COLUMBUS DAY LESSON
Print the the reading
comprehension passage and questions (see
Students should read the story silently,
then answer the questions about the story that follow. Discuss the
answers to the questions with students.
Excerpt from passage
Columbus Day is celebrated in many countries in the Americas to honor Christopher Columbus, a sailor and explorer who is said to have discovered America. Columbus was born in Italy in 1451 and began working as a seaman when he was just a young boy. In the early 1400's, European traders could easily travel by land and sea to China and India to trade for silk, spices and other goods. But in 1453, the city of Constantinople was conquered by the Muslims and Egypt fell to a group of people known as the Ottomans. As a result, passage to India and China was much more difficult for European traders. Sailors needed to travel all the way around Africa to get to India and Asia since they could no longer go by way of the Red Sea and Egypt. By the 1480's, Columbus and his brothers had come to believe that they could sail to India by going directly west around the world. The myth that people still believed that the world was flat when Columbus was born is mostly false. Most people knew by this time that Earth was a sphere. But unlike many people at the time, Columbus believed that the distance between Europe and Asia to the west was short enough for a voyage by sea.
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