In my continuing series inspired by Scientific American, titled 'Things We Know to Be True', I bring you today's topic, 'Christopher Columbus Did NOT Discover Earth is Round'. There's this very common misconception that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and in doing so discovered Earth was round and not flat as the misconception states people believed. I spoke briefly on this in a post a couple of days ago, so I'll make this simple. Columbus did NOT discover Earth is round. It was common knowledge at this time that Earth was round and not flat. Columbus certainly knew this. Aristotle, 2400 years ago, based on the shape of lunar eclipse shadows, knew the Earth was round. Scientists before the time of Aristotle probably knew Earth was round as well.
So what did Columbus do that made him famous? Well, not all that much to be honest. For starters, he was a horrible navigator. He wasn't looking for what we now call North America or South America. He was charting a waterway path to India and failed miserably! On top of that he brought disease to the natives already living in the Americas. He also enslaved natives, forced them to accept Christianity, and killed many. Columbus didn't even discover America as he is often giving credit for! That honor goes to Leif Eriksson 500 years earlier!!!
Each year, in October, we celebrate Columbus Day in the United States. What are we celebrating? Not the discoverer of America, that's for sure! We basically celebrate a lie and use it as an excuse to teach kids in school that Columbus discovered America and a round Earth. Sigh. Here's a good source if you're looking for more on Christopher Columbus.
Think You Know The Real Christopher Columbus?