by Linda Stewart, 8 October 2019
Columbus Day is a national holiday which officially celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas on 12 October 1492. His first voyage to the New World on the Spanish ships Santa María, Niña, and La Pinta took approximately three months. The Santa Maria, the largest of Columbus’s vessels and his flagship, measured around 70′ in length. The Nina was thought to be about 45′ in length, and La Pinta was about 65′ in length. All three ships totaled about 180′ in length. To give you a visual of how small these ships were, a football field is 300 feet in length.
Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain: in 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502. He was searching for a direct water route west from Europe to Asia, but never found it. Though he did not really “discover” the New World – as people already lived there – his journeys marked the beginning of centuries of transatlantic conquest and colonization.
Like most topics these days, there is controversy regarding Christopher Columbus. But if it wasn’t Columbus, it would have been another sea Captain with an adventurous spirit to embark on the unknown to “discover” the New World. So I thank Christopher Columbus and his three crews. Many of us would not have stepped out in faith in the unknown as they did.
In August 1682, 190 years after Columbus’ ocean adventure, Thomas Paschall, his wife Joanna and their children, also followed suit with their own ocean adventure. They embarked for America on one of William Penn’s ships “The Society” of Bristol. If your ancestors arrived in North America 200 to 300 years ago, they all came by ship. What stories they could tell!