In Fourteen Hundred Ninety Two Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue. It is the beginning of one of the most famous phrases in America. It celebrates the arrival of Columbus in America, and the general opening of The Americas to a resurgent European society.

Europe had spent centuries rebuilding after the fall of the Roman Empire. They had weathered the Islamic Invasions that nearly wiped out Western and Southern Europe, and survived the Mongol Invasion that left Eastern Europe in ruins. They’d rebuilt after the Black Death killed as many as half the European population and nearly dropped us into another Dark Age.

Europe was ready to see the world for the first time in centuries, and the Age of Exploration was upon us. And so Columbus sailed to parts unknown on prevailing winds he believed would take him to Asia with the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Instead he found what we would later called The Americas after the explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Why? Might as well ask the Turks why they renamed Constantinople. I guess somebody liked it better that way. But streets, cities, counties, states, and even nations would be named for Columbus in the centuries that followed.

It was the Age of Discovery that spread Western Culture all over the world and changed everything. It was the foundations of the world we built and live in now. Western Civilization as we know it would not exist without the Age of Discovery, and Columbus is the emotional touchstone of that legacy in The Americas. Europeans would follow him in the hundreds, thousands, ten of thousands, and later millions. We would build a New World here in the name of the man who heralded it all in Fourteen Hundred Ninety Two.

Christopher Columbus