Facts About Columbus Day | Wrevel - Discover Your World, Host & Experience Events

Blog

By. Jessicaa Vallario

Facts About Columbus Day

Every second Monday in November we celebrate a holiday referred to as Columbus Day. The holiday celebrates Christopher Columbus for “discovering” the Americas. The notion is that without him, none of us would have the privilege of inhabiting this great and prosperous country. The problem is that Chris isn’t necessarily someone worth celebrating. In fact, he technically didn’t even “discover” anything. First of all, the story behind Columbus Day begins with a huge myth. No one in 1492 actually believed that the Earth was flat. Chris knew the Earth was round, and so did the Queen of Spain. Historians messed this little fact up somewhere, and the fallacy trickled down to more uninformed historians, and eventually to our school system. Thanks for fact checking, guys. Secondly, the natives who inhabited the Americas during Columbus’s voyage were there 14,000 years prior to Chris’s discovery. 14,000 years. History also forgets to mention that a man named Leif Erikson, a Viking explorer, was actually the first European to set foot in the New World. Okay, so maybe Chris wasn’t the first European to set foot in the world, but he did do a lot to alter the course of history. Maybe he does deserve his own holiday, let’s see exactly what he accomplished and see what you guys think… So, Chris’s main intention was to get really, really rich. He didn’t care about settling new land; he just wanted to find gold, a lot of gold. Upon his arrival in the America’s, he noticed the natives, the Lucayans, wore a lot of gold jewelry. He even made note of it in his private journal, hash tag, #jackpot. Chris also made note that the Lucayans were extremely kind and hospitable people. In fact, when the Santa Maria was shipwrecked the natives helped rescue the crew and cargo (awww). Poor Chris couldn’t actually find any gold at first, so he decided to bring back 25 natives to show the queen; of the 25, seven survived. Chris used these natives to convince the queen that the Americas were saturated with riches beyond her wildest dreams. In turn, she granted him seventeen ships, 1,500 men, and an arsenal of weaponry. Now that he was sufficiently armed, Chris returned to the New World and demanded that the natives give his men food and gold, and allow them to have sex with their women. The Lucayans were like, “hell no, hashtag, #wtf?” Columbus did not like their response. So, in turn he cut off their ears and noses and sent the offenders back to their villages to heed warning to the others. Eventually, the natives tried to rebel. Chris saw this as the perfect excuse to go to war. The natives were severely out numbered and were quickly slaughtered by and fed to Columbus’s dogs as food, some of them, while they were still alive. Ironically, Chris still didn’t have the gold. So, instead of going back to Spain empty handed, he brought 500 natives to sell as slaves. Only 300 survived the trip. The surviving natives were kept to feed, care for, and carry Columbus and his men around on their backs. Many Lucayans tried to escape by fleeing into the mountains. Chris and his men began hunting the escapees for sport, and once again used their remains as dog food. Since Chris STILL didn’t have enough gold, he decided to start a tribute system. The natives who brought him gold would get a token to where around their necks. Natives found without tokens were punished. What was the punishment you ask? Well, instead of getting a token to wear around their neck, they got to wear one of their severed hands. This system worked out really well for Chris, as he was moderately satisfied with his gold quota. In fact, he was so thrilled he rewarded his men with young native sex slaves. Smallpox and other diseases wiped out over 3 million of the Native peoples. This caused a major influx of labor in the New World. Columbus’s greed also caused a major hindrance of the gold trade in Africa. This shift forced the African economy to rely primarily on the trade of African slaves. Congratulations, Chris, for inadvertently becoming the father of the transatlantic slave trade. So, how exactly did this guy get his own holiday? Well, in 1937 a male-only Catholic organization known as the Knights of Columbus pressured Roosevelt to make Columbus Day a national holiday. They argued that they wanted a male, Catholic role model their kids could look up to. So for the past 78 years, thanks to the Knights of Columbus, we honor Chris with his own holiday. He is one of the few people, a long with Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., who have their own holidays. What do you guys think about this?