Monday, October 12, 2015

Columbus was a mass killer and father of the slave trade

Why do we celebrate Columbus Day?
Christopher Columbus: Time to recognize other great Italians on Columbus Day not a murderous tyrant.
Christopher Columbus: Time to recognize other great Italians on Columbus Day not a murderous tyrant. Photo by: Wikimedia
Christopher Columbus is a polarizing historical figure whose life has been defined, by many, for his astonishing level of courage and intestinal fortitude; nevertheless, such impressive traits should never blur the fact that he oversaw a murderous quest for material riches that resulted in the utter demise of a people. Each year, as October 12 comes and goes, a question is raised – what are we celebrating about his life?
Christopher Columbus was an immensely talented mariner who navigated the Santa Maria and two other smaller ships across the Atlantic Ocean in search of Asia. However, he and his crew inadvertently arrived in the New World on October 12, 1492. Their long and arduous journey was driven by one clear objective – to find and establish a long-term source of wealth, preferably gold, for the King and Queen of Spain.
In return, Columbus would be allotted 10 percent of the profits, governorship over new-found land, and awarded the prestigious title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Upon arriving in the islands, which we now refer to as the Bahamas, Columbus and his crew first encountered the Arawaks. It was at that fateful juncture in human history that he made two keen observations regarding these indigenous people. Firstly, they were docile and trusting in nature; and, secondly, they wore gold jewelry. Columbus’s own words from his personal journal capture the ominous fate that awaited the Arawaks:
"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 spears are made of cane. They would make fine servants. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."
READ MORE: The forgotten voyager - the story of an Irishman who discovered America and inspired Columbus’ voyages.
The concept of private property and the pursuit of material riches had reached a frenzied pitch within 15th century Europe. As an independent contractor, Christopher Columbus recognized the seemingly limitless economic potential of the land he had “discovered.”
It was at this point in time that his bravery had begun to shift to sheer brutality. This transition within his personality was encapsulated in many of the notes that he had sent to the King and Queen of Spain to bolster expectations. In one particular note he promised “as much gold as they need and as many slaves as they ask.”
Soon thereafter, he and his men kidnapped a number of the Arawaks and forced them to identify other sources of gold throughout the region.
With an extensive arsenal of advanced weaponry/horses, Columbus and his men, arrived on the islands that were later named Cuba and Hispaniola (present day Dominican Republic / Haiti). Upon arrival, the sheer magnitude of gold, which was readily available, set into motion a relentless wave of murder, rape, pillaging, and slavery that would forever alter the course of human history.
A young, Catholic priest named Bartolom√© de las Casas transcribed Columbus’s journals and later wrote about the violence he had witnessed. The fact that such crimes could potentially go unnoticed by future generations was deeply troubling to him. He expanded upon the extent of Columbus’s reign of terror within his multivolume book entitled the "History of the Indies":
"There were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over 3,000,000 people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it."
Such words offer the reader a firsthand account of the state-sponsored genocide that the Spanish Empire had financed through Columbus. Clearly, the intent of the Spanish Empire was to eradicate the islands of indigenous people through slavery and violence. In doing so they had further established their already dominant political / economic standing within Europe. In a matter of years, Columbus and his men decimated the indigenous people of the Caribbean islands.

The fact that Columbus Day is celebrated each October is a testament to the intellectual dishonesty that has stemmed from the likes of academics, teachers, and politicians. It has become an annual ritual to sanitize history and present half-truths as absolutes. In 1937, Columbus Day was officially established as a federal holiday in the United States; however, to this day it is not observed in Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and South Dakota. Source

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