Originally designated to celebrate Christopher Columbus’s “discovery” of America, post offices and banks are closed, and stores hold major sales. Children are taught that Columbus may be a hero, but since then, we’ve learned the history of America on our terms and realized that the image they painted for us wasn’t exactly as accurate as we once thought.
Armed with this data , many have fought (and won) over the last decade to exchange Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead. Here are 10 lies and truths about Columbus that made us plan to throw away Columbus Day forever.
Columbus Didn’t Discover Sh*t
For starters, Columbus didn’t discover anything. How are you able to discover a land that ALREADY HAS inhabitants?! On his first trip in 1492, Columbus encountered the indigenous Lucayan Taíno/Arawak on Guanahani (today’s San Salvador Island within the Bahamas).
The Indigenous Saved Columbus’s Life
Christopher Columbus didn’t even discover Guanahani (today’s San Salvador Island) in 1492. The natives found him while he was lost stumped . Columbus actually thought he was within the Malay Archipelago .
Columbus Stole Indigenous Land
Not only did Columbus not discover anything, but he had zero respect for those that already lived within the areas he visited. Upon landing on Guanahani; on Columbus Day , 1492; he claimed the land for Spain, despite it already being indigenous land.
Columbus Never Set Foot in North America
The us celebrates Columbus hardcore per annum and youngsters are taught all about his legacy, but he never actually stepped foot in North America. How weird is that?! it’s far more fitting for us to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day since indigenous peoples were here within the U.S. been before anyone else.
Columbus Wasn’t Even the primary Explorer to Arrive within the Americas
Christopher Columbus wasn’t even the primary European explorer to arrive within the Americas! The Vikings, led by Leif Erikson, sailed to Newfoundland, Canada, in 1000 A.D. There also are theories that Irish arrived far before the Vikings, which the Chinese and Polynesians may have also visited America before Columbus.
He Committed Vast Atrocities
Immediately upon arrival, Columbus noted that the natives he encountered were kind and giving … which he planned to use that kindness against them. What resulted was genocide, rape, mutilations and a spread of other atrocities.
He Was Arrested by Spain for His Behavior
Christopher Columbus’s behavior (including isolating natives’ hands if they didn’t gather enough gold) was so atrocious that he and his brothers were arrested (after complaints by Spanish settlers and friars), and sent back to Spain chained in 1500. Still, he was later pardoned by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain after serving just six weeks in prison and had a fourth voyage subsidized.
He Was an Initiator of Indigenous slave traffic
Christopher Columbus was a horrendous one that enslaved the indigenous peoples of the lands he traveled to. He was the primary to send people (as slaves) across the Atlantic to Spain.