In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Remember learning that in school? As children we were taught the basics about Christopher Columbus’ epic journey to discover the New World. Fast-forward 524 years and here at Acrolinx, we’re going to attempt to round out that education with some interesting facts that you might not know about Columbus, or his perilous journey.

  1. Along with his brother Bartolomeo, Columbus operated a little mapmaking and bookselling shop while he lived in Portugal. If for no other reason, this is noteworthy because it suggests Columbus dug content as much as we do. (Source)
  2. Before becoming a famous admiral and governor of the New World, Columbus was a pirate, or privateer, who helped attack Moorish merchant trips. (Source)
  3. Contrary to popular belief, most educated Europeans in Columbus’ day understood that the world was round, but they didn’t yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed. (Source)
  4. The map that Columbus is believed to have used to guide him as he planned his voyage currently resides at Yale University. It’s four feet tall and six-and-a-half feet wide and was created by the German cartographer Henricus Martellus. (Source)
  5. Columbus made four different trips to the New World, visiting in 1492, 1493, 1498, and 1502. (Source)
  6. Those ships you’ve learned to identify as the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria were actually called Santa Clara, Pinta, and La Gallega. (Source)
  7. Santa Maria was one of nine ships sunk under Columbus’ management. (Source)
  8. Columbus never set foot on mainland North America. (Source)
  9. Columbus most likely wasn’t the first European to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, that distinction goes to the Norse Viking Leif Eriksson, who is believed to have landed in present-day Newfoundland around 1000 A.D. (Source)
  10. Near the end of his life, Columbus wrote a book (see, he was a content guy) called Book of Privileges that listed all the promises the Spanish crown had made to him over the years and the ways the crown hadn’t honored those promises. (Source)
  11. No painter ever captured Columbus on canvas. Paintings depicting Columbus are works of fiction. (Source)
  12. Columbus Day became a US national holiday in 1937. It was originally observed on October 12, but in 1971 the date was moved to be the second Monday in October. (Source)

We’re sharing these facts with you to honor a very important, if somewhat controversial, man who forever changed the world. As a content professional, no matter whether you have the day off or are hard at work, in our view it’s worth taking a step back and trying to apply a few lessons from Christopher Columbus’ life to your work. Those lessons include:

  • Don’t be afraid to chart your own course. You’ve got to take risks and head in new directions. It may not always work out, but it’s only by taking risks that you get any rewards. Columbus saw opportunities where others didn’t and pursuing those opportunities paid off.
  • Trust yourself. On his maiden voyage to the New World, Columbus’ crew threatened to mutiny, turn the ship around, and return to Europe. Rather than give into the pressure, Columbus believed in himself and forged ahead. It’s the same in life. Believe in yourself and trust your instincts.
  • Never give up. Nine different ships sunk under Columbus’ command. While that’s definitely tragic, you have to admire the guy’s tenacity and perseverance. Those are two qualities that content professionals always need to have. Winning the content game is a marathon and not a sprint, and you’ve got to make sure that you always keep at it.

We hope you enjoyed our Columbus Day post. Keep up the hard work creating amazing content, and we’ll try to do the same.