I hope that our post office and banking employees have a very nice day off today, for Columbus Day, but let’s not forget, he did not discover America, He did not come to America, and he was by today’s standards an all round horrible guy.
We can thank him for murdering natives, enslaving random peoples he encountered, delivering disease, and all manner of other great achievements, but to celebrate him with a holiday or to enshrine him as a discoverer is not appropriate.
There is still much discussion about exactly how and exactly when the Native Americans arrived and spread over the continent, and then of course there is further discussion regarding possibly more recent Polynesian and Chinese naval visitations that are pre-Columbian, and we have solid evidence of Leif Ericsson’s pre-Columbian settlement on the East coast. (Yes I know his name can be spelled several ways).
But the failure of Columbus to discover the American continent was the nicest thing he ever did. And yet in the United States we honor him with a holiday, we call a region, the District of Columbia and we have named many cities and towns Columbus. In South America, an entire country is named Columbia, and then there is CBS, and there are hundreds of other other businesses flaunting his dirty name. Perhaps one day we’ll do something about it, but for now, lets start by telling the kids the truth about this scoundrel.
There are many articles and books describing the real Columbus. Rather than go further here, I will offer a web link to a page by Roy Cook, published on AmericanIndianSource.com: http://www.americanindiansource.com/columbusday.html
This splendid introduction to the dark truth of the history of Columbus is a good starting point for further reading and contains external references.