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In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. There’s more to this poem. Do your kids know it?

Posted on: Monday, October 1st, 2012

“Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492…” and I like so many other people (way back when) still have that committed to memory.  Next Monday October 8th is our national holiday celebrating Columbus Day.  This October I decided to do a little research and found the rest of the poem.


  In fourteen hundred ninety-two;
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
  He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
  He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.
  A compass also helped him know;
How to find the way to go.
  Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.
  Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.
  Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.
  October 12 their dream came true;
You never saw a happier crew!
  “Indians!  Indians!” Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.
  But “India” the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.
  The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.
  Columbus sailed on to find some gold;
To bring back home, as he’d been told.
  He made the trip again and again;
Trading gold to bring to Spain.
  The first American?  No, not quite;
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.

Share the poem with your kids and then share the actual events listed below.  Encourage the kids to participate in a short geography lesson and trace the actual route.  Another opportunity for a research project is to try and figure out who wrote the poem.  If your research is successful – PLEASE pass it on to READS.  We want to know!!

Aug 3, 1492 The Niña, Pinta and the Santa Maria sail from Palos, Spain.
Aug 12 The ships reach theCanary Islandsand stay there until Sept 6.
Sept 9 Sailing westward, the ships loose sight of land at nightfall.
Sept 30 Ships complete 3 weeks travel with no sight of land.  This is the longest journey made with no sight of land.
Oct 7 A mistaken shout of “Land Ho” brings great disappointment.
Oct 10 Sailors are on the point of mutiny, but agree to sail on for 2 or 3 more days.
Oct 12 ColumbusdiscoversAmericawhen land is sighted.  He goes ashore onSan Salvador(Watlings Island) in the Bahamas.
Dec 24 Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria is wrecked off Cap Haïtien.
Jan 16, 1493 The Niña and Pinta begin their homeward voyage.  Columbus is aboard the Niña.
Feb 8 The 2 ships are hit by strong headwinds.
Feb 12 A storm threatens the Niña.
Feb 13-14 The 2 ships are separated by the storm
Feb 15 The Niña arrives at Santa Maria island in the Azores and waits 10 days before leaving without the Pinta.
March 3 The Niña arrives atLisbonand stays there 10 days.
March 15 The Niña returns to its home port, Palos.  The Pinta arrives there a few hours later.
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