For the life of me, I cannot understand why we are still “celebrating” Columbus Day in America. It seems, well, to put it frankly, historically stupid. He didn’t have too much to do with North America at all.
The truth of the matter: Columbus never discovered America. First, let’s look back to that good year, 1492. There were millions of people already living here — carrying on productive lives in thriving communities. But, the BIG fact is, Columbus never set one, tiny, little white stockinged foot on our shores. He didn’t even touch a toe to it.
On October 12 of that year, he bumped into the Bahamas. He also eventually sailed down to Cuba, and Haiti, and even the Dominican Republic. He sailed along the South American coast for quite a ways too. But he never touched ground here in North America. He did not unfurl a Spanish flag here. And, even, even, even if he had, I will refer you back to the paragraph about the millions of naturally-born Americans already in residence. And, if we are going to mince explorers, Leif Eriksson was the first European to set his feet on North American soil. About 500 years before Columbus was even born.
Here’s another myth. He wasn’t out to prove our planet was round. Although there are plenty of people today, who still don’t get it. Anyway, by 1492, most educated Europeans understood this fact. If you want the brass tacks of this, the idea that the world was round had been established by the Ancient Greeks in the 5th Century BC. So, there it is. Columbus did not set out to prove that the world was round. Instead, he was trying to show that it was possible to sail around it. And of course, as we saw, it was a voyage he underestimated terribly.
But the worst part of this “celebration”? We honor a man who enslaved and killed the people on this side of the world. When Columbus first arrived at Hispaniola, he came across a group of people, a community of people, a race of people called the Taino.
According to his very own journal entries, they were a “friendly group”, willing to trade jewels and supplies. He also wrote, “They were very well built, with very handsome bodies and very good faces,” Columbus wrote in his diary. “They do not carry arms or know them….They should be good servants.”
So those good people, the Taino, were forced into slavery. They were also punished with the loss of a limb or death if they did not collect enough gold. Of course, Columbus was allowed to keep a large portion of the gold for himself. It didn’t take long before the entire population was decimated — between the brutal treatment and the Euro’s infectious diseases.
Personally, this is one holiday I’d rather do without. Maybe when we get a President with some sense in their head, he or she will resolutely do away with this fallacy. Until then? Teachers, enjoy your day off.
“You don’t look fake when you unconsciously pretend.”
― Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
― Adolf Hitler