This Monday, the United States will observe Columbus Day. Most of us learned about Christopher Columbus during history class and think of him as the person who discovered America. Over the years, the identity of Christopher Columbus and the story of the discovery of American has been debated. Most people agree that Christopher Columbus should not be credited with discovering America because there were already people living here when he arrived.
It turns out there are many other things about the story of Christopher Columbus that are also untrue and somewhat dark. When you find out the truth about Christopher Columbus, it may make you think twice about observing a holiday in his honor.
Most people think of Christopher Columbus as a fearless adventurer who was looking for a new world. In reality, he was just greedy. Christopher Columbus was searching for a new trade route to Asia in order to make money. When he came across America by accident, he decided not to pursue a trade route and instead focus on a way to get the huge amount of gold available in America.
If you think Columbus treated the natives well, think again. When we are taught about Christopher Columbus, we are told of his fear of Native Americans, In reality, Columbus wanted to control them and when he went to war with them, he easily dominate them and sold over 500 Native Americans into slavery. The ones he didn’t sell he tortured and treated as his own slaves. If the natives refused to give him and his men what they wanted, he would cut off their ears and noses.
The observation of Columbus Day comes from the notion that Christopher Columbus discovered America and helped make it civilized. The truth is, when Columbus and his men arrived in American, they brought disease and sickness with them. Nearly 5 million people died of illness and starvation as a result of Columbus’s arrival.
So as you observe Columbus Day this year, think about what the country is really celebrating. Should the sugar-coated version of Christopher Columbus still be taught to children in school? Should our country continue to observe a holiday that is based on a lie?
Image from Wikimedia Commons.