MYTH: Columbus discovered the world was round, discovered America, and lived in harmony with the indians.
The ancient Greeks knew the Earth wasn’t flat 2000 years before Columbus was even born. The theory was actually birthed by Pythagoras in the 16th century, B.C. long before he came up with his famous theory. The theory was actually proved by Ptolemy in the 2nd century A.D. Before Columbus even thought about sailing to “The New World” he had been studying with maps depicting a round Earth. And the idea that he could not get support for his journey because people thought he would simply fall off the edge is just silly. He couldn’t get funding or support because people thought it was ridiculous to reach the Orient by sailing west.
And Columbus never actually set foot in North America. The closest he ever got was some of the Carribean Islands and South America. The island he “discovered” was actually already inhabited so technically he just sailed out for the orient and found people living somewhere else. That’s pretty much it. And even Columbus did not want to take credit for discovering a brand new continent; he thought he had reached India. Which is why he called the Natives Indians. So he sailed out for the Orient, found some islands with people on it and died thinking he was in India. Not an amazing guy, really. He also was not a nice guy either, despite some belief that he made friends with the people he “discovered.” He made them grovel at his feet and reward him and his men with gifts of gold. Those that refused to worship him had their hands cut off. And after only 2 years he managed to kill off half of Haiti’s 250,000 inhabitants. Columbus was misguided, a shitty navigator, a murderer, a thief and a rapist and we have a holiday commemorating him. I guess it fits, being the country we are.
UPDATE: I was asked by a friend whether it is in fact a myth that Columbus called the Indians “Indians” because he thought he was in India, or if it came from the phrase “in Dios” (with god). Well the “in Dios” phrase actually turns out to be the myth and I was exactly right. You can read all about it here if you disagree with me.