Cancel Columbus Day

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Christopher Columbus is accredited to being a great historical figure in American history for finding America. He has been labeled a historical hero, which is a title I feel he doesn’t rightfully deserve.

Columbus has been known as the man who discovered America. This is false because before Columbus, Vikings, such as Leif Eriksson, had found the “New World” (otherwise known as America) at least four hundred years before he had. Columbus had never even stepped foot in America and had instead washed-up up the shores of Guanahani, an island in the Bahamas and other islands off the coast of North America.

Columbus was a shell of a man who was greedy and only exploited the king and queen of Spain and destroyed the lives of those native to the islands on which he “discovered.”

Beginning in 1484, Columbus spent months begging for funds to find new trade routes to Asia, otherwise known as the Indies. He began by going to the king of Portugal, King John ll. Since there was a well-set route in place already, the king was unwilling to assist him. Columbus then went to Spain and began begging for support from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He was rejected at least twice, but he was finally granted patronage in 1486 when he agreed to help spread Christianity to the nation.

Columbus set sail on three ships on August 3, 1492. He and his men sailed the seas for a lengthy period of time on the Pinta, the Niña, and Santa Maria. This was the first of four trips to the Americas that Columbus made. During each of these trips, more ships were needed. Soon the fleet of three ships nearly tripled in size by the time he was done traveling to and fro from the area. These trips were made to only fuel his greed and desires of wealth and fame, neither of which he achieved for a lengthy period of time.

Upon arrival on his first voyage on October 11, Columbus thought he had accomplished the goal of reaching the Indies by a new route and he was quite pleased with himself. He believed that the natives he came across were inhabitants of the Indies as well, and he referred to them as Indians.

Columbus’s treatment of these natives was foul and inhumane. He also mistreated the men living on the Canary Islands, which he had visited during his journey before setting foot on the soil of Guanahani. Columbus was said to have sent back “artifacts,” to the royalty of Spain, however, these artifacts included the people whom he forced into slavery.

Even though Columbus had traveled under the order of spreading Christianity, his actions were less than holy. He sold the native people into slavery and in doing so, ripped them from their cultures, their land, and their loved ones.

Christopher Columbus is not a hero but a vile man who should be acknowledged as such. He is undeserving of a holiday named after him and I support the efforts to change the name of Christopher Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day to honor all the people mistreated and ignored by honoring Columbus Day.

While we cannot go back in time and prevent Columbus from treating the natives the way he did, we can move forward and try to amend his mistakes by refusing to honor him for his actions. We can educate ourselves and ensure that he is known for all of his actions, even if they were horrendous and barbaric.