Columbus Day or Lie Day

North Americans celebrate today, Columbus day, as a mere method of generating a great “sense” of nationalism and to promote Occidentalism via grand herofication of imperialism; I do not celebrate this day due to the historical injustices taught in schools. Thus, I will spend today in my study working as a sign of protest. How can we as historians allow such grand lies to be accepted by a population that wants to be ignorant of historical truths? Only in the United States do they call the truth about Columbus “revisionist history.” Keep in mind that states such as Arizona refused to make Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a holiday. Noted North Carolina’s Republican [racist] Jesse Helms once stated that “his state should not accept this federal holiday because King had not done anything important.” He also pointed out that he was a Marxist who opposed the Vietnam War. Why is it that every progressive educated black person must be a Marxist? President Reagan also opposed this holiday, too. But, Americans continue to lie about the purity of Columbus. Sounds more like jingoism than nationalism. Tyler Look, a current student of mine, sent me this article on how some schools are addressing the dark side of Columbus.

Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States devotes an entire chapter to this topic. Below is an excerpt stating:

… because of Columbus’s exaggerated report and promises, his second expedition was given seventeen ships and more than twelve hundred men. The aim was clear: slaves and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives. But as word spread of the Europeans’ intent they found more and more empty villages. On Haiti, they found that the sailors left behind at Fort Navidad had been killed in a battle with the Indians, after they had roamed the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor.
Now, from his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend. In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were “naked as the day they were born,” they showed “no more embarrassment than animals.” Columbus later wrote: “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

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11 Comments

Filed under Columbus, Cultural Wars, Dr. King

11 responses to “Columbus Day or Lie Day

  1. Bryan Ericsson

    Columbus may have discovered America, but Leif came first! While I would be the good disciple and and agree wholeheartedly, Columbus did create a compelling (if not renewed if one considers the Scandinavian failure to colonize) initiative to settle the Americas. Admittedly, it was unjust and cruel in its methodology, but as a result developed an entirely new understanding of the world at large and a new era of civilization (“under the boot heel” would be the appropriate caption, but losers can’t be choosers). Columbus did commit injustices and we praise him for his ideological symbolism while MLK attempted to remedy social inequality and we find him ridiculed for his lack of action. Our concept of social values are so convoluted in these modern times that, in all frankness, if it isn’t politically correct it’s racist and if it isn’t a generalization then it’s overly sensitive.

  2. Mike Licht

    Today is “Native American Day” in South Dakota.

    Discovered: New painting of Columbus.

    See: http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/10/12/columbus-day/

  3. Eddie, I, too, am spending the day working. My goal is to get to the bottom of my Local U. essays by dinner time!

    I’m pleased to see that a more accurate view of history is being discussed. One of my students is physically revolted by the idea that, in her words “we actually CELEBRATE this guy with a HOLIDAY!” and I can’t disagree with her.

  4. I particularly liked this line:
    “Only in the United States do they call the truth about Columbus “revisionist history.”

    It would be like calling Evolution teaching in schools revisionist because (though true) contradicts tradition … oh, wait … they basically do that!

    I had totally forgot that yesterday was Columbus day until I read this post this morning. My University ignores it completely. Though, I see value in actively discussing the topic. Not only did Columbus directly cause death and suffering on a grand scale, but he opened the floodgates for centuries of it.

    Had he been a kind and gentle man, then maybe I’d be disinclined to blame him for the gate-opening (unintended consequences). But, seeing as how he was akin to an Orc out of Tolkien, I feel fine with it.

  5. Matt S

    This holiday started in COLORADO?! LOL!

    Thanks for the post, Ed. I shall take this holiday for granted no longer. Contemplation seems more appropriate for that day than celebration.

  6. I got much work done that day. Of course, in the study with the TV on.

  7. EvAn ScHaAf

    Howdee doo Sir Carson!!
    This is a bit off topic, but how is it that (acc. to wikipedia) Mali is “one of the poorest nations in the world,” while during the Post-classical period, they were a cultural and economical power (EX: Mansa Musa’s Hajj)?

  8. Ryan R

    I agree that it is inappropriate to celebrate Columbus Day. First of all, he is credited with “discovering” America although everyone knows he did not. Not only that, but how can a man “discover” what has been in existence for centuries before his arrival…namely the Native Americans? At least we don’t call them Indians anymore.
    While you were protesting this holiday, which should not be a holiday, I was playing golf and not thinking anything about Columbus.

  9. Ryan R:

    We will get together for a game of golf on this day next year.

  10. EvAn ScHaAf

    I, for one, appreciate the fact that we have inappropriate national holidays, because it gives everybody a chance to breathe for once since the beginning of August.

  11. Pingback: There’s no one Spanish in Spanish Harlem! « Counterfake

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