The US once again celebrates Columbus day – and again disappoints those who oppose ruthless murder and exploitation. Murder, slavery, and rape of indigenous peoples was common among Columbus’s crew – and Columbus forced the natives to work the gold mines as slaves and killed those who refused. Columbus’s lust for gold corrupted his mind and made him a slave himself to coin. Five years ago I wrote an article in the Iowa State Daily talking about just this… I remember receiving a lot of negative comments on the opinion piece but my stance on the topic remains the same – I will not support or give honor to a man with such an unscrupulous coin grabbing lunatic.
Columbus is considered by many to be a villain, not only did he ruthlessly murder thousands of natives but also engaged in acts of torture in his role as viceroy. During his second voyage, he enslaved and murdered the natives of Hispanola named the Taino Indians. Within a short time (two and a half years) an approximate number of two hundred and fifty thousand Taino were dead. The funny thing about it is that his descriptions of the natives goes as follows:
“So tractable, so peaceable, are these people, that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy.”
This was written by Columbus (translated into English) after his first journey, after his return home and reward of gold and fame his intentions and treatment of the Indians quickly readjusted into full out gold collection mode regardless of loss of life of what he perceived to be an inferior race. The promise of 10% of all treasures discovered certainly added to Columbus’s drive for treasure, which he and the Spanish singlemindedly pursued until virtually all the natives were dead and most of the gold had been harvested or stolen.
The murders, rapes, and mutilations done by Columbus and his men are rarely mentioned in today’s society. Columbus’s role as slave trader and murderer extraordinaire are not written about or mentioned during this most unfit of holidays. The total deaths attributed to Columbus in the first four years is in the range of four million innocent souls. The use of Indian bodies as food for the dogs is well documented, as well as Columbus and his men sport of hunting innocent men, women, and children in their spare time.
Just as we do not have holidays celebrating Hitler, we should not have holidays celebrating Columbus.
A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
Bartolomé de las Casas in 1542 (published in 1552)