The story of Christopher Columbus’ life and discoveries are sadly misrepresented in modern books. It’s even popular to trash his name around Columbus Day each year. But his life, his desires, and his accomplishments (and even his shortcomings) are well-documented in his own journals and those of the men who sailed with him.
This week’s edition of What to Read Wednesday is all about explorers. The focus of this post is not just Christopher Columbus, but the truth about this man.
Christopher means “Christ-bearer.” It was not just the name his parents gave him; it became his mission. With hindsight, we have the advantage of understanding the world Columbus grew up in, the politics of the time, and the desire to find new worlds, new trade routes, and new riches. Columbus desired all of these things; he was a product of his time. But just as important was his desire to spread the Christian faith around the world.
There’s a lot more to his story than modern history books tell us. Thankfully, firsthand accounts from the 15th century give us clearer insight into his story. This book, Columbus & Cortez, Conquerors for Christ (The Controversy, The Conquest, The Mission, The Vision) by John Eidsmoe, does a great job of highlighting Columbus’ own writings from his journals, his letters, and the writings of those who knew him. It does not pretend that Columbus was a saint; it does, however, explore his motives and his shortcomings, as well as the turning point in his career as Admiral of the Ocean Sea. I highly recommend this book for highschool reading as part of a world history and/or American history curriculum. We teach both simultaneously (you can read about it here). It’s also a great book for adults who feel like they didn’t learn much about history, or forgot everything they learned.
For younger children, I also love this chapter book of Columbus’ life in the (excellent) Sower Series. It’s perfect for older elementary to high schoolers to read on their own, or for mom to read aloud to younger children. I like to read these aloud to all of my students together in our read-aloud time. You can read my review of another book in this series, Francis Scott Key, here.
Did you know you can even read Columbus’ journals for yourself? They’re available on Amazon. So you see, there is simply no excuse for misinterpreting the life and motives of Columbus today. He was not a greedy murderer, as you will probably read in many online articles; he was a man who felt led by God and appointed by his King and Queen to navigate the ocean for a new trade route and and the advancement of the Gospel.
Columbus’ story is not good or bad; it’s history. Whether a great man eventually succumbed to temptation is not the issue when studying the great events of the world. Facts are what they are, and they should be read, remembered, and taught to our children. I hope you will check out these books and include them as part of your history reading!
The most popular post from last week was:
And now for the link up!
Our hosts will still share a themed selection of our favorite books each week.
If you’d like to join us as a co-host for What to Read Wednesday, please contact Anne.
This list has our book themes, but you don’t have to stick to that to link up–any family-friendly posts are welcome. So, come on! Join in the fun!
If you’d like to link back to What to Read Wednesday, here is a pretty button for you!
Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML
Hi! I’m Nicki! Welcome to my blog! I live in Texas with my husband and five children, and a wild assortment of dog, cats, chickens, and ducks. I’m a second-generation homeschooler, a book lover, and history enthusiast. I gush about all of these things on this blog, and I hope to share the love with you! Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Join my subscriber list for access to my FREE Download Library: