Friday, January 31, 2014

The Real Story of Christopher Columbus

Ryan Carpenter
  Throughout grade school, all I learned about Christopher Columbus was that he received permission to sail the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, proved that the Earth was round, and thought that he landed in India, not The New World.  I have heard on the site that everything schools teach about Columbus is wrong, but I never knew exactly how wrong it was.  When Columbus landed in the Bahamas (he never went to the mainland), he was met with what he described as “friendly, peaceful people” whom he ended up enslaving, torturing, and selling as sex slaves. In fact, Columbus’ two brothers were arrested and charged for their cruelty against the native Arawaks and one of Columbus’ men, Bartolome De Las Casas became a Catholic priest after seeing what Columbus was doing.  The only reason Columbus Day is a holiday is because the Knights of Columbus wanted a Catholic role model for their kids [1].

     It is shocking to know that someone who is taught as an intelligent adventurer and even has a national holiday named after him could be as evil as he is. I understand that many many things we are taught about history are misleading/biased, but those inaccuracies are not national holidays or have a rhyme about their accomplishments that almost everyone knows. Even the few things I was taught about him are wrong. I was taught that he sailed the Atlantic to prove that the world was round, but by the time he sailed to the New World, it was already common knowledge that the world was round. The only thing that the voyage proved is that the Earth is bigger than people of the time thought [2].

Columbus left a lasting legacy of cruelty and exploration in the new world. This exploration lasted for centuries after Columbus' voyages. This legacy left Europe with a large amount of natural resources while it killed most natives through disease and genocide[3]. He also started the slave trade in The New World by sending around 5,000 slaves across the Atlantic and when the native population started to dwindle, he turned to African slaves to replace the natives. Not only did he severely lower the native population, he completely massacred them. Pre-Columbus, the natives where Columbus landed numbered around 8 million and by 1555, they were completely extinct [3]. Christopher Columbus is a cruel businessman who took advantage of the kind natives and did everything possible to ensure their destruction. [1] Kasum, Eric. "Columbus Day? True Legacy: Cruelty and Slavery." Huffington Post, 10 11, 2010. (accessed January 30, 2014). [2] Minster, Christopher. "The Truth About Christopher Columbus." Accessed January 30, 2014. [3] Lindsay, Peta. "The Legacy of Christopher Columbus." Banderas News, 10, 2006. (accessed January 30, 2014).

1 comment:

  1. Bartolome de las Casas wasn't one of Columbus' men and came to the New World only after Columbus had been stripped of his governorship of the colonies there. There's good reasons to rethink having Columbus day as a holiday, but unfortunately you've based some of your reasoning on articles that aren't historically accurate. Please read this: