Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered a land in the year 1492, though the name “America” from Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
Columbus, the name of multiple cities in US including the one where I live, died a frustrated man, for the Spanish explorer was never able to discover his dreamland India – considered the land of opportunity those days. He had to settle for a group of Islands which he aptly named as West Indies (India of the West) when his ship “Santa Maria” sailed far West in the Atlantic Ocean. The name “Indies” was the consolation prize for his failure to discover the El Dorado of the time , the land of milk and honey called India.
Wish Columbus had lived half a century longer and found solace in the readings of the famous French Seer & Clairvoyant Nostradamus – the man credited for seeing the future centuries ahead of time, which includes correctly predicting the arrival of Napoleon and Hitler as well as the two World Wars accompanying these anti-Christs. Around the year 1550 Nostradamus predicted – “The New World”, as America was called then, will rise to its zenith of power close to turn of the millennium. He was half right. The United States of America went a step further and become a Superpower.
A new star was born little more than a century after Nostradamus’s famous prediction. Western settlers adventured their way to North America which had more Bisons than humans. The Pioneers (explorers in the form of initial settlers who moved further west and south) would expand the American horizon – from its initial 13 states to 50, each star representing one state, combining to form the United States of America. The last one to be acquired was Alaska – a lucky buy at a darn cheap price from Russia and the Island of Hawaii, a vacationer’s paradise.
America became independent on 4th of July, 1776, commemorating “Declaration of Independence”, after defeating the mighty English, arguably the only nation ever in history to have convincingly defeated the British and drive them out of their land. (Though they retained the English language, Foot, Pound Unit of measurement, modified the English game of Cricket to their own Baseball).
America is still a baby, considering only 244 years old compared to the most civilizations of the world, some of whom are at least 10 times older. But the baby has taken some giant steps in a short span of time, which no one has ever done in history of mankind. A land of immigrants, it has come a long way since the days of the Mayflower (early immigrants). Isolated from rest of the world, America coped well with changing times – began as an agrarian society, followed by industrial revolution which made it self sufficient, whereas trading made it rich.
Soon it surpassed Europe in opulence. By 1930, 90% of American households had access to car, 4 times more phones per person than British, 6 times more than Germans the other two nations closest to US at the time. Except for a blip post 1929 Financial crisis which exposed the underbelly of Capitalism, America’s opulence prevailed. The reason – its uncanny ability to continually innovate, invent and improve. From Electricity, Air Conditioning, Airplanes to this platform called Facebook and its host internet, the iWhatever devices we use to connect and communicate across globe, are all America’s contribution.
America is known for it resilience. Those who built America from the scratch were adventurous, because they arrived at a time when you left home knowing that you’re not going to come back. You also don’t know what’s in store for you at your place of arrival, but you know that you can’t communicate to your folks back home in an age sans telephone and internet. Patriotism is ingrained in this nation, vindicated by still able to keep the country together post Civil war which ended in 1865.
Time and again America has the detractors who predicted its early demise have been proven wrong. The end of America as they saw is both premature and preposterous. The nation will thrive as long as it retains the edge in technology and juggernauts ahead on its wheels of unbridled innovation and free market. Happy birthday to the United States of America. Wish all a happy 4th of July. Enjoy the fireworks and take precautions to stay safe in this pandemic time.
(Author is an Odia technocrat living in the USA. Views are Personal)