Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue
He sailed & sailed & sailed & sailed
To find this land for me and you!

Do you remember this old grade school song?

Today we celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in America. The voyage took place in October 1492. Italian-Americans observe today as a celebration of their heritage.

Columbus was a navigator, colonizer, and explorer. His aspirations led to his awareness of the American continents. His exploring was funded by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Portugal after being rejected by Spain. They were willing to equip three ships to search for a western route to the Orient. They agreed to make Columbus "Great Admiral of the Ocean," appoint him governor of land discovered, and give him 1/10th of all revenues from the lands.

Although he wasn't the first to reach the Americas, he did initiate widespread contact between Europeans and the natives. He severely underestimated the circumference of the Earth. When he landed, he assumed he stepped on East-Asian soil. He referred to the natives as Indios.

Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy to a middle-class family. My husband's grandfather was born in 1892 and raised in San Fior, Treviso, Italy near Venice. His name: Ettore' Giovanni, means Hector John. He immigrated to Canada first before entering the U.S. He was married at age 23 in a Catholic church in Fernie, B.C. He founded a town in British Columbia: Natal, which means birth in Italian. He traveled to Great Falls, Montana by caboose. Eventually, he made his way to Puyallup, WA in 1925. He loved to sing opera in his "Caruso" voice. He raised grapes and was an excellent pruner and grafter of fruit trees, a skill he learned from the "Old Country." He built a home on a 5-acre farm in Edgewood that was custom fitted to their stature.

With the surname "Perozzo," our family is proud of its Italian inheritance!

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