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Age of Exploration
Christopher Columbus was not the first to discover the Americas, nor was he the first to realize that the Earth is round. He was the first, however, in other exploits, namely genocide and the transatlantic slave trade. Doesn't sound familiar? Read on.
Columbus may not have been the first to discover the Americas; the Afro-Phoenicians are described as having sailed from Egypt to the coast of Mexico as early as 750 B.C. Nevertheless, his exploits there marked a turning point in European thought and conquest. Five factors made this new "Age of Exploration" possible:
- Advances in military technology. Around 1400, due to ongoing wars, European rulers began to improve their guns and refine their warfare strategies, prompting a European arms race. Nations with less military ability would now easily succumb to the European nations who chose to conquer them.
- The printing press. Increased information now allowed rulers to govern distant lands more easily. News of Columbus' findings traveled quickly back to the King and Queen of Spain.
- Winning esteem through wealth. The amassing of great wealth was now seen as a way in which to dominate others and allow for their "salvation."
- Proselytizing religion. European Christianity believed that religion legitimatized conquest. They would land and say a few words (in an unfamiliar language) to get the inhabitants to convert to Christianity. If they were not instantly converted, the Europeans felt relieved of their religious duties and free to do whatever they wanted with them.
- Disease. European strains of smallpox and the plague were transmitted to those they met in their travels, allowing for easier and faster domination of them.
What we committed in the Indies stands out among the most unpardonable offenses ever committed against God and mankind, and this trade [in Indian slaves] as one of the most unjust, evil, and cruel among them.
— Bartolomé de las Casas
Discovery and Domination
In 1492, Columbus "discovered" the Americas when he landed in Haiti and several islands in the Caribbean. The Arawak Indians inhabited these islands, and at first, Columbus described them as "very handsome," and went into great detail about their formidable wooden boats that could hold 40-45 men. In little time, though, and after noticing their gold nose rings, he got to the point: "I was very attentive to them, and strove to learn if they had any gold." In search of this gold, he sailed the next day around the island, ending with the ominous statement: "I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased." On this first voyage, Columbus captured 20-25 Arawak slaves, who he then transported back to Spain.
For the second voyage to Haiti the following year (1493), Ferdinand and Isabella gave him the resources needed to subdue the population. When he returned to Haiti, Columbus demanded food, gold, and cotton thread and was increasingly met with resistance. This resistance gave him the opportunity he needed to declare war on the Arawaks. According to Bartolomé de Las Casas, who was there with the Spanish, Columbus chose "200 foot soldiers and 20 cavalry, with many crossbows and small cannon, lances, and swords, and a still more terrible weapon against the Indians, in addition to the horses: this was 20 hunting dogs, who were turned loose and immediately tore the Indians apart."
Of course, the Spanish won the war, for the Arawaks had only rudimentary weapons. As Columbus still could not find the gold he sought and needed to bring something back to Spain, he rounded up 1,000 Arawaks to be used as slaves. Five hundred of these he brought back to Spain, and the remaining 500 he gave to the Spanish who were then "governing" the island.
These people are very unskilled in arms; with 50 men they could all be subjected and made to do all that one wished.
— Christopher Columbus
Though now in control of the Arawak Indians and their island Haiti, Christopher Columbus still could not find the gold that he was sure was somewhere on the island.
The Arawaks, I'm sure, were not very willing to tell him where it was. Therefore, he set up a "tribute system" which worked thus:
Every three months, each Haitian over 14 years of age would be required to pay Columbus with either 25 pounds in cotton or a large "hawk's bell" of gold dust (a lot of gold dust.)
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Once the slaves paid this, they would receive a metal token. This token was worn around their necks as a signal that they were home-free for another 3 months (during which time they saved up for their next token, of course.)
- Those who did not pay had their nose & both of their hands chopped off.
Gold is a treasure, and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in this world, and succeeds in helping souls into paradise.
— Christopher Columbus
Due to the tribute system, the Arawaks were forced to work in the mines instead of growing food in their fields, which led to generalized malnutrition. According to a letter written by Pedro de Cordoba to King Ferdinand, "As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth...Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery."
- The initial Arawak population was estimated at 8,000,000. By 1516, only around 12,000 were still alive. By 1542, less than 200 remained. By 1555, the Arawaks were all gone.
