Christopher Colombus: raping, murdering, enslaving, genocidal pedophile


#1

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#2

What was it Lenin said? Oh yeah -- if you want to make an empire, you're got to fuck some people up.


#3

This is a most excellent takedown. The Knights of Columbus need to find themselves a new guy (person!), and probably a new name as well.

One thing that puzzled me is the description that the Lucayans at one point fled "to the mountains". My understanding is that the Bahamas are pretty damn flat--yep, Wikipedia cites a highest elevation of 207 feet. Did Columbus's reign of terror extend to other islands?


#4

I remember reading a letter from Columbus to somebody the jist of which was:
"The natives are super nice and friendly and give us lots of stuff and will be really easy to enslave."

On the other hand the US can use all the holidays it can get.


#5

Well Columbus did make those excellent Home Alone movies.


#6

I've worked for both the State of Minnesota and the largest Minnesota County. Neither consider Columbus Day a holiday and worked with the employee unions to trade the day after Thanksgiving for Columbus Day as paid holidays.


#7

This is excellent! I do agree about focusing on the indigenous peoples rather than Europeans. It's not all about Europe, no matter how much people want to make it about that...


#8

And Thomas Jefferson owned - and slept with - slaves. George Washington owned slaves. Celebrated historical figures everywhere had flaws but in most instances, they weren't considered flaws by their peers. It's incredibly easy to take down people who have been dead 600 years using today's social standards. I'm all for removing Columbus Day because we're giving him credit for things he didn't do (discovering American being the first) but not because he liked little girls or traded in slaves.


#9

Do we have any reason to think the indigenous Americans would not have done the same to the Europeans, had the indigenous peoples been "fortunate" enough to develop the enabling worldview, technologies and social organizations first? (Other than the Americas being a lot less crowded than the Continent.)


#10

"Colombus"?


#11

That's a fabulous idea. Everyone I know hates working the day after Thanksgiving. And it's not like anything gets done anyway.


#12

it's tough for cory to see the keyboard through his hipster glasses.


#13

It's not so much who did the deed as much as it is that the deed was done. If your imagined scenario happened, then we would be vilifying someone else right now. I don't think the point is that Europeans are bad people and the people of the America's are wonderful as much as it is that what happened to the indigenous people of the New World was a terrible thing and we should not be praising its architect.


#14

The K of C was also responsible for getting "under God" added to the pledge of allegiance. Their social halls are basically drinking clubs where white Catholic men can get worked up about how the world does not meet their narrow expectations. As for Columbus Day itself, I'm more interested in Leif Erickson Day (October 9th) not as a federal holiday, but as a simple observance of earlier exploration. The Vikings may not have been models of civility either, but instead of bumbling into a Caribbean paradise by mistake, they navigated the much more treacherous north Atlantic centuries earlier.


#15

Well, if we're assuming that indigenous Americans developed this "enabling worldview" then we're begging the question. The more interesting question is whether they would have developed this "enabling worldview" in the first place.

But even that question is flawed inasmuch as it assumes that indigenous Americans were a uniform bloc of beliefs, traditions, and aspirations. In reality there was a great deal of diversity among indigenous Americans some of whom (like the Aztecs) were horrifically imperialistic and others (like the Lucayans enslaved by Columbus) were apparently largely peaceful and content with their way of life.


#16

My favorite recounting of this will always be Kurt Vonnegut's from Breakfast of Champions:

"1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them."


#17

(Other than the Americas being a lot less crowded than the Continent.)

There's fairly decent evidence that the Americas were, actually, pretty crowded. Have you read 1491? I'd recommend it highly.

Also, random speculation about "well, the other folks would have done the same" doesn't really absolve the people who actually did commit genocide.


#18

And we've seen how empires end


#19

I wonder if the Natives would've fared better if they hadn't been found right after the reconquista when the Spanish were focused on militarism callous from centuries of war.


#20

Perhaps it would not have been so rapid but history has many examples of a technologically superior people devastating less advanced civilizations.