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Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Quiz -- Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Christopher Columbus -- hero or villain? Columbus Day -- reason for celebration or better ignored as an affront to Indigenous Peoples? I think the recent uproar about Columbus and the holiday is much ado about something long past that should be explained on two levels.

First of all, Columbus sailed the Atlantic for the love of exploration and because he wanted access to wealth and fame. In doing so, he became an important figure who reshaped our world, the languages we speak, the religions we follow, and the foods we eat.

Secondly, the voyages of Columbus contributed to the spread of deadly diseases across the North American continents. He didn't know that his voyage would spread these diseases, but that's one of the real tragedies of the story of Columbus. The complex indigenous societies of the Americas were decimated by exposure to Old World diseases and began crumbling under the weight of the epidemics.

So, today, 16 states, including Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon, don't recognize Columbus Day as a public holiday. Some of these states celebrate the thriving cultures and values of Indigenous Peoples in their areas instead.

I would prefer history allowed children to study the truth about Columbus -- the good and bad -- and do so in order that students can decide about the man and his times. I think very few know much about the facts, anyway.

Therefore, today I offer a Columbus Quiz to test your knowledge. Get out a piece of paper and number 1-20 to record your answers. Let's see just what we are talking about when we  speak of Christopher Columbus.

Columbus Quiz

1. ___ In what country was Christopher Columbus born?

a. Italy
b. France
c. Portugal
d. England

2. ___ The name Christopher Columbus is Anglicized. His real name was most likely

a. Kristen Colonis
b. Christobal Luzeni
c. Cristoforo Colombo
d. Rodrigo Brustall.

3. ___ The royal family that financed Columbus's voyage ruled
a. France
b. Antilles
c. Spain
d. Italy 

4. ___ The names of this royal couple were

a. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella
b. King Charles IX and Queen Mary of Scots
c. King Juan and Queen Isabel
d. King Felipe IV and Queen Santa Rosa

5. ___ The King and Queen promised Columbus the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, governor of all the lands he could claim, and what percentage of all new revenues from the explorations he discovered?

a. 10%
b. 20%
c. 40%
d. 60%

6. ___ Christopher Columbus was not the first person to dispute the belief that the world was flat. This honor rightfully belongs to the scholar

a. Euclid
b. Michelangelo
c. Aristotle
d. Tao Yuanming

7. ___   Many historians say it was not Christopher Columbus's idea to sail across the Atlantic. The credit for this idea belongs to map maker

a. his brother, Bartholomew
b. his father, Manual
c. a friend who was a monk named Peter Borgess
d. his mother, Adrianna 

8. ___ The purpose of the voyage by Columbus was to 

a. discover North America
b. reach the Brazilian coast
c. find riches in Newfoundland
d. discover a new passage to Asia and the court of the Great Khan

9. ___ The first voyage began. On the evening of August 3, 1492, Columbus departed from Palos de la Frontera with three ships: two small caravels named the Nina and the Pinta, and a larger carrack named

a. the Bella Fontaine
b. the Santa Maria
c. the Bellaza Liona
d. the Tinta

10. ___ It is likely Columbus goes ashore in the New World for the first time on

a. San Salvador, Bahamas
b. St. Augustine, Florida
c. Plymouth, Massachusetts
d. Guadeloupe, Antilles 

11. ___ The voyage of 1492 lasted approximately how long before Columbus made landfall in the New World?

a. one year
b. six months
c. four months
d. two months 

12. ___ Many historians now believe Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas having been preceded by 

a.  Juan Ponce de León in Puerto Rico
b.  Hernando de Soto in Pensicola
c.  Leif Ericson in Newfoundland
d. Captain John Smith in Maine

13. ___ Christopher Columbus's discovery in 1492 initiated what colonization of the New World?

a. Spanish
b. French
c. British
d. Portuguese

14. ___ The native people who Columbus found in the New World called their land Guahanal. The people there were  

a. the Incas
b. the Mayans
c. the Arawak
d. the Aztec

15. ___ Before Columbus returned to Europe after the 1492 voyage, one of the ships grounded and he left 39 men in a settlement called Villa de la Navidad (“Christmas Town”) on Hispaniola. After his triumphant return, the second voyage to the New World departed on September 25, 1493, and was of a much larger scale --17 ships and about 1,200 colonists accompanied Columbus. What did the second voyage discover about la Navidad?

a. the entire population had been massacred
b. the Europeans had inter-married with the natives
c. the inhabitants moved and left word of their departure
d. the new villa was thriving

16. ___ Columbus decided that the natives themselves could be a valuable resource. He brought several of them back after his first voyage and some 500 slaves from all his voyages. The European Queen ruled

a. any people Columbus “discovered” were subjects of her sovereign state who could not be enslaved
b. slave galleons be dispatched to find as many natives as possible
c. the slaves be executed as savages
d. the slaves were to be auctioned to the nobility

17. ___ In all, how many voyages did Christopher Columbus take to the New World?

a. one
b. two
c. three
d. four

18. ___ Although Columbus was a fine explorer, he became a tyrannical governor in the New World. He and his brothers ruled their settlement like kings, taking most of the profits for themselves and antagonizing the other settlers. What eventually happened to Columbus?

a. he was killed in a native attack on the new settlement
b. he lost his life in a duel to a shipmate
c. he was drowned and presumed murdered
d. he was arrested and sent back to Europe in chains

19. ___ Columbus later wrote a book in which he considered his achievements as an explorer

a. wasted time and money for all his efforts
b. a fulfillment of Bible prophecy
c. the smallest endeavor in history
d. genocide 

20. ___ According to historians, who was the first man who actually spotted the land of the New World, and who may be called the "discover" of the new land?

a. deckhand named Alberto Angelo Vericello
b. first mate of the Nina, Alfonso Anatola
c. captain of the Pinta, Martin Alonzo Pinon
d. Christopher Columbus himself


 Columbus Family Shield


1. A    2. C    3. C    4. A    5. B   
6. C    7. A    8. D    9. B    10. A
11. D    12. C   13. A   14. C   15. A
16. A    17. D   18. D   19. B   20. C

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