Thus, the crime of genocide was perpetrated by Christopher Columbus- not exactly what I learned in public school. He completely exterminated an entire race of 8,000,000 people –and that's only counting one of the cultures he decimated. "Haiti under the Spanish is one of the primary instances of genocide in all human history." – Dr. James W. Loewen
After having dispatched a meal, I went ashore and found no habitation save a single house, and that without an occupant; we had no doubt that the people had fled in terror at our approach, as the house was completely furnished.
— Christopher Columbus
Transatlantic Slave Trade
Columbus wasn't just into subjugating and decimating; he was also interested in the sexual aspect of slavery. According to a letter written by Michele de Cuneo, before his first voyage had even reached Haiti in 1492, "Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape." Columbus wrote in 1500: "A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand."
Aside from sexual slavery, there existed, of course, the aspect of using slavery for profit. When there were no more Arawaks to mine his gold for him–for they no longer existed–Columbus systematically depleted the Bahamas of their peoples for this task. Tens of thousands of slaves from the Bahamas were transported to Haiti, leaving the islands behind deserted. Peter Martyr reported in 1516: "Packed in below deck, with hatchways closed to prevent their escape, so many slaves died on the trip that a ship without a compass, chart, or guide, but only following the trail of dead Indians who had been thrown from the ships could find its way from the Bahamas to Hispaniola."
After the new batch of slaves died, Columbus depleted Puerto Rico and then Cuba. When they had all succumbed, he turned his eyes to Africa, thus establishing the transatlantic slave trade and the concept of "race." Through his exploits in Haiti, Columbus led the way for other European nations to begin seeking wealth through domination, conquest, and slavery. In essence, Columbus changed the world, and we recognize this in one way or another by delineating history as being either pre- or post-Columbian.
Columbus' government was characterized by a form of tyranny. Even those who loved him had to admit the atrocities that had taken place. Now one can understand why he was sacked and we can see that there were good reasons for doing so. The monarchs wanted someone who did not give them problems. Columbus did not solve problems, he created them.
— Francisco de Bobadilla
The second Monday of each October, The United States of America celebrates "Columbus Day" with a public holiday and ridiculous star-spangled parades. Grade school kids write about how wonderful he was, and high school students write reports proclaiming his brilliance and enduring courage.
He is virtually made into a sort of God, carefully placed upon a pedestal of complete ignorance. In fact, when I was growing up, this is the only portrayal of the man that I came in contact with until college. Imagine my surprise! Well, not total surprise, but for my entire life, I had been conditioned to believe that he was some sort of heroic demi-God. Quite the opposite.
Many college students who take history classes, and many indigenous peoples from around the world, in contrast, opt to protest the holiday in respect for the countless nations and peoples decimated by Christopher Columbus. As George P. Horse Capture writes, "No sensible Indian person can celebrate the arrival of Columbus." Nor, I should add, can any sensible person who knows anything of his history!
"The worshipful biographical vignettes of Columbus in our textbooks serve to indoctrinate students into a mindless endorsement of colonialism that is strikingly inappropriate in today's post-colonial era." – Dr. James W. Loewen
"Here was a man lived long ago,
Who dreamed a special dream.
Christopher Columbus, Christopher Columbus, Christopher Columbus,
Dreamed a special dream." – Nursery rhyme
Clearly it's long past time to stop celebrating Columbus Day as a federal US holiday. You can start by spreading the word about his atrocities and genocide, and by refusing to participate in Columbus Day activities.
— The Author of This Article
Christopher Columbus: Wikiquote. (2008, March). Retrieved December 1, 2010, from https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus
Christopher Columbus. (2008, October 09). Retrieved December 1, 2010, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus
History Department: University of Wisconsin-Superior. (2008, January). Retrieved December 1, 2010, from https://www.uwsuper.edu/acaddept/si/history/index.cfm
Louwen, J. W. (2009, August 15). Lies My Teacher Told Me. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies_My_Teacher_Told_Me
Zinn, H. (2009, October 02). A People's History of the United States. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_People's_History_of_the_United_States
Their Highnesses may see that I shall give them as much gold as they need, and slaves as many as they shall order to be shipped.
— Christopher Columbus
Questions & Answers
Question: I understand your outrage about how bad of a person he was. But what does this have to do with him being the first person from western civilization, to discover America? I understand he was a terrible person. But that doesn't change what he did for the world.
Answer: Columbus "discovered" the Americas by accident. Then, he tortured and committed genocide on tens of millions of indigenous American peoples as soon as he got there. Then, after wiping out entire cultures and civilizations (just one of which amounted to the slaughter of 8 million people), he single-handedly began the Transatlantic slave trade. To try to defend and even glorify such a person is lunacy to me.
© 2010 Kate P
Sanjay on August 17, 2020:
if at that century he really went to BHARAT (INDIA) he might be hanged on rope
Mt on June 14, 2020:
Why no out rage against the Spanish government for knowingly and allowing him to commit ties atrocities.
Finn Wong on October 28, 2019:
"We will solve the problems" Columbus says. Does a more than a double genocide on natives you say.
Jack on June 19, 2019:
There are lots of writings about Columbus and other explorers throughout history ... including the barbaric enslavement of many throughout the centuries .. even up til modern times .. here in our hemisphere with human trafficking .. Columbus was actually thought to be a brave, skillful navigator despite many shortcomings ...he's a part of so-called 'modern history' as any evil or saintly person or personalities ....
Pray 4our nation! on June 04, 2019:
Many of these comments are ridiculously sick & sad.. This is PROVEN history people like it or not! Do your own research.. To defend evil (cc) or any/all like him on any level is 100% delusional lunacy - God help u /us..
Kinlyn on January 15, 2019:
He didn't do all of this. It is not his fault that he led people to do these things. He was trying to find a faster way to India but instead ACCIDENTALLY bumped his ship into the Americas, thinking it was India. He did not cut off people's noses and hands. It was people he brought to America. When he discovered it, he was elated! How would you feel if you discovered a whole new continent? You would immediately run back home to tell you friends, family, and everyone else. Back then slaves were natural. Most people wouldn't think anything about it. Back then it was natural to try and conquer lands. Just because he did a few bad things and invited bad people to the Americas doesn't mean that he is a horrible person and did tons of horrible things. If you are in the USA in your last comment, you wouldn't be here because we would not be as developed, and we might have been owned by someone still. Lots of good things wouldn't have happened if Columbus wouldn't have come. Try looking at all the good things he did, not all the horrible things he accidentally caused.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on December 22, 2018:
@Yayateejan Dieng - Yes, it's historical fact.
Yayateejan Dieng on December 22, 2018:
Is it true he had actually done this
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on October 08, 2018:
@R Wilson, I see your perspective, and to some extent I agree. Society does shape us, and what's considered "acceptable" changes depending on what society is willing to put up with. But I would argue that Columbus was considered an extremist even in his day, as Francisco de Bobadilla described at the time: "Columbus' government was characterized by a form of tyranny. Even those who loved him had to admit the atrocities that had taken place. Now one can understand why he was sacked and we can see that there were good reasons for doing so. The monarchs wanted someone who did not give them problems. Columbus did not solve problems, he created them."
R Wilson on August 16, 2018:
Columbus was a normal man of strong ambition in an age of bigotry, intolerance, arrogance and cruelty. He wasn't so much the problem as the result of his society (which was the populace). Let us beware that we don't allow our society (which is us) to condone bigotry, intolerance, arrogance and cruelty or we may all become Columbus. History always repeats itself- that's why we keep paying attention to it.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on July 10, 2018:
@Meltonmark, The article has 63,795 views, so it's not quite as bad as all that! :)
Meltonmark on July 10, 2018:
Sad to think that out of 7 billion [people on the planet today, only 841 seem to have read/voted this article.
Seth Anderson on January 02, 2018:
Christopher Columbus was not an evil man. You have forgotten that Columbus was a spiritual man, who believed in God. His journals say that he felt inspired by God to go and find the promised land. After getting the support of the King and Queen of Spain, he set sail. On the long journey to the Americas, he held church sessions regularly with his crew. When his crew threatened mutiny, and Columbus was able to negotiate for three more days before they cut his head off and turned the ship around, he was found in his room, praying and reading the Bible constantly.
Kristin on October 20, 2017:
Yes I know it's me again and I would like if you would put up my comment just so people can see that even little girls like me are actually learning and figuring out the history and things that happened before I was born.i want them to see that we kids are trying to learn, are trying to see why and how things happened. I just want the people to know
With all due respect Kristin Acousta
14, 8 th grade, New York
Kristin on October 20, 2017:
He is so disgusting I can't even belive it I'm 14, I am studying about Christopher Columbus in school and reading this is tragic
MaryR on September 18, 2017:
I have known for many years through reading accurate histories of the US (starting with Howard Zinn) that much of what we teach is more akin to propaganda and myth rather than a fair or reasonable depiction of our past.
Yet when I discuss with people the truth about Columbus or our revered founding fathers, or the war monger nature of the US foreign policy for all but about 11 years of our existence, people do not want to hear it and look at me as if I am nuts.
This is particularly true of those on the religious right who profess to adhere to the ethics and morality taught by Jesus Christ but are worried someone in the family might lose a job if the "defense" aka the "war" budget is cut. They do not worry about the people destroyed by American bombs. Contrast this to demonized Iran, which last attacked another country around year 1798.
So it is true that Columbus was an evil slaver, abuser, torturer, and murderer who was responsible for a major genocide and for the export of the concept of a domineering white European colonialism, Columbus is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the lies and myths throughout the US political and education systems.
Thank god for the internet, which allows the truth to be told and can reach those who are truth seekers. I am 66 and we did not have this ability to communicate in my youth or even middle age. Thanks to the author for bring this to everyone's attention.
bradley moise on May 22, 2017:
no the natives where in america and canada already before all this
Jeff on February 27, 2017:
The defenders herein of Columbus' genocide are as depraved and psychotic as was he and his men.
haydn101 on October 13, 2016:
The tipoff that some of this is propaganda is when they write things such as "in 1496 there were 8 million Arawak indians and some time later there were 3 million". Really? Was there a Census Bureau counting the Indians? If population went down aren't there other explanations such as retreating into hills and forests or sailing to other islands?
Las Casas is the sole source for a lot of this information. Did he have an agenda, was he biased or accurate? Without corroboration it is not easy to say how reliable Las Casas was, especially since he arrived on Hispaniola after Columbus was long gone.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on October 13, 2015:
Thanks for your comments, I appreciate the feedback! :)
Chantelle Porter from Ann Arbor on October 13, 2015:
So much of history is whitewashed to fit the prevailing opinion. I didn't know all the gory details about CC but I'm not surprised. great job.
Wat? on October 12, 2015:
This is ridiculous and irresponsible writing. Most of it is true, but Columbus isnt really the first in anything. The romans were committing genocide at a much larger scale 1500 years prior. No one is innocent.
go to debate.org and vote! on September 29, 2015:
please do the following if you agree that Columbus day should not be continued.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on August 24, 2015:
I appreciate your comments. And it makes me feel good that a few people have learned some new information about Columbus through reading this article. Sometimes it sucks having to face the facts, but I'd much rather know the truth than go through life with blinders on! Thanks :)
poetryman6969 on February 01, 2015:
Yeah, I am over that particular holiday. Sounds like something those ISIS head choppers would do.
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on November 03, 2014:
I spent the last few decades of my life fearing to say what I really felt about this man. I wrote a poem about him but was so afraid to publish it because I blame him for what happened to the Arawaks which later led to the enslavement of Africans in the Caribbean. It was a ripple effect. He came to the Americas/Caribbean, found people here and when he met those gentle people of the Caribbean he enslaved them. These people were gentle farmers and were not used to such harsh conditions. Not only were they not fed properly but they were overworked and started to become ill. When these people died...you know the rest. It's all because of this man! I am glad that Jamaica does not celebrate this man's exploitation. I hope the US will abolish this day.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on October 14, 2014:
I have learnt the real history, thanks to you Faceless39.
I believe that Columbus Day should be renamed as Anti-Slavery, Anti-Girl Sex Trade, and Anti-Genocide Day.
Found useful, awesome and am sharing.
Thanks for sharing this hub with us.
greeneyedblondie on September 23, 2014:
I don't celebrate Columbus Day. There is nothing really worth celebrating, the only thing that would be is that Europeans and other eastern societies learns how large the Earth really is (they knew it was round, they just didn't know how big it was).
HistTeacher on October 14, 2013:
There are certain assertions on this post that really bugs me, like claiming that:
"The printing press. Increased information now allowed rulers to govern distant lands more easily. News of Columbus' findings traveled quickly back to the King and Queen of Spain"
News of Columbus findings got nothing to do with the printing press, everything that was written about the "discovery" was done BY HAND (I've read the originals). Everything was notarized and archived by hand, the press was saved only for the "Real Cedulas" or Royal Decrees.
This article refers to all the Indians as Arawak as if it's the name of the ethnic group rather the name of the people that talked the same language or related language. It's like calling US citizens Englishmen just because the language is the same is not the same people. Those massacres where done to the Taino people that inhabited the island of Quisqueya (but the name of the island is still an open issue, yet there's more evidence to corroborates that Bartolome de las Casas name it Haiti after a sector).
