Rethinking Columbus Day Essay

1151 words - 5 pages

In the early years of our nation's history, Christopher Columbus was raised to hero status by writers and historians for allegedly founding the Americas. These documents and recollections made a significant impact and Columbus was given a national holiday that has been celebrated annually since 1971. However, Columbus Day is a holiday unrightfully given to a man who is undeserving of this admiration. Christopher Columbus is responsible for leading the killings of countless Native Americans and claiming title to land that was not rightfully his. Columbus Day should be abolished on accounts of Columbus' blatant disrespect for and mass murders of American Indians, illegitimate land claims, and the fact that Columbus does not equate to those deserving of national holidays.Christopher Columbus had no concern for the rights of American Indians and enslaved and killed them. Columbus captured the Indians to sell them as a profit in Spain and made them his personal slaves. Columbus would go as far as riding on their backs for transportation. This was an accepted trait of the new society that Columbus and his followers created. Another accepted concept was that it was nothing out of the ordinary to slaughter the Indians for little or no apparent reason. From almost the moment Columbus landed in the New World, he and his men committed horrendous acts against the Native Americans. In A Short Account Of The Destruction Of the Indies, by Bartolome de Las Casas, the slaughters are graphically described:[The Spaniards] forced their way into native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords... They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to slice a man in two at a stroke... they grabbed suckling infants by the feet... and dashed them headlong against the rocks.Columbus is not only unethical for these incredibly inhuman attitudes and acts towards Indian Americans, but also unjust for claiming land that he did not discover. Columbus is known for "founding America," however a small site, L'Anse aux Meadows, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada indicate, that there are remains of a Viking village. They were discovered in 1960 by the Norwegian explorer Dr. Helge Ingstad and his archaeologist wife, Anne Stine Ingstad. They stated that this particular settlement dated back to more than 500 years earlier than Columbus' arrival in North America. Another claim was made in place of Rodrigo de Triana, a sailor aboard the Pinta, who was the first to see light reflecting in the distance, but was told that it was nothing of importance. Later that night it was clear that the light seen earlier was the moon reflecting off of the white sands of an island, which is now part of the Bahamas. Columbus did not rightfully acknowledge his fellow sailor of the claim made earlier, and was rewarded with the...

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