Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Five Hundred and Twenty One Years Ago This Month

Discovery Day!

Five hundred and twenty one years ago, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World.  On October 12, 1492, the Italian explorer first set foot on North American land.  It was somewhere east of Florida.

Where Did the Pinta, the Nina, and the Santa Maria actually make landfall?

Grahams Harbour, San Salvador Island, Bahamas, public domain

While there's disagreement as to which of the many islands in what is now the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was the actual point of landfall, San Salvador Island seems likely.  Other possibilities are Samana Cay or Plana Cays.   The folks who lived there at the time called their island Guanahani, but exactly which present day island that is has been lost to history.  Columbus called the place San Salvador, and present day San Salvador island residents like that just fine.

On San Salvador island, they hold a five day celebration, called the Discovery Day Festival Homecoming & Regatta, which begins this year on October 8, and culminates on the 12th.  According to the Bahamas.com website, highlights of the festival are "cultural performances, gospel concerts, live performances by local and visiting artists, and culminates in a sailboat regatta with Bahamian sailing sloops."
If you're cruising to Nassau in The Bahamas this October, be aware that banks, government offices, schools, and many shops are closed on Discovery Day.  If October 12 happens to be on a weekend as it is this year, those closings will be on the following Monday, which means Oct. 14 in 2013.  

But, don't despair . . . You may find yourself in downtown Nassau at Rawson Square when the ceremony takes place that names the Bahamian Heroes of the year.

Somehow, I don't think many eateries and drinking establishments would consider closing for the holiday, so you shouldn't go hungry or thirsty, either!  So, should you find yourself in The Bahamas this Columbus Day - or Discovery Day, as it's known there - enjoy!

Related page:  Discover the Beauty of The Bahamas