Discussion Topics for Columbus Day
- What did Columbus hope to discover on his
first voyage? Did he succeed? Was he successful? (What is success?) Why or
- In his adult life, Columbus said he was motivated to explore by Marco Polo's accounts, which he read as a child. What books have you read which have inspired or motivated you?
Why did Columbus have so much trouble finding
someone who would help pay for his voyage? How did most people react to his
plans? Why do you think Isabella and Ferdinand finally agreed to sponsor
During Columbus' day, many people still believed that the earth was flat. Some sailors thought that if they sailed too far from shore they would literally sail off the edge of the world. Yet Columbus found 90 men willing to make that first voyage with him. Why do you think these men were willing to take such a risk? Why do you think Columbus wanted to sail into the unknown?
If you had lived during Columbus' day, would
you have wanted to make that first voyage with him? Why or why not?
Columbus and his men spent more than two months traveling unknown seas before they finally reached land. What thoughts might have gone through their minds during the journey? What fears might they have encountered? How do you think they felt when they finally saw land?
- Columbus has been credited with the discovery
of the New World. How might history have differed if he hadn't made this
discovery? (Would history have been any different? Do you think it
was just a matter of time until some discovered America, or could the continent
have gone undiscovered for centuries longer?)
- When Columbus found the New World, it was hardly "lost" territory. In fact, an estimated 100 million people inhabited the two American continents. In light of this, some have argued that Columbus's "discovery" was not really a discovery. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Do you think the discovery and eventual settlement
of North and South America were primarily good or primarily bad? Why?
Columbus dreamed of sailing west to reach the
east. What dreams do you have?
Columbus spent years trying to achieve his
dreams? What are you doing to help you achieve your dreams? What else could
you be doing?
Today some people refuse to celebrate Columbus
Day because of the injustices European settlers inflicted on indigenous peoples.
Do you think the holiday should be celebrated? Why or why
With the controversy over Columbus Day, the
holiday has been given a number of titles in recent years. Some have chosen
to honor it as Native American Day or Indigenous Peoples Day. Others have
celebrated it as Discovers Day, Explorers Day, Italian-American Day, and
Immigrants Day. In your opinion, what does this day celebrate?
Have an idea you want to
E-mail it to
Return to Celebrating Columbus Day at The Holiday
Return to The