Tuesday, October 09, 2007
While some communities prefer to celebrate this week with racist themes (whether Dia de la Raza or Native American Day), it properly is held in memory of Christophy Columbus, the Admiral of the Seas and the greatest explorer of all time. (Though a good argument can be made that it should be Ferdinand & Isabella Day, in commemoration of the granting agency.)
The success of Columbus is the success of markets and globalization. As the Mamaluke and Ottoman Sultans accelerated the decline of Islam by blockading the Silk Road connecting the Occident to the Orient, the Iberian monarchies attempted to find a new, oceanic route to the largest economies of the world. (Venice's failed strategy of negotiating via arms with the Turks to reopen the silk road ultimately becoming moot.) Christopher Columbus, granted three ships (the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria) eventually discovered the new world, though the hoped for landings in Calcutta, Nanjing, or Kyoto were not to be.
Others had crossed the oceans before. Those ex-Siberians we now call "American Indians" first of all, of course, and later Polynesians who brought chickens and endtrail readings too. The Vikings landed, fought, and died, the Basque were cathcing a lot of cod from somewhere, and there are the theories about Admiral Zheng He...
But Columbus, uniquely,ended the civilizational apartheid which had separated the Americas from the Old World since the end of the stone age migrations. Because of Columbus, and of course Ferdinand and Isabelle, the world changed. The barbarous empire of the Aztecs would soon fall, and even more importantly the English would follow in time, exporting the common law to the United States and Canada.
Thank you, Christopher Columbus.