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Why Columbus Day is a Terrible Holiday

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Why Columbus Day is a Terrible Holiday

By Michaela Anderson, Editor-in-Chief

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Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and discovered America.

The school-house rhyme taught in many elementary school classrooms across the United States is the epitome of fake news. It portrays Columbus as a man with valor who bravely sailed across the ocean to find an easier way to India. We’re told that when he landed in North America, he was kind to the natives he found, who he had dubbed “Indians.”

Well, I hate to break it to the youngsters, Christopher Columbus was a horrible person who did horrific things.

At the end of the 15th century, it was nearly impossible to reach Asia from Europe by land. The route was long and dangerous, and encounters with hostile persons were difficult to avoid. This route is known as the Silk Road, and many died while traveling across it.

However, since Asia held luxury goods such as silk and porcelain from China and spices from India, Portuguese explorers solved this problem by taking to the seas.

Explorer Bartholomeu Dias discovered the southern tip of Africa in 1487, which was later renamed Cape of Good Hope. Dias’ voyage proved that ships could reach Asia by sailing around Africa.

Vasco de Gama, however, was the first to actually sail around the Cape of Good Hope. He left in June 1497 with four ships. He rounded the Cape of Good Hope, made stops at trading centers along the coast of Africa, and landed at Calicut on the southwest coast of India in 23 days.

Christopher Columbus had a better idea, though: Why not sail west across the Atlantic instead of around the massive African continent?  He had sound logic, but it was faulty. He argued that the Earth was much smaller than what it actually was; in fact, he believed that the journey by boat from Europe to Asia should be not only possible but really, really easy.

He got the “OK” from the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile and off he went, embarking on a journey through the Atlantic with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Over a month later, the ships made landfall on the Bahamian islands.

At the time, he had absolutely no clue it wasn’t India, but in fact a entire new world.

He would later on to write in reference to the natives he found on the islands, “It appears to me, that the people are intelligent, and would be good servants and I  believe they would easily be made Christians, as they appear to have no religion….I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men, and govern them as I pleased.”

And so he did. Columbus and his men raped and murdered as they pleased, subjecting natives to their way of life. The Europeans brought disease that was foreign to the natives, so many died and their populations dwindled.

Columbus’ violent expeditions were only the beginning to future conquests of Native Americans and the indigenous peoples of Central and South America. Yet, many Americans still gladly attend parades throughout cities across the country, praising this man for his wicked deeds.

Why?

Well, people are ignorant. As stated earlier, we’re taught from a very young age that Columbus was man who was the first ‘civilized’ person to discover America.

Across the U.S., more cities are ditching Columbus Day to honor the natives instead. Called “Indigenous Peoples Day”, these cities will mourn the natives who were the ones to truly discover the Americas and ended up dying or in slavery for many years to come due to Columbus’ discovery.

As the years stretch on, the U.S. has prided itself on being more accepting of minorities and less prejudice towards them. However, I feel like we will never be a country free of racism and prejudice until we abolish Columbus Day and stop praising the nasty man known as Christopher Columbus.

 

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Michaela Anderson, Editor in Chief

Hello! I'm Michaela Anderson and I am a Junior at Greenwood High School. This is my third year writing for The Daily Chomp but my fifth year taking a Journalism...

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