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Ibiza and Christopher Columbus

National Day of Spain is upon us and believe it or not, revolves around Christopher Columbus! What's the story...?

The National Day of Spain, also known as Dia de la Hispanidad (or Hispanic Day) will take place on Saturday 12th October.

This fiesta is held annually, and commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus first setting foot in the Americas in 1492.

Whilst most historians claim that Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, many other theories about his origins abound…not least of which is that the famous explorer was from our very own Ibiza! Whilst this has never been proven, studies have led researchers to believe that his mother-tongue was Catalan, as he spoke and wrote in such a style, using words typical to Catalan native speakers.

It has been argued that his real name was Colom, and not Colon (the Spanish form of Columbus) and that he was a member of the powerful Colom Jewish family of Ibiza, merchants who held the top political posts on the island, and were a branch of the Coloms of Catalonia.

As most residents and visitors to Ibiza will know, in the boulevard El Paseo de Ses Fonts stands a huge statue of an enormous egg…The Egg of Columbus (pictured above). This is in recognition of (one of many) apocryphal stories that, during a banquet thrown in Columbus's honour after his return from his voyages, some noblemen claimed that the discovery of the Americas was no big deal, and that anyone with the same equipment and ship's complement would have been able to do the very same thing.

Columbus challenged them to make an egg stand on its tip, unsupported and when no-one was able to do it, Columbus simply took the egg, tapped it on the table so as to flatten the tip and the egg stood without falling over. The moral being that once you have been shown how to do something, it is easy, whereas to discover something new without help or knowing the answer in advance is an altogether more difficult feat.

But, whether truth or myth, if you are on Ibiza on Saturday, or indeed anywhere else in Spain, then do enjoy this national holiday.

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