Columbus had all the spirit of a crusader, and, at the same time, the investigating nature of a modern man of science.  ~Edmund Arthur Helps

Whose indomitable spirit changed the face of the earth for us.  ~Edmund Arthur Helps

If Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock.  ~Arthur Goldberg

Every one of us has in him a continent of undiscovered character.  Blessed is he who acts the Columbus to his own soul.  ~Author Unknown

Over half a millennium ago, Christopher Columbus — an ambitious navigator native to Genoa, Italy — set sail for new horizons.... Though his first of four voyages across the Atlantic did not end at his desired destination of Asia, Columbus's adventure reflected the insatiable thirst for exploration that continues to drive us as a people.... Though these early travels expanded the realm of European exploration, to many they also marked a time that forever changed the world for the indigenous peoples of North America.... and as we pay tribute to the ways in which Columbus pursued ambitious goals — we also recognize the suffering inflicted upon Native Americans and we recommit to strengthening tribal sovereignty and maintaining our strong ties. ~Barack Obama, 2015 October 9th, quoted from The White House Office of the Press Secretary

His bark
The daring mariner shall urge far o'er
The Western wave, a smooth and level plain,
Albeit the earth is fashioned like a wheel.
~Luigi Pulci

He gave the world another world.  ~George Santayana

So Columbus said, somebody show me the sunset and somebody did and he set sail for it,
And he discovered America and they put him in jail for it,
And the fetters gave him welts,
And they named America after somebody else.
~Ogden Nash, Columbus

Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.  ~John Dewey, The Quest for Certainty, 1929

America's one of the finest countries anyone ever stole.  ~Bobcat Goldthwaite

The red man of the forest was formerly a very respectful person. At the time Chris. arrove on these shores, the savages was virtuous and happy. They were innocent of secession, rum, draw-poker, and sinfulness generally. They had no Congress, faro banks, delirium tremens, or Associated Press. Their habits was consequently good. Late suppers, dyspepsy, gas companies, thieves, ward politicians, pretty waiter-girls, and other metropolitan refinements, were unknown among them. No savage in good standing would take postage-stamps. The female aborigine never died of consumption, because she didn't tie her waist up in whalebone things; but in loose and flowing garments she bounded, with naked feet, over hills and plains like the wild and frisky antelope. It was an unlucky moment for us when Chris. set his foot onto these here shores. It would have been better for us of the present day if the Indians had given him a warm meal and sent him home. For the savages owned the country, and Columbus was a fillibuster. Cortez, Pizarro, and Walker were one-horse fillibusters—Columbus was a four-horse team fillibuster, and a large yellow dog under the wagon. I say, in view of the mess we are making of things, it would have been better for us if Columbus had stayed to home. ~Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Brown), "The Noble Red Man," in Vanity Fair, 1862 October 11th  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

We shall be inclined to pronounce the voyage that led to the way to this New World as the most epoch-making event of all that have occurred since the birth of Christ. ~John Fiske

Since our Nation's founding, we have been driven by strength in the face of uncertainty and by a bold spirit of adventure. These defining forces were reflected in the early discovery of our continent when Leif Erikson — a son of Iceland and grandson of Norway — and his team became the first Europeans known to land on North American shores. On Leif Erikson Day, we honor him as an important piece of our shared past with the Norwegian people, and we celebrate the perilous yet rewarding voyage he and his crew undertook one millennium ago.... Today, we pay tribute to those who embarked on these expeditions and recognize the role they played in shaping our legacy as a Nation of immigrants. ~Barack Obama, 2015 October 8th, quoted from The White House Office of the Press Secretary  [October 9th of each year. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

For all mankind that unstained scroll unfurled,
Where God might write anew the story of the World.
~Edward Everett Hale

With this humble instrumentality did it please Providence to prepare the theatre for those events by which a new dispensation of liberty was to be communicated to man.  ~Edward Everett

Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at.  ~Author Unknown

Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered.  I myself would say that it had merely been detected.  ~Oscar Wilde

Aborigines, n.:  Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country.  They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.  ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson:  "On! sail on!"
~Joaquin Miller

He stands in history as the completer of the globe.  ~John Sterling

Columbus went around the world in 1492.  That isn't a lot of strokes when you consider the course.  ~Lee Trevino

Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States.  Ask any Indian.  ~Robert Orben

Women have been taught that, for us, the earth is flat, and that if we venture out, we will fall off the edge.  ~Author Unknown

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.  ~Marcel Proust

Columbus dreamed of an unknown shore,
At the rim of a far-flung sky.
~Author Unknown

He stands out among the beacon lights of history as a man of vision dominated by a definite purpose.  ~John George Jones

Great scientific discoveries have been made by men seeking to verify quite erroneous theories about the nature of things.  ~Aldous Huxley, "Wordsworth in the Tropics"

Was this his face, and these the finding eyes
That plucked a new world from the rolling seas?
~George Edward Woodberry

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.  ~James Joyce

The greatest discoveries of science have always been those that forced us to rethink our beliefs about the universe and our place in it.  ~Robert L. Park, in The New York Times, 7 December 1999

Hardly a name in profane history is more august than his.  Hardly another character in the world's record has made so little of its opportunities.  His discovery was a blunder; his blunder was a new world; the New World is his monument!  ~Justin Winsor

What faith in man must in our new world beat,
Thinking how once he saw before his face
The west and all the host of stars retreat
Into the silent infinite of space!
~George Edward Woodberry

He leaves in the background of fame all other navigators whose names are written in the priceless annals of discovery.  ~Emilio Castelar

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Original post date 2002 May 25th
Last modified 2017 Dec 02 Sat 20:05 PST

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