Christopher Columbus is celebrated for “discovering America”, but recently groups are pushing local, state, and national governments to take a closer look at Columbus’ “complete” history. According to CNN, in an article by Scottle Andrew and AJ Willingham, 13 states in America have eliminated Columbus Day and officially celebrate Native American Day instead, according to archive.org. However, the rest of our fifty states, including California, still celebrate the holiday.
In an article about Columbus Day by the Harvard Gazette by staff writer Liz Mineo, “For Native people in the U.S., Columbus Day represents a celebration of genocide and dispossession.”
But there also is another side of the story. From the Washington Examiner, their opinion of the story emerges in this statement, “Today, Columbus Day is unjustly under assault in some quarters. City councils in some cities have voted to replace it with “Indigenous Peoples Day,” or something similar . . . “
To figure out which statement is correct, we need to delve into Columbus’s true past. Most of us have learned the story of Christopher Columbus, one way or another, probably during our time at school.
But some of the information students are fed by unknowing teachers are false, so let’s start at the beginning to truly know whether the stories are true.
According to the biography, Christopher Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa and grew up to be an explorer. He completed four voyages that were sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain.
When he ‘discovered’ North America, he thought it to be Asia and called the Native Americans ‘Indians’. And, more on the discovery: He didn’t actually discover it.
According to history.com, A Viking named Leif Eriksson Day led the first European expedition to North America, nearly 500 years before Columbus’s birth.
And he wasn’t even the second to find it, as even the natives were there before him, yet he is dubbed as the discoverer of North America.
On his travels, unfortunately, native people also caught viruses and diseases that they were not able to fight off, and a horrific amount of them died because of the mistake of not helping them.
He also journeyed to Hispaniola, where he kidnapped and enslaved more than a thousand people, which was one of the reasons why the Taíno people almost went extinct, reported history.com.
When the people of Hispaniola refused to work for them to get the gold, he let a member of his crew publicly cut off an Indian’s ear to shock the others in submission.
And, the only rule of making them mine for gold was simple: Anyone over the age of fourteen was forced to find it for them.
As a result, 50,000 Indians committed mass suicide instead of being forced to help the Spanish. Although, even after all this death, he did do some things that benefited people.
His voyages promoted and made the exchange of animals, plants, cultures, and ideas.
Christopher Columbus did introduce the Americas to Western Europe, as they were unaware the Americas were in between their original destination and Spain, reported history.com
So, why do schools not necessarily teach this dark history of Christopher Columbus?
Well, history is written by people and talked about by people who sometimes water down the horror of Christopher Columbus’s story for minors, which is fine.
But soon it comes to the point where some adults in America don’t know this truth after years of hearing about a man named Christopher Columbus who discovered America, and sometimes, probably even heard that he heroically tried to help the Indian’s ‘savage’ ways.