The author claims that after Columbus decimated the Taino people of La Española he moved to Puerto Rico to enslave them. This is impossible since, yes it's true, Columbus saw the island in 1493 naming it San Juan Bautista he did NOT settle the island, he was less than a day in the island. Columbus died in 1506 while the island was conquered in 1508 by Juan Ponce de Leon. There was an Encomendero (slaver, if you wish) in Puerto Rico by the name of Christopher but his last name was Sotomayor.
The whole conquest of the Americas was a very dark and nasty business but there's a lot of hate vented at the Spaniard for their atrocities. Yet the Spanish crown, specially Queen Isabella DID fought to protect the Indians. What the quotes posted on this page do not say it is that both Bartolome de las Casas and Christopher Columbus compared the Indians to children on their first trip, and Isabella took 'em as such. Columbus was prohibited by the crown to do the Encomienda, but since he was the viceroy he did anyways and that was one of the issues why he was arrested. The whole enslavement of the Indians and most of the atrocities took place once the queen was dead, yet both Queen Joan, King Ferdinand (on the second term) tried to stop the Encomienda, in the Antillians, specially Puerto Rico by the end of the 1520's the Indians where all free. The Encomienda is seen as slavery and yes it did for a fact made the natives work but they where paid, and they were clothed and they where provided with a priest to give em mass (yes this is seen as a terrible thing, but bare in mind that is the 1500 and it was seen as a privilege for a regular Spaniard, a sort of religious welfare).
What I'm trying to say is that too much hate is being vented to the Spaniards and much of the responsibilities, and the truth is that there was a legal system to protect them, at least on paper. The reality is that AT LEAST the Spanish Crown treated them as vassals, they had the right to complaint directly to the King and Queen as any other Spaniard would, they had their own protected lands, protected by the crown. So yeah the Spaniard were bad yet not as vicious as the treatment received by the Anglo-Saxon conquest. So if we are to vent hate, let's vent it to ALL EUROPEANS but don't demonize the Spaniards just to ignore or own horrors and atrocities.
Juanita on June 23, 2013:
Regardless, if the Native people had human sacrifices this is what they believed towards a religious stand point. Columbus is no better he massacred innocent children, raped and killed millions of people. No, he did not discover America it already was discovered by the Indigenous people. Columbus tried to promote Christianity by killing the massacre of the Natives. They also killed and tortured Jews. The church symbolizes Isabella as if she was a good person..before making such a long post.. tell the truth
ParadigmEnacted on June 09, 2013:
Grade school children should be required to report to class on Columbus Day and then their day would consist of having these things thoroughly explained to them as you have in this article. Another sick example in the sordid history of Europe and the Americas. Virtually no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Schtichman on April 25, 2013:
Christopher Columbus should have wiped out the entire indigenous population of the south American continent and finished what the natives themselves had already started LONG before any European stepped foot on the continent - there own self-annihilation. There is a great deal of evidence that clearly substantiates an enormous and widespread societal decay throughout the entire continent. One example is the overpopulation for such a small continent. Another would be the rampant in-and-out-fighting of the major native tribes. And yet another is how advanced the south Americans really were in many things: agriculture, astronomy, science & mathematics, art & and architecture, domestication of animals, tools, predicting the weather and making plans of plant/grow/harvest of food crops, and so forth - more so than all of the European states combined (the only thing they really fell short of is military development and the weaponry).
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on October 29, 2012:
Thanks anon, I'm glad you enjoyed it! And clauiasdjsdjd, thank you for your informative and enlightening comment.
anon on October 25, 2012:
love this articale I never thought I would learn so muck on a cumputer at all . I only looked up because I have a report on it I never thought it would be so good.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on July 30, 2012:
Columbus Day is used by the government for various reasons, but I propose we stop celebrating it and educate people about the truth instead.
Thanks very much for your comments. I tried to be as true to history as I could, so I'm glad it's making a difference.
Harkings on July 30, 2012:
Whoa!! I never knew. Until the point where I was listenig to Steve Berry on the bookreportradio.com, I had always thought of Columbus as a jolly Spanish-like sailor that found the Americas, and proved that the world wasn't flat. Now it turns out he was an absolute monster. Although seen in context to the atrocities that were going on in Europe, his seem a litle docile. But still, no man of God can claim to do such things, as what Columbus (and his men) did to the Arawaks. Remind me - why do we celebrate Columbus day?!
Charles Hilton on July 14, 2012:
I'm brimming with joy at having discovered this hub---right on the heels of my having finished the pioneering, but, controversial book by Michael Bradley ~ The Iceman Inheritance: Prehistoric sources of Western Man's Racism, Sexism and Aggression.
