Columbus Day should not be celebrated because Christopher Columbus was a brutal conqueror who enslaved and murdered Native Americans. Columbus also brought diseases to the Americas that killed millions of people. Celebrating Columbus Day is a celebration of genocide and oppression.
Columbus Day Shouldn’t Be a Holiday It has been popular for several centuries to regard Christopher Columbus as a hero. Students in elementary schools across the United States are taught that he discovered America. However, there were many indigenous people already living on the land and the Vikings arrived in America almost 500 years before Columbus.
In addition, Columbus brought disease and enslaved the Native Americans. For these reasons, Columbus Day should not be celebrated as a national holiday. Christopher Columbus has been revered as a great explorer and hero for centuries. However, there are many who believe that he does not deserve this honor. Columbus was not the first person to discover America. There were already people living in America when Columbus arrived. In fact, the Vikings arrived in America almost 500 years before Columbus. Moreover, Columbus brought disease and enslaved the Native Americans.
Christopher Columbus has been held up as a great explorer and hero for centuries. However, many people do not believe that he deserves this honor. Columbus was not the first person to discover America. There were already people living in America when Columbus arrived. In fact, the Vikings arrived in America almost 500 years before Columbus. Columbus also brought disease and enslaved the Native Americans.
On the other side of the pond, Columbus was known to have committed numerous ethnic massacres; he incited his men to rape, torture, disfigure, and enslave indigenous people. In comparison to his terrible deeds, Columbus’ few victories are insignificant. It’s absurd for the United States to celebrate this accused Christian with a national holiday, therefore America should stop observing Columbus Day.
The first recorded Columbus Day celebration in the United States took place on October 12, 1792. The first official Columbus Day occurred in 1892, when President Harrison issued an order for the people of the United States to commemorate the day.
Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. Columbus’ journey did not just magically happen; he had support from Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. Columbus also benefited from the fact that other Europeans were actively looking for an alternative route to Asia at the time. Columbus was merely in the right place at the right time.
He did not discover America; this is a myth that has been debunked time and time again. In addition, Columbus did not even land on the present-day United States; he landed on one of the islands in the Caribbean Sea. The idea that Columbus was some great explorer is simply a farce. If anything, Columbus should be remembered for his brutality and cruelty towards indigenous people, not for his so-called discovery of America.
Columbus’ atrocities began soon after he arrived in the West Indies. In his journal, Columbus wrote about the Arawak Indians: “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance.
They have no iron…. Their houses are very clean.” Columbus went on to describe how he ordered six of the Arawaks to be seized so that he could take them back to Spain and sell them as slaves. Columbus wrote that he let his men cut off the hands of any Arawak who did not bring him enough gold, and then they would stuff their mouths with gold dust “so that it would be clear that they had brought what was required.” Columbus admitted that many of the Arawaks committed suicide rather than go through such torture.
The Arawaks were not the only indigenous people to suffer at Columbus’ hands. Columbus and his men also viciously enslaved and killed the Caribs, another group of Native Americans who inhabited the Caribbean islands. The Caribs were fierce warriors, and Columbus and his men were afraid of them. As a result, Columbus ordered his men to kill any Carib they came across.
Columbus’ journal includes the following entry: “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold… . And from here one might send, in the name of the Holy Trinity, as many slaves as could be sold.” In other words, Columbus saw nothing wrong with enslaving and murdering indigenous people in the name of Christianity.
The atrocities committed by Columbus and his men did not go unnoticed. Several Spanish priests who were on Columbus’ journeys wrote about his brutality. Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish colonist who witnessed Columbus’ cruelty firsthand, wrote: “The Spaniards…thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting off their hands and noses to test the sharpness of their blades.”
Las Casas also wrote that Columbus once ordered “a dog to be brought to him, and then had silken scarfs and gloves tied around its neck and mouth so that it couldn’t bark. This done, he ordered his men to set fire to the map, holding the dog in the flames. As it writhed in agony, Columbus exclaimed: ‘See how well answered Spain treats traitors!’”
The Knights of Columbus worked hard to get the holiday legalized. Colorado became the first state to do so in 1907. New York followed suit in 1909. On October 14, 1971, Columbus Day was made a federal holiday (Library of Congress). “Where there is greatest need for re-education,” according to Peter McDonald and Lynn Anderson, “is in recognizing that Columbus’ violent concept of conquest has not been abandoned even today.”
Columbus’ arrival in the Americas fueled the beginning of centuries of genocide against Native Americans. The United States celebrates Columbus Day to commemorate the day that Christopher Columbus arrived in America. However, Columbus Day should not be celebrated because Columbus committed atrocities against Native Americans and initiated centuries of genocide.
Some people argue that Columbus Day should be celebrated because Columbus was a great explorer. However, what these people fail to realize is that Columbus’ arrival in the Americas initiated centuries of genocide against Native Americans. Columbus’ arrival also brought diseases that killed millions of Native Americans. Therefore, Columbus Day should not be celebrated because Columbus was responsible for initiating centuries of genocide against Native Americans.
In conclusion, Columbus Day should not be celebrated because Columbus was responsible for initiating centuries of genocide against Native Americans. Columbus’ arrival in the Americas also brought diseases that killed millions of Native Americans. Therefore, celebrating Columbus Day is an insult to Native Americans.