October 12: meaning of the Day of the Discovery of America
On October 12, the meeting between the European world and the plurality of the aboriginal cultures of the current American continent is commemorated, which took place in the year 1492, when Christopher Columbus arrived on the shores of America.
Until then, Europe and America were mutually unaware of the other's existence. In fact, the Genoese navigator, when plotting his route to India, thought that he would reach the western coast of the Asian subcontinent, and that is why he baptized these lands as the West Indies. Never, in life, did he learn that the place he had arrived at was actually an immense continent, which only time later was mapped by Americo Vespucci.
The celebration of October 12 was born with the idea of commemorating the meeting and fusion between different cultures, ways of speaking and understanding each other, of seeing and imagining the world, which occurred between the American Indians, aboriginal inhabitants of the continent, and Europeans. This day marks the birth of a new identity and cultural heritage, a product of the colony.
See also Cologne.
The name that has been most used historically (although today many countries do not use it) was the initial "Columbus Day". It was used for the first time in 1914.
This celebration was created in its beginnings by the former Spanish minister Faustino Rodríguez-San Pedro, who in the end was the president of the Ibero-American Union.
However, each country, depending on its social, political and historical processes, has adapted the reading and interpretation of the actual historical fact of the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the European man to the American continent according to their conception of history.
Thus, in some countries, October 12 is considered a public holiday, despite the fact that critics maintain that on this day there is nothing to celebrate, as it marked the beginning of the genocide, destruction, humiliation and looting of America from Europe.
See also Conquest.
For advocates of celebrating October 12, however, the past cannot be adequately valued if it is not understood. For this reason, they consider that October 12, regardless of what happened next, constitutes a milestone in the history of humanity and should be commemorated to remember where we come from.
October 12 is celebrated in Latin American countries, but also in the United States and Spain. Depending on the country, this celebration receives different names. Namely: