A replica of the Santa María, Columbus’ flagsh...

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I post this just after midnight of Columbus Day: a U.S. national holiday since 1934 (read this year’s Presidential Proclamation here). In recent years, the holiday has become a quiet one; it is not easy to find much positive web chatter about Christopher Columbus himself – though notably, some do mark Columbus Day as a celebration of Italian heritage.

While recognizing and respecting the controversy over the man and the holiday, I thought I would set out for some scholarly web sources on Columbus and related history. After all, every holiday is an opportunity for learning; and below, you can learn a little about maritime navigation and the famous ships, listen to a historian’s interview, watch relevant videos, and read about the voyage in Columbus’ own words.

Learn about Columbus Day on the Library of Congress’ American Memory site.

The History Channel’s pages on Columbus include videos and a series of articles.

“Think You Know The Real Christopher Columbus?” from National Public Radio: an interview with historian William Fowler of Northeastern University, hosted by Tony Cox. Listen to the audio or read the transcript.

Here you can read The Columbus 1493 Letter about his voyage: “a key document in the social and intellectual histories of both Europe and the Americas” and a best seller, at the time, in Europe. From The Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education at the University of Southern Maine.

Click “1400” in the yellow box to find several Columbus documents, including excerpts from his voyaging journal. From AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History, WWW Virtual Library.

Learn some basic information at “1492: An Ongoing Voyage,” an online exhibit originating from the Library of Congress and now housed at Ibiblio.org (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill).

“The Columbus Navigation Homepage: Examining the History, Navigation, and Landfall of Christopher Columbus.” From historian Keith A. Pickering.