On this day each year, many state and federal offices will be closed to remember the man who wrote “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.” Today we remember the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, while largely ignoring savage atrocities he wrought upon the indigenous people of the New World.
We should not celebrate his torture of locals to learn the source of the gold jewelry they wore. We should not celebrate herding 1,500 human beings into a pen, only to select “the five hundred best specimens” for a return trip to Spain to collect a bounty (only 300 souls survived the voyage). We should not celebrate a man who then returned with seventeen ships, to “go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.” Those that weren’t collected for bounty, were forced to search for gold; if they failed to meet their quota, they “had their hands cut off and bled to death.”
The bloody history of the man who “discovered America” was so horrific, indigenous people often killed their own children to spare them a lifetime in bondage; mass suicides were commonplace among the Arawak people. “Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.” Those Columbus oppressed seemed to be saying “give me liberty, or give me death.”
Take time to learn real American history, before you celebrate today. #AbolishColumbusDay