Recently, I have been perusing Tumblr and discovered that some peculiar tags were trending. Tags such as “PSAT,” “cows,” and “GEE WHIZ!” to just name a few. With further investigation, I was delighted, and a little bit scared, to discover that the PSAT fan base, also known as a “fandom,” had been born overnight! After the initial shock of suddenly learning that a potato has a plant part, this got me thinking: I wonder if there are other school subjects that have a fandom. This PSAT fandom as well as this blog post as a response to Christopher Columbus Day, molded this idea of a Tumblr user’s response to the idea of Christopher Columbus Day.
So we’ve all heard of Christopher Colombus right? You know, brave, honest, discoverer of America, great thinker who proved the Earth was round. We also have a holiday for him! But what if I told you that he was none of those things?
Let me start off my saying that every educated person at the time knew the Earth was round. This knocks off the claim that Columbus “proved the Earth was round.
Christopher Columbus is credited with “discovering North America,” these historians who came up with that notion are COMPLETELY ignoring that fact that Leif Erikson hinga, dinga, durgen landed in North America hundreds of years before Columbus!
Also taking into consideration that Columbus DIDN’T EVEN LAND IN NORTH AMERICA! He landed in the present-day Bahamas. Did I mention that HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HE LANDED IN A NEW WORLD? He thought he was in India, hence the term “Indians” stuck with Native Americans.
Perhaps that worst part of his actions was his treatment of the Native people, the Tainos. Like most other explorers at the time, he came for the gold. Mistaking their kindness to submissiveness, he decided to use this to his advantage and forced them to collect gold for him. Each native person was forced to meet a gold quota and if they did, they were not abused. If they did not meet the quota, however, Columbus would cut off their hand as punishment.
His treatment of the children and women were not better. His crew and he forced them into the sex slave business. He even used girls ages 9-10 years as a type of currency. He wrote to a friend, “A hundred castellanos are easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”
His discovery of these native people did no good for them. By the end of Columbus’ voyage, the Tainos population had decreased from 3 million to about 1 million.
I’m not the only one who is opposed to Columbus day. Other people have responded by comparing it to the meteorite “discovering” the dinosaurs. Also, some Native Americans have responded, when asked if they celebrate it, “Do Jewish people celebrate Hitler’s birthday?” Related comments include “I’m taking it that the Columbus Day Sale means I go into the store and take whatever i want.”
This “American Tradition” has done nothing but lie to students about what this man actually achieved; which is close to nothing. However, we should change it to Bartolomé Day.
Bartolomé de las Casas was an explorer, like Columbus. However, he saw the conclusion of Colombus’ wrath and for the next 50 years fought for their rights to be treated like humans as everyone else. Bartolomé was a pretty great guy.
Happy Bartolomé Day!