Columbus Forum
Lodge 1492
Order Sons of Italy in America


The focus of the Columbus Forum Educator’ Lodge 1492 of the Sons of Italy in America is to encourage, assist and guide qualified Italian-American employees of the School District of Philadelphia in achieving their highest personal and professional potentials.

Our second objective is to focus on educational programs that provide substantial scholarship support to American students of Italian descent. To this end, the Columbus Forum offers a mentoring program and a scholarship program to children and grandchildren of its members.

Our third objective is to foster an increased awareness of and a supportive interest in the collective role of the Italian-American Community as a reflection of its cultural heritage and to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Americans of Italian descent.


During October, we celebrate Christopher Columbus and everyone knows that he was an Italian Explorer, Navigator and Colonizer born in Genoa. Recently, I read an interesting article written by Christopher Klein in 2012, and I’d like to share some of the facts from this article with you.

Ten Things You May Not Know about Christopher Columbus

  1. Columbus didn’t set out to prove the earth was round. As early as the 6th century B.C., the Greek mathematician Pythagoras surmised the world was round and Aristotle backed him up.
  2. Columbus was likely not the first European to cross the Atlantic Ocean. That distinction is generally given to Norse Viking, Leif Eriksson who landed in Newfoundland about 1000 A.D., five centuries before Columbus set sale.
  3. Three countries refused to back Columbus’ Voyage. For nearly a decade, Columbus lobbied European monarchies to bankroll his quest to discover a western sea route to Asia.   Portugal, England and France said no.
  4. Nina and Pinta were not the actual names of two of Columbus’ three ships. In 15th Century Spain, ships were traditionally named after saints. Salty sailors however, bestowed less-than-sacred nicknames for their vessels. Mariners dubbed one of the three ships on Columbus’s 1492 voyage, the Pinta, Spanish for Painted One and the Santa Clara was nicknamed the Nina in honor of its owner, Nino.
  5. The Santa Maria was wrecked on Columbus’ historic voyage. On Christmas Eve of 1492, a cabin boy ran Columbus’s flag ship into a coral reef near present day, Haiti. Its crew spent a very un-merry Christmas salvaging the Santa Maria’s cargo.
  6. Columbus made four voyages to the New World. Although best known for his historic 1492 expedition, the other voyages took him into Caribbean islands, South and Central America.
  7. Columbus returned to Spain in chains in 1500. Columbus’s governance of Hispaniola could be brutal and tyrannical. Colonists complained to the monarchy about mismanagement and a royal commissioner brought him back to Spain in chains. King Ferdinand subsidized his fourth voyage.
  8. A lunar eclipse may have saved Columbus. In 1504 Columbus was stranded in Jamaica, abandoned by half of his crew and denied food by the islanders. Columbus warned the islanders that his god was upset with their refusal of food and that the moon would rise inflamed with wrath. On the appointed night, the eclipse darkened the moon and the terrified island offered food and provisions to Columbus.
  9. Even in death, Columbus continued to cross the Atlantic. Following his death in1506, Columbus was buried in Spain. At the request of his daughter-in-law, the body of Columbus was shipped across the Atlantic and interred in Santo Domingo cathedral. Some of his remains remained in Seville and as a result, pieces of Columbus are both in the New World and the Old World.
  10. Heirs of Columbus and the Spanish monarchy were in litigation until 1790. After Columbus’ death, his heirs waged a lengthy battle with the Spanish Crown claiming that the monarchy short-changed them on money. The legal battle dragged on until the 300th anniversary of Columbus’s famous voyage.

Marie Pizzi Bonner

President, Columbus Forum, OSIA, #1492

If you have any information you would like to share with your fellow members contact Renee Novello so she can add it to the Website.