Columbus: A Great Discoverer or Villain A national holiday celebrating achievements of an individual reflects a nation’s appreciation for that person’s deeds. Christopher Columbus’s Day is an official national holiday in the United States of America. However, a careful examination of Columbus’ expeditions and his methods of settlement in the so-called New World should change the nation’s opinion about the necessity of the holiday. In my way of thinking, Columbus’ arrival to the Indies has brought destruction and death. His motives, such as prosperity by means of exploiting the native population, were immoral, and therefore I cannot accept the idea of celebrating Columbus’ Day as a National Holiday.
Columbus is credited with finding the new world, but did he really discover it? In my opinion, it is not possible to discover land that was already there, occupied by native people. When Columbus claimed to be a founder of the new land, he did not take in consideration a very important aspect about the existing civilization, its customs and traditions that were practiced in that area for thousands of years. Blinded by the idea of prosperity, he ignored the moral beliefs and introduced slavery as a compensation of promised numerous amounts of gold to the Spanish sovereigns. Irving Rouse, the author of the book Tainos, states: “When the crown complained about the lack of income from the colony, Columbus sent a shipload of captives to Spain to be sold as slaves in a desperate attempt to satisfy that complaint” (Rouse p. 151).
... this supposed Christian with a national holiday, so America should stop celebrating Columbus Day. The initial recorded Columbus Day celebration in the ... him and did more negative things than positive. Columbus Day, a holiday dedicated to the famous explorer for his achievement ... many people celebrate the holiday of Columbus Day, that it should be celebrated because Christopher Columbus was not who he ...
This serves as a perfect example of how low he thought of natives, not taking in consideration their right to live.
Having established goldmines throughout the colony, Columbus found it necessary to take advantage of a local population, Tainos, as means of a cheap labor that was needed for work in goldmines. Rouse states: “When Christopher Columbus returned to Hispaniola in the summer of 1498, he placated Rodan by authorizing him to seize Indians in the chiefdom of Xara gua and divide them among his followers to use as forced laborers at the goldfields.” (p. 153) In his point of view, Taino people deserved to be treated in such a manner, because they constantly rebelled against his rule, not realizing the fact that he was the one that intruded their way of life and caused so many innocent people to suffer. The reason for such devastating treatment of the natives is Columbus’ lack of administrative ability.
His poor work as an administrator and desperate will to prosper from “the discovered land” caused a significant decrease in Taino population. Rouse points out: “According to some reports, more than forty thousand Lucaya n Tainos were removed from those islands between 1509 and 1513, causing a complete depopulation.” (p. 156) The conditions at which natives were forced to work were devastating and life threatening. The percent rate of survival in Columbus’ goldmines is said to be less than in Hitler’s concentration camps. (Heller) Therefore, it is fare to say that Columbus introduced genocide. Michael S.
Berliner who supports Columbus’ accomplishments sarcastically states: “Columbus is routinely vilified as a symbol of slavery and genocide, and the celebration of his arrival likened to a celebration of Hitler and the Holocaust” (2).
My opponent does not seem to be aware of the consequences of Columbus’ actions since this quote should be taken seriously. Instead of honoring and celebrating Columbus’ “achievements” we should mourn and admit his sins. Those who support and honor Columbus truly believe in his accomplishment. The main argument that they tend to present is: “It does mean that Columbus brought America to the attention of the civilized world, i. e.
Turning points are points where an important change occurs. It is very important that it will never be forgotten since these turning points make such great impact on history. Some of these impacts include food, people, plants, animals, technology, and diseases passed from one continent to the other. The voyages of Columbus and the Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union are one of the most ...
, to the growing, scientific civilizations of the Western Europe.” (2) This argument looks only at one side, which is the foundation of what is called today the United States of America. However, they refuse to understand the means of Columbus’ methods of settlement and the idea behind it, which is genocide. They simply tend not to bring up the past so that the history of our country would not have a truly shameful origin. In my opinion, those who accept and honor Columbus’ actions, allow the idea of genocide for the prosperity of their nation. Besides, Berliner talks about the primitive way of life of the inhabitants, a very little progress over the years, and the benefits of colonization. He states: “Prior to 1492, what is now the United States was sparsely inhabited, unused, and undeveloped.” (2) However, according to Mr.
Morrero, Taino people did not want to change their way of life, they did not want their land to be over populated, but they wanted to be left along! (Morrero) Even though my opponents claim that colonization had brought enormous benefits to both nations, I believe that exploiting and extinction of almost entire civilization did very little help to the inhabitants. On the other hand, the only one that benefited from all of that was the Western civilization. “Whatever the problems it brought, the vilified Western culture also brought enormous, undreamed-of benefits, without which most of today’s Indians would be infinitely poorer or not even alive” (1).
This quote mostly talks about the “endless benefits” of colonization without paying much attention to its beginning, kind of skipping to the final accomplishment. I believe it is just as important to discuss the means by which we got to the point where we stand now. My opponents have tendency to glorify our nation despite the fact that it was build on suffering and extinction of almost entire civilization.
In conclusion, I would like to point out the misinterpretation of Columbus’ actions during the settlement in North America. His arrival to the “New World” brought along destruction and death. Columbus, after failing to comply with his promise to the King and Queen about increasing their revenues by bringing enormous amounts of gold, introduced the idea of slavery. He also became responsible for extinction of Taino population by forcing them to work in goldmines. Refusing to give up after several attempts to prosper from the “discovered land” and obvious lack of administrative ability causes even more devastating results described as genocide.
1. Choose 1 European Country that colonized between 1500-1600’s in the New World and detail their colonization. Include What, When, Where, Why, How, Was. One major country that colonized the New World was Spain. In the 15th century in Spain, women were 2nd class citizens who had no authority or power in general. However, the new king and queen of Spain-Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella Castille ...
After what I have said, the question, whether or not Columbus Day should be a National Holiday in the United States, should not be an issue, since honoring the man who is responsible for elimination of the whole race would be a sin. Such an example of misleading National Holiday left me with a doubtful feeling about the origin of the rest!