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New Jerseyans Discover Columbus – Insider NJ

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Christopher Columbus, with the title Admiral of the Ocean Sea, is considered a Genoese, and the tradition holds up despite relatively little reliable biographical information about the most famous explorer in history. Every schoolchild knows – or should know – that Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain financed Columbus’ trips to discover a trade route to India and that he came to America in reverse. Columbus misjudged the size of the earth and, perhaps stubbornly refusing to believe that “India” he found was not like the “India” he was supposed to find, went to the grave because he believed he was indeed going to find it Asia to have come.

Since that time, Columbus has represented a number of things depending on your perspective. It stands for the triumphant spirit of discovery and the courage to face danger and open a new hemisphere for contact with another. For others, his arrival represents the decimation of the native population, their culture and way of life, as the Spanish presence quickly led to the arrival of conquistadors such as Hernan Cortez, Francisco Pizarro, Juan de Onate and others. The transatlantic African slave trade began and the Native American population was displaced, assimilated and killed, either through war, disease, poverty, or a combination of all of the above.

It was half a millennium ago now, but the famous seafarer continues to make waves in the 21st century. And just as Columbus missed the Orient, the Passaic County Republicans missed the point after sending out a mailer trying to get attention by fomenting the culture war.

A Passaic County source and staunch Trump Republican admitted he had no idea who substitute candidate Aisha Mamkej and Commissioner (formerly freeholder) candidates William Marsala, Nicolino Gallo and Aileen Rivera are, and blamed Chairman Peter Murphy not to be supported candidates who are better known.

However, harassing the chairman can be an unfair accusation when the Passaic County Democrats, led by former state chairman John Currie, have been in control for years. Where can a Republican trying to sprout get the sunlight when the canopy of canopy has been dominated by Democrats?

This is what the Republicans tried to indict him in their mailer which read, “It is time for a review and weighing of one-party control.” And so they cited an article from NJ 101.5, which in turn was derived from a Paterson Press article by Joe Malinconico in July when he reported that the Paterson School Board included “Columbus Day” in “Italian Heritage Day / Indigenous Peoples Day” have changed.

The slate blew up the “politically correct demolition culture” and vowed to cut taxes, reduce crime and “bring healthy people together to make our county a better place”.

The county doesn’t determine what the Paterson Schools call their vacation. Candidates, however, tap into the identity politics sensibilities normally associated with the left. In Randolph, Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack covered the chaotic events that unfolded after the school board changed Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day without notice. This provoked a firestorm of blood and earth, and then in a poorly thought out knee-jerk reaction the board erased the names of all the holidays and then reversed course again and changed the school calendar as previously restored with Columbus Day.

Statues of Columbus have been dismantled across the state, particularly in cities like Trenton and Newark, where re-evaluations of the explorer mean he is no longer welcome. For others, however, it is the erasure of history, an act that says these cities are ashamed not only of Columbus but of “America” ​​itself (especially the United States). In addition, the removal of Columbus has been viewed by some as an attack on Italian-American identity.

The irony, however, is that by the end of the 19th century, with the arrival of many Italian immigrants, Christopher Columbus was largely lost in American consciousness. After all, Columbus was not one of them before for the predominantly Anglo-Saxon Americans. He did not land in the USA, but came to the Bahamian island of Guanahani. He named the island San Salvador after surviving a dangerous and harrowing journey through unknown waters on three tiny ships. He made four trips to the New World, sailing the Caribbean, Cuba, and Central America, but never made it to the continental United States. This was “Asia,” if an inconveniently non-Asian Asia. He was also a Roman Catholic and drove the expansion of “Popery”. Of the original thirteen colonies, only Maryland was considered a particularly safe place to be openly Catholic.

When Italian-Americans settled in the United States, mainly in the NY / NJ area, they were discriminated against and abused by nativists, as were Irish and Jewish immigrants. To better assert their Americanity, Italians and Italian-Americans gathered around Columbus, the Genoese explorer. The connection was clear – without Italians there would be no United States as we know it.

The choice of Columbus in particular is less important, aside from the fact that he was the first in the Age of Discovery. Other Italian explorers like the Venetian Giovanni Caboto (who sailed to England in 1497), the Florentine Amerigo Vespucci (who sailed to Spain in 1499) and the Florentine Giovanni da Verrazzano (who sailed to France in 1523) all knew they were in a previously unknown place land arrived. Even so, Columbus was the first, but did not have the greatest name. The nation of Colombia is named after Christopher, but “the Americas” are named after Signor Vespucci.

In 2021, President Biden officially proclaimed Indigenous Peoples Day and Indigenous Peoples Day on October 11 at the federal level. This is the first time Indigenous Peoples Day has been proclaimed from DC and in particular does not replace Indigenous Peoples Day. Biden has appealed to both of them and neither belittled them.

As a nation, we also ignore Leif Erikson, whose own public holiday – Leif Erikson Day – passed without notice on October 9th in the year 1000. But the Viking settlements in “Vinland” did not last long and were largely forgotten. You won’t see longships on election letters lamenting the lack of attention to America’s Norwegian-Icelandic population, at least not in the Garden State.

When Columbus came to America, the Europeans were here to stay. And so it seems, the debate about the legacy of man and the appropriate place in the public eye.

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