In October, we honor Christopher Columbus, who opened the Atlantic slave trade and launched one of the greatest waves of genocide known in history.
Most children educated in the United States can remember singing about “when Columbus sailed the ocean, blue”, but why is it that he is celebrated as a hero? Why are our children taught to glorify this man’s achievements? Such questions led me to investigate the man Cristóbal Colón, who we know as Christopher Comumbus. In doing so, I discovered the following truths, and propose that the indigenous peoples of the world NEVER celebrate any such Columbus Day. Here are the four reasons I discovered;
Reason 1. Columbus brought the first genocide to the New World
20th century scholarly estimates give Christopher Columbus and his crew a kill count of between 250,000 people to a high of 8.4 million. Their deaths came at the hands of rape, torture, overwork, starvation, and disease.
The native Taino and Arawak were the indigenous peoples of the island of Hispaniola, where Columbus began a rudimentary tribute system for gold and cotton.
The Taino disappeared so rapidly after contact with the Spanish, due to overwork and European diseases (notably smallpox and SYPHILIS - that tells you what the Spanish were doing to the people there) that less than 500 out of 300,000 natives were left within 50 years of his arrival (according to the contemporary historian Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes) . Estimates indicate case fatality rates of 80–90% in Native American populations during smallpox epidemics.
Columbus and the Spanish slave trade were almost successful in completely wiping out the Arawak population in the Bahamas as well, but not due to epidemics. The Arawak (numbering in the millions) were viewed as a resource to be used at the disposal of the Spanish people, like heads of cattle. When they refused to participate in their own exploitation, they were exterminated. Much like the Tasmanian Aborigines, they are extinct today.
Reason 2. Columbus was a scam artist
The art of navigation is rich in numbers, which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, because if those numbers are carefully measured and faithfully transmitted through the years, they allow us to confirm an explorer’s location with unparalleled confidence. And a curse, because if those numbers are sloppily measured, badly conserved, or even fraudulent, we are left with the task not only of resolving any discrepancy but also of explaining its very existence. The many navigational records left by Christopher Columbus, the Admiral of the Ocean Sea, are frequently cursed. You can read the details and do the math here: http://www.columbusnavigation.com/shd973.shtml
“The Admiral’s pilot held at dawn today that they had made up to this point 578 leagues west from the island of Hierro. The smaller account that the Admiral showed to the men was 584. But the true account that the Admiral figured and kept to himself was 707.”
The truth of the matter is that Columbus had no idea where he was going in the first place, had sub-par navigation skills, and STOLE THE MAPS he used to get to North America in the first place (a crime that was punishable by death at the time).
Another mark of a scam artist: As Columbus peddled his request for exploratory funds from country to country, he changed his name to escape his poor reputation – becoming Cristofo Colombo, Cristóbal Colón, and ultimately Christopher Columbus. Some historians have even begun to question the traditional accounts surrounding Columbus’ Italian origins and claim that Columbus was in fact a Portuguese Jew whose real name was Salvador Fernandes Zarco.
Reason 3. Columbus never set foot in North America
We well know that Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas – having been preceded by the Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson and countless older Viking (and African???) explorers. Why celebrate someone who had never set foot in the country?
Reason 4. Columbus represents the worst of white values.
The obvious fiction of a ‘discovery’ of lands occupied by millions of people for tens of thousands of years underscores the ethnocentrism evident in most historical accounts of Christopher Columbus.
Once Columbus and his crew soon discovered that there was no treasure to be had in the new land other than its people, he returned the friendly gestures of the Arawak by gathering 1500 men, women, and children together for transport as slaves back to Spain. Of the 1500 Arawaks, 500 were selected as appropriate gifts for the Spanish court, but only 300 of them survived the middle passage to Spain. Once Columbus unloaded his human prizes in Spain, they were sold to the highest bidder.
For his thorough exploitation of the “New World”, Christopher Columbus’ heirs recieved titles for life, and he received a permanent income from the goods and slaves brought back from Hispanola. When he died, he was one of the wealthiest and most comfortable men in Europe.
So for this Black man there is no Columbus day parade, and no day of solemn observation. To celebrate what? The killing of innocent people for wealth and greed? No sir, not this Black man.
We as a people becoming conscious should move to eradicate the Columbus holiday. Furthermore, fairy tales that are being told about this man in our school systems should be brought to an end. When my children ask who this man was I will give them this:
In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue;
By 1493 he had raped, killed, and pillaged all he could see.
Then back to Spain over ocean waves,
To make his fortune selling slaves.
Now I ask you the following:
- Why would school systems continue to glorify this man with the truth of his brutality being evident?
- Why would the nation continue to observe this man?
- What does it say about the soul of America to elevate a mass murdering scam artist into legend?