Día del Hispanidad


Today is another Bank Holiday in Spain – Día del Hispanidad or Columbus Day.




Firstly, Columbus was not Spanish – he was an Italian born in Genoa.


Secondly, he is credited with discovering America so we can blame him for the proliferation of fast food outlets like McDonalds.


Thirdly, most of the time he did not know where he was – he thought he was in the Orient when, in fact, he was in Central America.


Seriously, though, Christopher Columbus was a famous explorer who, convinced that the World was round when most thought it was flat, persuaded Ferdinand and Isabella to sponsor him on his voyages to the New World. Of course, he did not know it was the New World at the time – he thought that travelling in a westerly direction he would arrive in India. He did not bargain for the small matter that the continental masses of the Americas were in the way!


He set sail on his first voyage on 3 August 1492 in the Santa María. On 12 October he reached San Salvador island in the Bahamas – hence the celebration date. On further trips he discovered Dominica, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad and the east coast of Central America including Honduras and Panama.


Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451.


He spent several years as a mariner in the Portuguese marine. However, he yearned for more status and wished to accumulate riches for his family. He also believed that China and India could be reached by sailing in a westerly direction. Columbus sought sponsorship for his aims and, after a number of rejections, he finally obtained royal support from Spain – King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella agreed to bankroll his first voyage in January 1492.


He made four voyages and we know now that he did not reach India but, instead, discovered America – or part of it! It is widely believed that he was the first European to sail across the Atlantic Ocean and to set foot on the American continent.


He discovered most of the islands of the Caribbean as well as countries in Central America including Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Venezuela. He established a base in Hispaniola – an island now divided into Haiti and the Dominican Republic.


Christopher Columbus died in 1506 at Valladolid but his bones were taken to Hispaniola – to the Cathedral of Santo Domingo that is now in the Dominican Republic.


Robert Bovington
Oct 12 2009




About Robert Bovington

Robert Bovington is an English writer of travel books. These include “Spanish Matters” and “Spanish Impressions” Robert Bovington was born in Brighton, East Sussex, the son of Leonard and Audrey Bovington. He is the first-born and has eight siblings – six brothers and two sisters. Having worked for many years in both the telecommunications industry and the teaching profession, Robert wanted to take on new challenges. He and Diane decided to relocate to Spain and, in 2003, the couple moved to Roquetas de Mar in sunny Andalucía. However, lazing on the beach was not Robert's idea of fun - he wanted to explore his new homeland. It didn't stop there! He was so impressed with Spain, its countryside, its historic cities and its culture that it inspired him to write about his experiences. Robert Bovington has been married to Diane for over thirty years. They have no children. However, Robert’s short marriage to Helene resulted in twin daughters Carole and Sheila. The author is also a grandfather and great grandfather. Robert met Diane when both belonged to the Crescent Operatic Society. Music is one of the author’s great passions. At primary school he sang in a choir in a concert of Bach and Handel. Another of his interests is football and for many years he supported Brighton & Hove Albion home and away. His favourite premiership team is Arsenal. Other interests include information technology, writing and ten-pin bowling.
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