Yes, this is probably the 1,000,000th post on Christopher Columbus and a great deal of opinions expressed here have most likely been said already on other blogposts, editorials, articles, etc. But anyways, that’s not my point.
As we all know, last Monday was Columbus Day. As usual, I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed looking for something interesting to read or something else to do that would occupy my time. Being Columbus Day, I saw countless posts rightfully bashing Christopher Columbus. There was not a surprise there to see people of many political ideas and backgrounds wondering why we have a day off to celebrate someone who had committed such terrible crimes against a generous and innocent group of people.
Now, by this time, I have already realized that Christopher Columbus was an awful person whose actions resulted in the genocide of countless numbers of Native Americans. However, I never exactly knew what kinds of atrocities Columbus and his crew had committed against the Taino people. So when I came across a Facebook link (posted by a socialist group) written by a Native American-oriented news organization about Christopher Columbus’s actual atrocities, I immediately clicked on it to understand what was going on.
The article uses a lot of testimonies from Spanish historian and Catholic priest, Bartolome de las Casas, and describe extremely gruesome scenes of torture, rape, and murder. Many of these acts, ranging from the killing of Native American babies for the use of dog food to the rapes of 9 to 10 year old girls, would have been considered as serious violations of human rights if they had been committed in modern times.
Reading about these horrendous acts infuriated me a great deal. I was taught that this mass murderer was a pioneer, a hero of the American people. It would be like teaching Koreans that the Japanese imperialists who had come and oppressed them many years ago were “great pioneers” and “heroes of the Korean people”. It would be like lauding Hitler or Pol Pot as great leaders who have benefited the world.
This is absolutely horrible and unspeakable. I sincerely hope in the near future that people can be taught that Columbus was not this “hero” and “pioneer”, but what he truly was: a genocidal criminal who deserves a spot among the most horrible people in history.
Link to article on Columbus’s crimes. I must warn you that it is quite gruesome, so please be aware if you are sensitive to such things.
Picture of Christopher Columbus link:
The picture is in the public domain.