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Columbuary
Assaulted on all sides — by the descendents of America's original citizens, by steadfast Canadians eager to prove their Viking ancestry, even by the clay-hard death grip of Kennewick Man — it's unlikely Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) will ever reclaim the title "Discoverer of America." But if he didn't actually find the American continent, at least he figured out how to monetize it. Like many an early adapter before and since, Columbus got a mere two percent cut for his efforts. While he did not, as popularly believed, die broke, his first-round investors in Italy and Spain had their lunches eaten by a bunch of Protestants with better trade organizations. We happily nominate this straddler of worlds as the man to greet the new year.