“The United States honors only two men with federal holidays bearing their names. In January we commemorate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., who struggled to lift the blinders of racial prejudice and to cut the remaining bonds of slavery in America. In October, we honor Christopher Columbus, who opened the Atlantic slave trade and launched one of the greatest waves of genocide known in history.”
Remember when we were children, and our parents told us that Santa Claus was real? It was a simple lie, really… There was a story we as children wanted to believe, we had no reason to not believe at the time, and so the lie became “fact”. That was until, of course, we grew up, expanded our minds, grew out of our naive juvenile knowledge base, and began to seek the truth. As it turned out, Santa Claus was a fabrication. While he represented something very real, the truth was far different than the commonplace story of elves, reindeer, and the North Pole.
Not everything your parents, teachers, and elders tell you is real. As we reflect upon yet another Columbus Day, I challenge you all to embrace the truth. Christopher Columbus was power hungry, deceitful, unforgiving, a mass murderer, a rapist, and worst of all… a complete and utter lie.
In this day and age, we have the benefit of unlimited information at our fingertips, via the internet. There is no longer an excuse for our ignorance. Hear the truth regarding Christopher Columbus, all direct quotes from his Wikipedia page…
The indigenous people he encountered, the Lucayan, Taíno, or Arawak, were peaceful and friendly. From the 12 October 1492 entry in his journal, in which he wrote of them, “They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them. I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased.” (we call this “slavery”)
He wrote, “While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked – as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But – to cut a long story short – I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores.” (I believe this qualifies as rape, assault, and a general disregard for human life)Columbus demanded that each Taino over 14 years of age deliver a hawk’s bell full of gold powder every three months or, when this was lacking, twenty-five pounds of spun cotton. If this tribute was not delivered, the Taínos had their hands cut off and were left to bleed to death. (so we’re all on the same page… there was an extremely limited supply of gold and cotton, meaning that EVERY Taino man or woman 14+ years old were to inevitably be murdered… in cruel inhumane fashion)
In poor health, Columbus returned to Hispaniola on 19 August, only to find that many of the Spanish settlers of the new colony were in rebellion against his rule, claiming that Columbus had misled them about the supposedly bountiful riches of the New World. A number of returning settlers and sailors lobbied against Columbus at the Spanish court, accusing him and his brothers of gross mismanagement. Columbus had some of his crew hanged for disobedience. (Columbus was not limited to murdering only the Native Americans; he would murder his own crew for “disobedience” merely for pointing out the truth in his ways)
The native Taino people of the island were systematically enslaved via the encomienda system, which resembled a feudal system in Medieval Europe. The pre-Columbus population is estimated to have been perhaps 250,000–300,000. According to the historian Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes by 1548, 56 years after Columbus landed, fewer than five hundred Taino were left on the island. In another hundred years, perhaps only a handful remained. (a shocking and permanent genocide, accomplished systematically by Columbus himself)
Consuelo Varela, a Spanish historian, states: “Even those who loved him [Columbus] had to admit the atrocities that had taken place.” (there was no denying the truth)
So, I ask citizens around the world today, if even those who “loved” Columbus during his reign of terror had to admit that his whimsical prestige was nothing but a lie… then why do we refuse to accept that 500 years later today?
Christopher Columbus is not who our 2nd grade Social Studies book taught us he was. Even his one true claim to fame (that he was the first to begin the European exploration and colonization of the Americas) he denied to his grave, insisting that he had indeed found the continent of Asia and the indigenous ”Indians”.
If you choose to celebrate Columbus Day, please celebrate the existence of “The New World”, which we now call North and South America. Celebrate those who helped form the nations we call home today, such as the United States, and made peace with those who lived there before us. Celebrate humankind’s quest for knowledge, which allowed the financing and planning of Columbus’ voyages.
But please… do not celebrate the man our society has misguidedly praised for centuries. Don’t let the holidays and statues around the globe fool you. Christopher Columbus was not, and is not, who we thought he was.
-Brendan, aka Bike Squad (@bren_daddy)
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