Why We Need to Get Rid of Columbus Day

Why We Need to Get Rid of Columbus Day

Columbus day
Christopher Columbus photo from the Library of Congress

We established Columbus Day to honor Christopher Columbus for discovering America.  Problems with that begin immediately.  Christopher Columbus could not discover America if there were people already here.  This is an example of how inconsequential Europeans considered anyone but themselves, to be.  It also shows how much Anglo-Americans had bought into that belief.  But hopefully times have changed.  There is a lot more backlash about Columbus Day.  The states of Florida, Hawaii, Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota, New Mexico and Maine have all replaced Columbus with someone or something else they have chose to honor.  If the mere bigotry is not enough to convince you that we should not have a Columbus Day, let me tell you a little bit about Christopher Columbus.

Christopher Columbus was a brutal man who thought nothing of giving severe, often fatal, punishment for minor infractions.  Columbus enslaved the gentle Taino Indians of the Carribbeans.  He forced them to supply him with gold.  If they were not able to get enough gold to satisfy him he would kill them.  He had Indian leaders beheaded and allowed his men to even cut off the ears of a man to terrorize the Indians into complying with the Spaniards. 

One crew member documented the following:

“While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful woman, whom the Lord Admiral [Columbus] 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. 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 she had been brought up in a school for whores.”

As if raping adult women wasn’t enough, Christopher Columbus, himself, talks about selling 9 and 10 year old little girls into sexual slavery.  “There are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand, and for all ages a good price must be paid.”

But as the Vox article states, he didn’t just abuse the indigenous people in the different places he ended up.  He also abused the Spaniards under his control.  Whippings were common.  He had a woman’s tongue cut out for speaking ill of the admiral and his brother.  He had a young cabin boy’s hands nailed and had Spaniards hung for stealing food.

This is not a man anyone should be honoring.  We have come a long way from the white-washed history we were taught.  It’s time to completely end the farce and eliminate Columbus Day altogether.  

I highly recommend reading the Vox Article to get a better idea of what Columbus really did.