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On This Date In History: October 12

Located+at+the+east+entrance%2C+Tower+Grove+Park+dedicates+a+statue+of+Christopher+Columbus+in+1886.
Located at the east entrance, Tower Grove Park dedicates a statue of Christopher Columbus in 1886.

Located at the east entrance, Tower Grove Park dedicates a statue of Christopher Columbus in 1886.

Located at the east entrance, Tower Grove Park dedicates a statue of Christopher Columbus in 1886.

Delaney Stulce, News and Features Editor

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Despite the fact that Columbus Day is celebrated on Oct 8, 2018, the second Monday in October is the actual day Christopher Columbus reached land in the Caribbean Islands on Oct 12, 1492.

Columbus believed he could find an easier passage to Asia, rather than make the long and dangerous trip around the continent of Africa.

After failed attempts to be granted money for his voyage from England and Portugal, Spanish royalty King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile agreed to help Columbus.

On Aug 3, 1942, Columbus’s three ships set sail from the coast of Spain.

Once he arrived in the Caribbean, believing to be in Indonesia, and soon realized he had discovered a new land.

From there on began multiple other voyages and soon the European conquering of the Americas.

Social studies teacher John Deken explained the impact of Columbus’s discovery.

For instance, he was involved in expanding long-distance ocean navigation, bringing European people to the Americas, stoking European interest in the people and natural resources of the Western Hemisphere, initiating a series of biological and cultural exchanges, conquering American populations, expanding slavery, spreading Christianity,  and calling American people Indians. If you want to celebrate some of those things, Columbus makes a convenient symbol, and if you want to signal your opposition, he’s a good symbol for that, too,” Deken said.

Although Columbus Day was created to celebrate the beginning of the United States, the celebration of Columbus has become highly controversial due to his treatment of native people and the way Europeans treated native people following colonization.

This debate has lead to the creation of Indigenous Peoples Day, a day to commemorate the history and culture of those native to the Americas, and is celebrated on the same day as Columbus Day.

“I’ve never been entirely sure why Columbus in particular makes sense in the limited universe of federal holidays. His linkage to the US government, which didn’t exist until 300 years after his landings, seems pretty tenuous to me, and his actions in power were rather the opposite of democratic values. I’d at least be interested in a clearer definition of what we’re celebrating, what the holiday is intended to represent,” Deken said. “Like most history teachers, I’m disappointed when I run into blind acceptance of historical heroes. But if the holiday helps encourage investigation or discussion of that crucial time period in human history, then I think it’s serving a valuable function.”

In St. Louis, controversy of the historic figure has caused protesting.

At one of the entrances of Tower Grove Park, a public park in St. Louis City, stands a statue of Columbus to commemorate his discovery.

On Monday Oct 8, 2018, Columbus Day 2018, people gathered around the statue, arguing from both angles why this statue should or should not be removed, according to KMOV.

Additional protests have been held at the statue in 2016 and 2017  resulting in some vandalization of the statue.

The Tower Grove Park Commission is currently deciding the future of the statue.

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About the Writer
Delaney Stulce, News and Features Editor

Delaney Stulce is a junior, and this is her third year on staff. She enjoys playing lacrosse, listening to music, reading and, of course, writing. Delaney can be contacted at dstulce037@rsdmo.org.

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On This Date In History: October 12