Columbus Day……..Of Reckoning


Tanner Hardcastle, Writer

Columbus Day is a holiday in the United States that is celebrated on the second Monday of every October. Columbus Day honors and commemorates Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World and Americas on October 12, 1492. For many this holiday is a celebration of Italian-American heritage and the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus, but for a growing number of people,  it just isn’t worth celebrating and for a multitude of reasons. Should we really stop celebrating Columbus Day? The answer to the question is, to many, a solid yes. One argument is that Christopher Columbus never even stepped foot on mainland America, in fact, Columbus landed in modern day Cuba. To add to that point, Christopher Columbus wasn’t even the first person to discover these new lands. Many before, which include Leif Erikson, Amerigo Vespucci, and some even believe the Chinese, found America before Columbus. However, the primary reason for so many leaving behind Columbus Day was the way the indigenous people were treated by Christopher Columbus and his crew; mass genocide of the natives, as well as thousands of indigenous people sold into slavery. The Huffington post wrote that “If Christopher Columbus were alive today, he would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Columbus’ reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was so bloody, his legacy so unspeakably cruel, that Columbus makes a modern villain like Saddam Hussein look like a pale codfish.” and that “…Governor Francisco De Bobadilla arrested Columbus and his two brothers, slapped them into chains, and shipped them off to Spain to answer for their crimes against the Arawak. But the King and Queen of Spain, their treasury filling up with gold, pardoned Columbus and let him go free.” The population of Hispaniola was believed to be around 3 million in this time period, because of the mass genocide and rape of the natives, within 50 years there was not a single original native inhabitant left in Hispaniola. This is an unimaginable event to the majority of people in our present day, something like this just wouldn’t, absolutely couldn’t happen in our present day. As hard as it is to imagine, this was an event that happened. In the end, what is very bizarre, is that our society openly celebrates and honors Christopher Columbus, a man who committed a very many heinous and inconceivable crimes against millions of peaceful and happy indigenous people.