You brought up some issues that the books I have reserved on Amazon deal with, namely, the African discovery of America. And I can't wait to read Bradley's other works, including The Columbus Conspiracy.
And there's also Christopher Columbus and the African Holocaust: Slavery and the rise of European Capitalism by John Henrik Clark.
Apparently you read much of the same material that I read and it's refreshing to know I'm not alone on here.
To the Columbus apologists who try to rationalize white atrocities by blaming the shortcomings of indigenous peoples; I say, if the conquering Europeans didn't like what they encountered, they could have gone back home, or at the very least, minded their own business and chose to co-exist peacefully with the natives. But, that's not what the Europeans had in mind---obviously.
As for the cannibalism they love to cite as justification for European brutality; very few tribes of Amerindians actually practiced it and most of it was in Central America. But, that ignores the fact that cannibalism is universal and was never limited to the American Hemisphere, so, the European revulsion of it back then rings hollow, especially as a justification for the even more repulsive violence they inflicted on the natives in the names of God and Gold.
But, truth has always been unpopular, especially when it contradicts the cherished mythologies of the victors. After all, history is written by the conquerors.
Thank you for giving us a more honest account.
Informative, fascinating and well-written hub!
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on April 18, 2012:
I learned about the "real" Columbus in college, and though I wasn't surprised, I was shocked at the details. Kind of makes you wonder what else our government has "changed" in our school textbooks, and in history.
Thanks for the great comments.
Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on March 07, 2012:
Very well done article. Even as a child, I didn't think Christopher Columbus was to be lauded as a hero. He invaded another's land and I couldn't ever condone his part in slavery. The fairy tale is nice, but, sorry, not one of his fans.
Scott Stephenson from United States, OH on February 19, 2012:
I was reading an article a few months back that went to great lengths trying to prove that America was founded on the Christian religion. That's a bunch of bull, but anyways the author in so many words stated that if we deny America's Christian heritage, then we might as well deny all that Christopher Columbus stood for. I laughed lol! It just goes to show that Christians are only concerned about one thing... power and wealth. Good Article!
kelly103 on January 30, 2012:
your info was really helpful to me and hope you make more writing about it i enjoy it alot thanks
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on January 07, 2012:
Thanks for reading and commenting. It really is amazing what passes for history these days. Glad I could shed some light on an interesting and important character in history!
C.L Missouri on December 07, 2011:
Thank you for this eye opening article. I am shocked and disgusted by the real history of this celebrated scum of human existance. To think that I along with my family celebrated this "man" is stomach turning and I will forever seek forgiveness from those that suffered, died, and that were enslaved.
Thanks again for taking the effort to put this together for all to read and learn.
Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on October 19, 2011:
A great review on an inmportant man in history. I really enjoyed reading it. Voted up.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on October 10, 2011:
To James A Watkins -- I will respectfully disagree. My article is *thoroughly* sourced and documented. There's nothing wrong with your thoughts--I respect them and you're entitled to them. But if you want to talk history, I've got the sources, the quotes, the books, and the PhD authors to back up my version of events. I'm not sure who is going to back up your version of events.
Lola on October 10, 2011:
When the Europeans came here this continent was pristine, as it had been for the thousands of years of being inhabited by real people. You could drink the water from rivers, the air was pure, animal populations thrived, and the humans managed the land in a sustainable way. Look at it now. James Watkins should try really hard to extricate his head from between his buttocks. Columbus WAS a genocidal maniac. He suffered from that white man disease of thinking himself superior because of his race and culture (much like Mr Watkins - who sounds like a Nazi to me). As to disease decimating the Indians by accident, it is well known that diseases were deliberately given through infected blankets. Europeans themselves were a plague to this continent.
schummi on October 10, 2011:
I can't understand why there are still so many people that cling to the "old" version of Columbus' story when it's been established for quite some time now that he was a horrible person. I live in New Haven, CT, where the headquarters of the Knight of Columbus is located. Why does that group insist on venerating this maniac???!!! Everywhere you turn in my town there is some reminder of Columbus and it's disgusting! If Italians need a historical figure to be proud of and to honor with a holiday why not choose Leonardo, Michelangelo or even Marconi?
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 10, 2011:
Columbus OH discarded a huge statue of Christopher Columbus that had been installed on Columbus Community College Campus. Discarded because of the controversies and growing negative evidence (letters cited in above article) surrounding his exploration of the West Indies and for its huge size that brought additional comments about the inhumanities discovered, the statue has been passed among several other places and lies somewhere in storage, according to news reports of summer '11. I am glad it is gone.
