The following is based upon The Oatmeal’s comic and Eric Kasum’s article “Columbus Day? True Legacy: Cruelty and Slavery”.
Every second Monday in October, we celebrate Christopher Columbus’ legacy, the one where he discovered America and made friends with the First Nation people. We’ve been told the courageous Hollywood-esque adventure of a man set out to prove the world was round to the ignorant European masses, including royalty. We’re told how the journey to the New World was perilous. Yet, Columbus and his crew were determined to fight all odds to reach the goal. And we’re told that when the settlers arrived, the “Indians” greeted them with open arms, helping them get on their feet and was instrumental to the first Thanksgiving, another holiday with a hidden, dark past.
Young kids are given this brand of history as assignments to study and learn, or else they would get failing grades. The Hollywood media loves to tell the tale, adding more heroism and admiration. America’s most beloved cartoons love to get in on the act in a pretense to “educate” kids with entertainment. And most people have absorbed it like a sponge.
However, like most of America’s history, this is another mythical shroud to hide actual history soaked with the blood of human beings never treated like human beings. But the glorious myth surrounding Columbus is what helped establish a holiday for him, not unlike how Thomas Jefferson, one of the Fathers of the Declaration of Independence, was also a slave owning, white supremacist pedophile. Yet, he had an entire part of a mountain carved in his likeness.
And even though Columbus was actually a greedy murderer, a robber, a slave owner, an abuser, a rapist, a maimer and a pedophile, he still got 24 hours dedicated to his ass.
The REAL Christopher Columbus was not the first person to discover America. It was already occupied and settled by the First Nation peoples thousands of years before Columbus was even born. I guess White Europeans are the only “true” humans who deserved to be historically credited for…anything in America.
Also, the REAL Columbus was lousy when it came to directions. He was en route to Asia, particularly India, when he stumbled across the Bahamas and the Lucayan, Arawaks and Taínos Natives. He noticed them wearing gold jewelry, but was, as he put it, “a healthy, generous, hospitable people” as they helped save the crew and cargo of the shipwrecked Santa Maria.
When Columbus returned home, he took 25 Natives with him. Only seven survived. Upon reflection, he saw their altruism as nothing more than a weakness to exploit. He told the Queen of Spain about his “golden” discovery. In time, he would return to the islands with a large army armed with arsenal of cannons, swords, crossbows and attack dogs.
Columbus seized the land and forced the Natives to work in the gold mines under brutal conditions, and to offer them their food and women. When they refused, he made examples out of them by cutting off their ears and noses. It was to let the villagers know who was now in charge.
And it gets worse.
Slaves that didn’t meet their quota had their hands chopped off. If they tried to escape, they were burned alive. Sometimes Columbus would use vicious dogs that would tear off their flesh and limbs alive. Eventually, the Natives rebelled, only to be slaughtered by the Europeans’ weaponry. The Natives didn’t have much to use for the resistance except rocks and spears.They were overpowered easily.
Columbus used the Native females as sex slaves for his men. He wrote how nine and ten year old girls were in high demand. The women had to perform sex acts for the European invaders or else face cruel punishments.
With the influx of diseases brought on my the Europeans and their genocidal tendencies to satisfy their avarice, it is estimated that almost five million Natives died within the 50 years of the European arrival.
Some have said that this helped initiate the Transatlantic Slave Trade in which Africans became the next commodity. And slavery would be the single greatest source of wealth for the Americas for years to come.
So, after reading this and other sources, why would anyone celebrate the life of a man who was an adulterous, murderous, greedy, racist asshole? What good reason is there to continue holding on to the candy covered myth of a man who very well wiped out a group of people in the name of avarice? Why dedicate a holiday to someone who could put today’s terrorist groups to shame?
There is no logical or moral reason to celebrate Columbus day. None. Those who still celebrate it or intellectually and(or) morally ignorant or handicapped to recognize that the man they admire is one of history’s greatest criminals.