Christopher Columbus was a violent despot of a conquistador. This is historical fact that even the most conservative historians will not argue against (although they may not use such harsh, yet accurate wording). He was responsible for the deaths of tens (perhaps hundreds, indirectly) of millions of indigenous peoples amongst the caribbean islands (sometimes referred to the West Indies). To further illustrate this point, here are a few excerpts from a history of his misadventures in our neck of the woods (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus for a good starting point into doing research on him.):|
The Native Americans he encountered, the Ta?no or Arawak, were peaceful and friendly. In his log for October 14, 1492, Columbus drafted a letter to Ferdinand and Isabella concerning the Ta?no: This is an excerpt from the details of his second voyage:
Vuestras Altezas cuando mandaren puedenlos todos llevar a Castilla o tenellos en la misma isla captivos, porque con cincuenta hombres los ternan todos sojuzgados, les haran hazar todo lo que quisieren. ("When your highnesses should so command, all of them can be brought to Castile, or be kept captive on their own island, for with fifty men you will keep them all in subjugation and make them do anything you wish.")
The main objective of Columbus's journey had been gold. To further this goal, he imposed a system on the natives in Cicao on Haiti, whereby all those above fourteen years of age had to find a certain quota of gold, which would be signified by a token placed around their necks. Those who failed to reach their quota would have their hands chopped off. Despite such extreme measures, Columbus did not manage to obtain much gold. One of the primary reasons for this was the native susceptibility to European diseases.Columbus used the idea that these "new peoples" were savage heathens to justify subjugating and ultimately decimating their populations. He was furthermore an idiot who couldn't tell the difference between a Roman mile and a nautical mile, couldn't properly manage a capitalist venture to his own benefit, and maintained to the end of his days (even after being decidedly proven wrong) that he had in fact landed to the near-West of India rather than in some previously undiscovered (by Europeans of his society) land. With all this being a matter of public knowledge, I find the fact that the government of the United States still chooses to revere him with a holliday and various namesakes (not the least of which include the nation's capital, Washington, District of COLUMBIA) to have progressed beyond patent ridiculosity and into the realm of the surreal. My opinion of the intellectual capacity of my coinhabitants of this land mass steadily declines with each year that passes with this day, the second Monday of October, remaining a government-mandated holliday in this religiously fanatical madman's honor. Argument: Well, Columbus's landing in the New World was of such significance to history that his commemoration is legitimate by virtue of that alone, and moral arguments against history are pointless. Rebuttal: Well, World War Two resulted in the formation of the United Nations, the "dawn of the nuclear age," the start of the Cold War, and the fourth Geneva Convention, but nobody has a Hitler day (aside from NeoNazis, perhaps), do they? And, before you invoke Godwin's Law of Internet Analogies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law), this argument is exempt because Christopher Columbus CAN actually be held in comparison to Adolf Hitler based on the amount of innocents murdered under his rule.