James A Watkins from Chicago on October 10, 2011:
This was a tragedy of great magnitude, but the term "genocide" is both anachronistic and wrongly applied in that, with a few gruesome exceptions, the European transmission of disease was not deliberate. As William McNeill points out in Plagues and Peoples, Europeans themselves probably contracted the bubonic plague in the fourteenth century as a result of contagion from the Mongols of Central Asia-some twenty-five million (one third of the population) died, and the plague recurred on the continent for the next three hundred years. Multicultural advocates do not call this "genocide."
So why did European attitudes toward the Indian, initially so favorable, subsequently change? The reason given by the explorers themselves is that Columbus and those who followed him came into sudden, unexpected, and gruesome contact with the customary practices of some other Indian tribes. They were appalled at the magnitude of cannibalism and human sacrifice.
On his second voyage Columbus was horrified to discover that a number of the sailors he left behind had been killed and possibly eaten by the cannibalistic Arawaks.
Indeed the Aztecs on a regular basis consumed human flesh in a stew with peppers and tomatoes, and children were regarded as a particular delicacy. Cannibalism was prevalent among the Aztecs, Guarani, Iroquois, Caribs, and several other tribes.
Multicultural textbooks, committed to a contemporary version of the noble savage portrait, cannot acknowledge historical facts that would embarrass the morality tale of white invaders despoiling the elysian harmony of the Americans. Seeking to avoid an acknowledgment of Western cultural superiority, relativism ends up denying the possibility of truth.
The charge of genocide is largely sustained by figures showing the precipitous decline of the Indian population. Undoubtedly the Indians perished in great numbers but the vast majority of Indian casualties occurred not as a result of hard labor or deliberate destruction but because of contagious diseases that the Europeans transmitted to the Indians.
The spread of infection and unhealthy patterns of behavior was also reciprocal. From the Indians the Europeans contracted syphilis. The Indians also taught the white man about tobacco and cocaine, which would extract an incalculable human toll over the next several centuries. The Europeans, for their part, gave the Indians measles and smallpox.
The reason advocates of multiculturalism charge Columbus with genocide is that they need to explain how small groups of Europeans were able to defeat overwhelming numbers of Indians, capsize their mighty native empires, and seize their land. Hernan Cortes rode into Mexico with around five hundred men, sixteen horses, and a few dozen long-barrel guns. The Aztec force that he faced numbered more than a million. When Gonzalo Pizarro confronted the Inca he had three ships, 150 men, one cannon, and thirty horses. The Incas had several hundred thousand troops ruling over a population of several million. Yet the Aztecs and the Incas were routed.
The Indians were defeated and massacred because they encountered a Spanish civilization that was superior both in the sophistication of its arms and its ideas. Even today, Vargas Llosa argues, the principles of the West continue to shape the modern world, and "the nations that reject those values are anachronisms condemned to various versions of despotism
Long before Columbus, Indian tribes raided each other's land and preyed on the possessions and persons of more vulnerable groups. What distinguished Western colonialism was neither occupation nor brutality but a countervailing philosophy of rights that is unique in human history.
Pope Paul III, proclaimed in his bull Sublimis Deus in 1537: "Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by the Christians are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen it shall be null and of no effect. Indians and other peoples should be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ by preaching the word of God and by the example of good and holy living."
At its deepest level, multiculturalism represents a denial of all Western claims to truth. Barbara Johnson, identifies the multicultural project with "the deconstruction of the foundational ideals of Western civilization." To do it, activists draw heavily on such leftist movements as Marxist deconstructionism.
Cultural relativism-the presumed equality of all cultures-is the intellectual foundation of contemporary multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is based on the relativist assumption that since all cultures are inherently equal, differences of power, wealth, and achievement between them are most likely due to oppression.
Columbus has metamorphosed from a grand crusader into a genocidal maniac and a precursor to Hitler. American Indians are now beyond reproach, canonized as moral and ecological saints. All of this is nothing but multiculturalist pap.
Genocide implies that Columbus, with malice and aforethought, foresaw and wanted millions of Indians to die. There is absolutely zero evidence that this is true. The charge of genocide is totally false and comes from sheer hatred of Western Civilization—the best brightest hope for humankind.
