If you still see Christopher Columbus in a positive light, you’ve never read a real history book
It’s Thanksgiving in Canada today and I must say I’m rather thankful that I don’t celebrate Christopher Columbus. Americans celebrate a lot of questionable traditions unique to their past such as the Second Amendment and the Confederate Flag, but why does it continue to celebrate Columbus, a man who’s not really part of that past?
The fact is, if you are an American that sees Christopher Columbus in a positive light, you’ve either never read a real history book or you’re still a little too fond of that Confederate Flag. Columbus was a pioneer and visionary to be sure, but of the darkest variety. Columbus and his crew were nothing more than rapists, pillagers, slave drivers and murderers.
Quite simply, Columbus was one of the greediest, vile and evil men ever to walk this Earth. The day of his landing in the new world is celebrated throughout the Americas, but only in Italy and the United States is his name mentioned in the holiday. There is a reason for that.
For starters, Columbus didn’t discover or ever set foot in the United States, the closest he came to the mainland was Cuba. Technically, Columbus wasn’t even the first European to discover the western hemisphere. There is physical evidence that Vikings beat him to it five hundred years prior when they landed in Newfoundland.
Upon arriving in the Bahamas, natives rescued the shipwrecked crew and cargo of the Santa Maria. Despite their kindness, Columbus immediately thought about how easy and profitable enslaving the native population would be.
“…With fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.” – Columbus
Columbus later misrepresented the natives who rescued him by describing them as “savage cannibals, with dog-like noses that drink the blood of their victims.”
Not surprisingly, on his second voyage, there are written accounts of his 1,200 men exploiting the native population. Raping, pillaging and murdering were common place and done for sport and fun.
“They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike.” – Bartolome de Las Casas
Columbus was first and foremost a man of greed. The native populations were quickly enslaved and forced to mine gold at a ferocious pace. According to historian Howard Zinn, over 250,000 natives were massacred for gold in just two years.
“In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead. By the year 1515, there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left. By 1550, there were five hundred. A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island.” – Howard Zinn
One more point, if what you read so far isn’t bad enough, Columbus may have sold children as sex slaves. While the practice was indeed occurring, the extent of Columbus’ involvement is not exactly known.
“A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.” – Columbus
In less than a decade, Christopher Columbus began the extermination of an entire indigenous population, pioneered the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and propelled Spain to become Europe’s first modern empire. Now that I think about it, I suppose you can argue Columbus had quite an impact on the early United States, but are these really worth celebrating?
If Columbus hadn’t sailed the ocean blue in 1492, someone else would have eventually. Who’s to say we wouldn’t have been better off? It’s about time we did away with Columbus Day… and the Washington Redskins… and the Confederate Flag…