October 8th- Columbus Day- my favorite national holiday. Some people get off from school and others get off work; the best part of it is, that there is no good reason for treating this day as a national holiday. Sure, he discovered the “New World” (accidentally), but when looking at whether a person deserves to have a holiday named after him, I look at all of his most well-known deeds- good and bad.
Think of it as the utilitarian approach of allotting national holiday worthiness. After looking everything over, I feel that Martin Luther King Jr. should be the one and only person with a national holiday named after him. Why do I have such hate for Mr. Columbus? Well, it’s not hate really; it’s more like disgust.
I am disgusted that, after knowing all the facts, the United States still believes that Christopher Columbus ought to be honored. Being a bit too harsh, am I? Take a look at some of the dirt I dug up on our favorite explorer and decide for yourself.
Since many of you know the basic facts about Christopher Columbus, his birthday, when he sailed in search of a shorter trade route to Asia… I am going to skip over all of that and go straight for the throat. In 1492, Columbus built a fortress on the Island of Hispaniola- modern day Haiti, called La Navidad. When he left the island, he had 38-39 men stay behind and man the fortress.
He left them in hostile territory- territory that was hostile to the fact that intruders were setting up camp on their homeland. How can I say with confidence that Columbus was really the one who brought about this hostility? Firstly, this voyage took place during the colonization period- countries like Spain were looking to expand their strongholds.
Secondly, and more obviously, Colombus did not build a campsite but a fortress, a structure raised during medieval times to show power, store weaponry and house soldiers. Columbus made a statement to the locals, the Taino, by building La Navidad- he showed them that he and his people were there to stay. When Columbus returned to the fortress a year later, all of his men were killed by the Taino.
This is where it gets interesting. To punish the Taino, he enslaved many and basically slaughtered the rest. He built labor camps where many worked until they died of disease. The Taino were required to pay tribute to the invaders and if a payment was late, they were “killed,” with this word being an understatement for the slow, painful and disgusting actions Columbus took to in order to let these people know he meant business. Having your hands cut off and bleeding out until you die seems more like torture to me, but call it what you like, that’s what happened.
Columbus and his men organized mass hangings, burnings at the steak, human spit fire roastings and even had children hacked to death and fed to dogs as punishment for minor crimes or for pure sport. My hero. Word of Columbus’s cruelty got back to Spain and the crown had him brought back in chains.
Unfortunately, by the time he finally left in 1504, the Taino population had been reduced from around 8,000,000 to roughly 100,000, making him, by today’s standards, one of the worst war criminals in history. By the year 1542 there were only about 200 Tainos left; shortly after they were considered extinct.
I’m no genius, but doesn’t it seem a bit… fucked up to be honoring someone who orchestrated the successful genocide of an entire race of human beings? But we can’t forget, he stumbled across this great country of ours. The idiot still believed, on his deathbed, that he found a shorter route to Asia!
I have an idea… since he was mentally unstable and a moron, let’s forget that he killed millions of people and name a national holiday after him! Oh no, wait. We already did that.
Paul Hudson | Elite.