7 Columbus Day Quotes That Will Make You Think About This Controversial Holiday

Columbus Day is not the easiest day to celebrate when you truly acknowledge the horrendous history of how Native Americans were mistreated and pushed out of their own land when the Americas were first being colonized. Rounded up below are Columbus Day quotes that focus on the explorative spirit of Christopher Columbus, but also recognize the suffering that was inflicted on the indigenous people of the Americas. It's important to realize that U.S. history is not always as pretty (or true) as it deems itself to be, and while I don't want to be a total Debby Downer on Columbus Day this year, I do think it's necessary to acknowledge what mistakes were made in the past so that we might have a chance at healing those wounds and never making the same mistakes again.

So what am I really trying to say? It's wonderful to have a spirit of bravery, adventure, and unlimited potential, so long as you're not harming other human beings on your path to discovery. This Columbus Day, remember Christopher Columbus for his discovery, but also remember who had discovered the Americas first and called it their home before any explorer ever stepped foot on it.

1. "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

2. "He stands in history as the completer of the globe." — John Sterling

3. "Every ship that comes to America got its chart from Columbus." — Ralph Waldo Emerson


4. "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." — John A. Shedd

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

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


7. "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

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