The Postal Service Celebrates Christopher Columbus

Postal Service, Christopher Columbus, Italian culture, Italian heritage, Italian american, Italian news, Italian traditions

The 500th Anniversary of Columbus' voyage of discovery stamp


Dear Readers,
When Christopher Columbus landed on the Caribbean island he later named San Salvador on October 12, 1492, a “New World” was discovered and the future history of the entire world was altered. “Grazie” to Signor M.A. and other long-time L’Italo-Americano Readers, who subscribed to Linn’s Stamp News and clipped stamp news with an Italian connection for me, I can now share them with you.
The United States Postal Service first honored Columbus with a stamp as early as 1869. They have issued 30 stamps in his honor since and pulled out all the stops in 1992, the 500th Anniversary of Columbus’ voyage of discovery. The U.S. Postal Service issued 4 commemorative stamps and arranged to have the Italian Postal Service issue the same 4 stamps in Italian for the Quincentennial Columbus New World of Discovery Celebration. The four commemorative stamps were also issued in Spain and Portugal. Unfortunately, the big 1992 Quincentennial celebration became sort of the “last hurrah” for Columbus and celebrations and honors in his name the target of slings, arrows and disruptions.


In 1492, Christopher Columbus made the first of his four voyages to the New World.
In 1892, as America awaited the World Columbian Exposition, the U.S. Post Office prepared its first commemorative-format stamps.
In 1992 the U.S. Postal Service released 4 new Columbus stamps i.e. First Voyage of Christopher Columbus, seeking Queen Isabella’s support. The First Voyage of Christopher Columbus crossing the Atlantic, First Voyage of Christopher Columbus Approaching Land and First Voyage of Christopher Columbus Coming Ashore. The U.S. Postal Service also released 6 mini souvenir sheets featuring the 1892 Columbian stamp designs printed from the plates made from the original designs engraved a century ago.
Christopher Columbus was born in 1451, in or near Genoa, Italy and died May 20, 1506, at the Castilian Court Palace, Valladolid, Spain.


In 1509 Christopher Columbus’ body was removed to Seville, Spain. His remains were shipped to Santo Domingo (now Dominican Republic) and entombed in the cathedral. Columbus was Italian but spent his adult life in the service of the Castile. However, he retained his Genoese citizenship.
Columbus’ father was a master weaver and kept a wine shop. Christopher was educated at home. He worked with his father. To collect supplies of wool and wine, he sailed down the coast. The trips became longer, and he signed on as a deckhand. On one voyage, a French pirate ship sunk the ship Columbus was on. Columbus landed penniless in Logos, Portugal. He made his way to Lisbon to be with other Genoese who lived in that city. He learned to read and write and studied all aspects of seamanship. With his knowledge of navigation and hydrography, he made several voyages, and prospered.
In 1479 he married Filipa Perestrello e Moniz and went to Madeira to live. Their son, Diego, was born in 1480.
In the early 1480’s, he made a voyage with the fleet of Diego d’Azambuja to the Gulf of Guinea. This voyage was the beginning of his urge for discovery. It took him eight years of supplication to acquire three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, and 90 men from Ferdinand and Isabella to prove his theory that the Earth was round. It was his correspondence with the Florentine physician and cosmographer Paolo Tosconelli that inspired him to search for Asia (Cathay) by sailing west.
   On his first voyage in 1492, he came to an island (probably Watling in the Bahamas). Bearing the royal standard of Castile, he took the island in the name of the king and queen, and named it San Salvador. He returned to Spain in the Nina. Three more voyages followed. Many of his people remained in the New World to colonize it. He never found his Cipango or Cathay. The landing of Columbus and his party was depicted on the 15-cent 1869 stamp.
Columbus is shown on the 1892 issues commemorating the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

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