Just one week after the massacre that has been labeled the “deadliest shooting in modern U.S. History,” children in public schools across the country will be forced to celebrate the false achievements of a mass murderer—Happy Columbus Day!
Christopher Columbus is celebrated because he “sailed the ocean blue in 1492” and “discovered the new world,” but in addition to the fact that he didn’t actually discover anything, there is a very dark side of Columbus’ life that is not taught in school history books.
As Irish Central noted, when Columbus and his men explored the lands of present-day Dominican Republican and Haiti, they found an overwhelming abundance of gold, and Columbus’ lust for fame and fortune “set into motion a relentless wave of murder, rape, pillaging, and slavery that would forever alter the course of human history.”
Catholic Priest Bartolomé de las Casas transcribed Columbus’ journals, and testified to the violence that was chronicled in them, noting that over 3 million people died of a result of the war and slavery championed by Christopher Columbus.
“There were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over 3,000,000 people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines,” de las Casas wrote. “Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it.”
Columbus appointed himself governor and viceroy over the Dominican Republic. As History.com reported, in order to silence any opposition from the citizens who lived in the area long before he arrived, Columbus “ordered a brutal crackdown in which many natives were killed,” and to deter further rebellion, he “ordered their dismembered bodies to be paraded through the streets.”
While many teachers and educators follow the textbook example and present Christopher Columbus as a white-washed hero who changed history by helping to discover the “New World,” the curriculum editor of Rethinking Schools was featured for taking a very different approach.
Bill Bigelow told SFGate that instead of celebrating Columbus, his curriculum puts Columbus, his crew, the King and Queen of Spain and the indigenous people on trial for murder, and then lets the students decide.
“It begins on the premise that there’s this monstrous crime in the years after 1492 when perhaps as many as 3 million or more Taínos on the island of Hispaniola lost their lives,” Bigelow said. “It asks students to wrestle with the responsibility in this.”
Anthea Hartig, executive director of the California Historical Society, told SFGate that part of the reason Columbus is still celebrated today is because “History has been traditionally taught in the hero style,” with a great man at the center of an event.
“These men were exalted and meant to inspire,” Hartig said. “If you read a lot of juvenile literature you’ll notice this. But really, the revolutions Columbus launched weren’t the revolutions for which he’s celebrated. What he imposed on the islands was some of the most heinous genocide and labor forced on the world. By 1555 there were no more natives. Then they started to import slaves from Africa.”
As The Free Thought Project has reported, not only did Columbus have an effect on the indigenous people in the lands he set out to “conquer,” but the religious doctrine that “legalized” the native genocide he pioneered went on to become federal law in the United States.
This year, as Americans mourn a deadly shooting that killed 59 people and injured over 500, students in public schools are forced to celebrate a mass murderer who is responsible for initiating a brutal takeover that led to the slaughter of over 3 million innocent people, and went on to affect the lives of millions more for years to come.