Thenational holiday Columbus Day commemorates the day Christopher Columbus firstset his foot in the Americas. Interestingly, different schools put up variousspectacles within that period. Most children want to dress up as their heroColumbus and act in school plays to demonstrate how Columbus interacted withthe natives on his first arrival to their island. Of recent, debates have beengoing on nationally on whether Columbus Day should be maintained, changed andreplaced or cancelled altogether.
The reasons are being based on the type ofman Columbus was and his actions or policies he implemented throughout the timewhich he spent in the Americas. Information gotten from Columbus’ journals,those of some of his men and historians of his time portray Columbus as beingextremely cruel, and responsible for perpetuating heinous crimes againsthumanity. Columbus’ actions clearly does not tally with our societal moralvalues which is why Columbus day should be abolished, even though his discoveryof the Caribbean islands opened the doors for other expeditors to settle in theother parts of the Americas .Thetime Columbus spent in the Caribbean islands was marked with heinous actsagainst the natives. According to Treuer, upon Columbus’ second voyage to the Caribbean, he orderedhis men to cut off the hands of any Native American who did not meet up withhis imposed levy of a teaspoon of gold dust every three months , babies wereseized from their mothers and killed, Native Americans were hanged, all inorder to spread terror (28-29). Although the sole purpose of Columbus’expedition was to find anything that will make him wealthy and also enrich thecoffers of his sponsors who were the king and Queen of Spain, his methods ofexecution which involved such cruelty is not just resentful in this modern erabut in his era too.
Even though the system at the time which was greatlyinfluenced by the church, accepted that sailors who discovered new territoriesor trade routes could claim ownership of those discoveries, on the behalf ofthe European countries backing them, the priest Bartolome de las Casas who was partof this mission, still shunned Columbus’ actions when he wrote, “The Spanishare treating the Indians not as beasts, for beasts are treated properly attimes, but like the excrement in a public square.” (qtd. in Treuer, 29). Thisshows that Columbus’ cruelty could never be condoned at any point in time inthe history of mankind and this holiday Columbus Day, should be abolished.Slavery should be another identifier if any one wishes to talk aboutChristopher Columbus.
Columbus’story about his interaction with the natives reveals that he was alwaysinclined to slavery. Being on a mission for the king and Queen of Spain to findmostly gold or precious goods as spices and pearls , Columbus’ first act whenhe met the natives of the Bahamas island, who were welcoming to him and hismen and pose no threat, was to secretlycapture some of them and take back to Spain as slaves . In his log, he wrote:”a hundred castellanoes are easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and itis very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls;those from 9 to 10 are now in demand.” (qtd.
in Kasum “Columbus Day, truelegacy: cruelty and slavery”). Eric kasum further explains that Columbus got mostof his wealth from slavery especially from selling young and tender girls as sexslaves and designates the introduction and propagation of slave trade andslavery in the Americas to him, in his article (“Columbus Day? True legacy:cruelty and slavery”). slavery is a very delicate topic to be discussed now adays because not only does it mark a dark era in any nations history but itseffects on the victims has kept living on from generation to generation.Effects such as having an internal void due to the loss of one’s tribe, race,culture and not knowing where you come from nor belong are depressive markerswhich a thousand apologies could never take away.
This is why if we are toeducate not only children but the nation at large that slavery is not justmorally incorrect but a crime against humanity, then dedicating a whole day ina great nation as this one to Christopher Columbus, a man known for not justpropagating slavery but being its pioneer in the Americas is not appropriateand should be abolished. Columbus’ cruelty and enslavement of the NativeAmericans in his time of governance of the Caribbean islands had a negativeimpact on their population size.Genocideis the most appropriate term to be used when describing the outcome ofColumbus’ actions in the Caribbean islands. According to Ward Churchill in hisbook “Indians are us”, when Columbus and his men arrived at the Caribbeanislands in 1492, the population of Tiano Indians was about, eight million andby 1496 the population decreased to three million and by the end of 1500 whenhe left the territory, there were just about 100,000 Tiano Indians left (qtd.
in “Columbus Legacy of Genocide”). Of course, the way he cruelly treated theindigenes of the land could only result to a rise in their deaths. Acts like him ordering his men to cut the handsof any native who did not supply him with the mandated amount of gold within a setperiod, of which most of them died by bleeding.
This only implied more deathsas the gold were fast being depleted. In other instances he had attack dogschase down and kill those who resisted, some natives could no longer toleratesuch hardship and committed suicide, and most of his wars against the nativeswhere he had to use canons on them had a significant impact on theirpopulation. (Churchill, qtd. in”Columbus Legacy of Genocide”). Columbus did not only bring more ships and mento the Americas from the East during his back and forth voyages, historians sayhe also introduce new diseases into the land, diseases to which the natives hadno immunity which resulted to asignificantly high death rate in a shortperiod of time (Treuer,15). No were in our world history have there been anyinstance where the act of genocide or its perpetration have been commended.
Eradicating a whole race for any or no reason has never and will never beviewed as something moral, this is why the observance of Columbus day in ournation is implying that we are applauding his genocidal acts on some nativeAmerican tribes hence should be abolished.AlthoughColumbus’ discovery of the Caribbean islands open a portal for otherexpeditors to colonize other parts ofthe continent which lead to the immigration of Europeans, hence evolved to the various nations which they are today, itis good to note that Columbus himself did not set foot on the northernhemisphere of the Americas. Archeological reports say that Vikings andPolynesians had earlier visited the northern parts of the Americas withrudimentary means as compared to that of Columbus’ time some five hundred yearsbefore Columbus’ acclaimed discovery (kasum, “Columbus Day? True legacy:cruelty and slavery”).
This means that this route was not a mystery and could benavigated by just any sailor hence its logical to give accreditation if we mustto the sailors how actually explored our lands of which Columbus is not among.Moreover Columbus was never even interested in finding the Caribbean, his aimwas to find another route to India so that he could get access to wealth just asthe Portuguese had done which is why in his journals he called the native Americanshe met at the Bahamas island Indians for he thought he had found another route toIndia.Settingaside days within the year to commemorate icons for their achievements,influences or the positive changes which they made is so important in oursociety because their deeds could stand as a yard stick for the measurement ofa societal value, a turning point in a nations history and a guide to a progressiveadvancement of a society as a whole. This is why the commemoration of Columbus Daywhich idolizes Christopher Columbus’ personality or his accomplishment in our nationcould never be morally given that this man had a nature of cruelty, he loved andpropagated slavery and was responsible for the eradication of various races of theindigenous people of the Americas.Works sited · Kasum Eric, “Columbus Day? True Legacy:Cruelty and Slavery”. Huffpost.
html· Treuer Anton. “Every Thing You Wanted toKnow about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask”. Borealis Books, 2012.
Print · The thistle. “History Not Taught isHistory Forgot: Columbus’ Legacy of Genocide” volume 9 http://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v9/9.11/1columbus.html