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The Pioneer

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Should Columbus Day Still Be Celebrated?

Kenny Corcoran, Copy Editor

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Christopher Columbus day this year was celebrated on Monday October 8th. While this holiday is widely seen as controversial, many people do celebrate it, accepting Columbus’ “accomplishments.” The celebration of Columbus Day often depends on where you go, as some school districts and offices will have this day off while others will not.

The places in which Columbus Day is celebrated choose to ignore the terrible things that Columbus did.  Columbus traveled with murderers, rapists, and prisoners of other crimes, bringing them along on his journeys.

The simple fact is that Columbus is not the person who discovered America, as it had already been discovered a long time before Columbus. The Vikings had already discovered America, with Leif Erikson being the first European to have set foot on North America.  He did so centuries before Columbus ‘discovered’ America. There also is the point that the land was already discovered and civilized by the Native Americans. When Columbus came to North America, he thought that the Native Americans were Indians, since he was trying to sail from Spain to India through the Atlantic Ocean, so Columbus ‘discovered’ America by mistake.  

One of the main reasons why Columbus wanted to find a quick way to India, is because of the riches that were in India, and how important of a trade partner Indians were.  For the longest time the way to get to India was to go all the way around the African continent and eventually make it to India. Columbus thought that if he sailed across the atlantic it would be a much quicker way to get to India, making it easier to trade.  However he ended up landing in the carribeans and founded what is now Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti).

Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic in his lifetime, with the first one in 1492 being the most well known one by far.  What is not known is that when he came back in his second trip, his settlement on Hispaniola was gone and no one knows what happened there.  Columbus was looking for gold, as the monarchs of Spain were very dissatisfied with what he found in terms of riches. So Columbus decided he needed to make the Native Americans go out and get gold, a certain amount per day.  If they did not come back with the amount, there would be consequences and more times than not they would have body parts chopped off, arms in particular. The horrendous treatment of Native Americans does not stop there as many were enslaved and sent to Spain.

The story of Christopher Columbus is one that is usually told without the horrible truths that made him who he really was.  To celebrate such a terrible person who did the things that he did is astounding. Columbus did help to set the way for explorers in the new world, but he also started a terrible trend of the treatment of Native Americans.  Columbus could even be credited with starting what would turn out to be a genocide of Native Americans in North America.

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