Asahda Shavaja Poet of the New Age from New York City on October 09, 2011:
"without this connection, America as we know it would not exist". Is that such a bad thing considering how we know it? Great hub writer. I always knew something was fishy. ;)
ProColumbus on October 07, 2011:
I disagree with many of the premises used in this article. Columbus established the first bridge of communication between the two continents. This uncontended fact alone deserves all the glory he has been credited with. Without this connection, America as we know it would not exist, and Europe, and the world in general, would be a very different place. There was no 'discovery', but real discovery. Please note that I do not condone any racism or cruel wrongdoing whatsoever on his side, for which I believe he should be judged harshly by serious historians based on the existing evidence. I do applaud his Discovery of a New World.
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on September 28, 2011:
Thanks to all who have had kind words for me here. This article took a lot of work and reading, bookmarking, underlining, and editing to get right. It's always nice to hear back that this is appreciated.
I'm glad as well to see such an overwhelming support for this information. Thank you!
platinumOwl4 on June 09, 2011:
Cristobal Colon AKA Christopher Columbus. He was returned to Spain in chains When it was learned how abusive he was. I think it's the Bee gees that have a song and part of the lyrics are "living in a world of fools" There is a movie staring Richard Geer and one of the characters says, "all the citizens want to do is .... their wives, watch football and eat pizza. Yes, the masses don't want to know antything but what the television guides them to.
zduckman on April 07, 2011:
GREAT Hub !!!!
I am right there with you !!!
In San Francisco they have dubbed that holiday Indigenous Peoples Day
Oh and another thing ...how could he have discovered America, if there was a thriving civilization here. Not to mention , he thought he was in India
John on December 02, 2010:
I love my country. But really the history books make it seem like christopher columbus was a hero. NO ....he enslaved, captured and worked those poor natives for gold.
He didn't discover America he invaded America. Great article by the way truthful
Reina on September 29, 2010:
I think this was a very helpful article and I'm rather disgusted that this isn't what they teach us in schools. I agree that everything that I've learned I learned on my own.
jambo87 on September 11, 2010:
I just started reading Howard Zinn's book and I'm loving it. This hub brought my attention to it, thanks!
Helen from New York on August 18, 2010:
It's surprising to me that Columbus is so revered in the United States. I have read both of the history books you list here, and strongly recommend them to anyone who seeks to know the truth of our history and government. You did an excellent job bringing the facts to life in a short and easily read article. Thank you Faceless39 for exposing these truths to a larger audience. And I do not celebrate Columbus day. To do so would be to support the lowest level of humanity. Thank you.
RunAbstract from USA on August 11, 2010:
This is a wonderful article! The research is extensive, and very appreciated. It is so weird to me how history books seldom teach the real history, or history from more than one point of view. You did a VERY good job with this article, and I am glad to have read it! Thanks!
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on July 30, 2010:
You're right Jambo87; most people don't give a damn if they know anything (isn't that what the internet's for?) :) But that doesn't mean the rest of us should have to suffer because the world's populated by a bunch of idiots. Or, wait, maybe that is exactly what it means lol.
At the college level, I know so many dental students who are doing it for recognition and wealth. It's not just sad, but scary. Education used to be fun, but somehow now it's just a means by which to get money.
I still read books, I still keep an active mind--and I still question the government's intentions in dumbing-down our society!
jambo87 on July 29, 2010:
Yeah, the education in this country does need revamping, but I feel like most people don't give a damn if they know anything anyway.
At the college level, I know so many business majors who are just doing it for the prospect of wealth, rather than wanting to know everything they can about business. (Sorry to pick on them, just an example).
Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on July 27, 2010:
Hi Jambo87.. I totally agree. I think it's a little odd that we "celebrate" Columbus with a public holiday. I'm not really sure how that came about, but whoever chose the holiday certainly didn't know a thing about the man. The Vikings were there before him, and many other explorers. His name stuck because Europe was finally open to the "age of exploration" -- in other words, he just got lucky. As for American public schools, having been through the system myself, I don't think I learned a thing the whole time. Everything I know I learned on my own. The system needs desperately to be scrapped and started over again!
jambo87 on July 22, 2010:
I'm right there with you. Columbus Day should be a memorial for the dead and enslaved, not the glorification of a genocidal imbecile. The Greek's estimated the circumference of the globe rather accurately well before Columbus' time. But the ignorant Columbus chose to make his own guess and those famous three ships would have been nothing more than a sad tale of foolishness had he not been lucky and ran into Hispaniola. I have never heard of the Phoenicians reaching America - interesting. Nonetheless, the Vikings were there before Columbus too.
I hate that American school children are raised to revere this squalid man.