Monday, Oct. 14 is Columbus Day this year. If you celebrate Christopher Columbus (born Cristofor Colombo) on that day or any other day, you are a celebrator of racist genocide, massive land robbery, barbaric slavery, child/adult serial rape, and systemic torture. And I can prove it. But first, allow me to provide some pertinent background information.
It has been exactly 527 years since Christopher Columbus arrived on the Bahamian island of what he referred to as San Salvador on Oct. 12, 1492.
The first official Columbus Day was celebrated in 1792 in New York by the notoriously corrupt Tammany Hall on the 300th anniversary of his fictitious arrival in America. One hundred years later, President Benjamin Harrison issued a 400th anniversary proclamation. And in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday.
By the way, Columbus didn’t “discover” America or the so-called New World. In fact, Red/Brown people, i.e., Taino, Arawak and Lucayan, were living on this land and in the so-called New World 14,000 years before his 1451 birth.
After Columbus’ arrival in 1492, he sailed to what he labeled Espa-ola, which is today’s Haiti and the Dominican Republic — in the inept belief that he had discovered a shortcut to India. But he was thousands of miles off course. In fact, the only reason the indigenous Red people in this country are commonly but erroneously called “Indian” is that he mistakenly thought he was in India and therefore arrogantly — like Europeans do — imposed a name on them. By the way, the correct name is Ongweoweh.
Not long after his incompetent Gilligan’s Island-type arrival/invasion, and in order to get more royal financing from Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, he returned to them with his exciting, but fake, news that he had found a quick route to Asia. Accordingly, he received funding to lead three more voyages to the so-called Americas, occurring in 1493, 1498 and 1502.
As a result of those voyages, and in addition to destroying ancient civilizations, he murdered approximately eight million Red/Brown people, raped and tortured millions of them, and robbed them of millions of acres of land.
Here are five factually irrefutable and historically documented facts that prove Columbus is one of the worst- and arguably the worst- monster in world history:
1. Columbus ignored the King and Queen’s order that he “abstain from doing … (the inhabitants) any injury.” For example, he created in 1495 the “tribute system” requiring every person over 14 to provide him with a “hawk’s bell” of gold every three months. Those who complied were given a “token” to wear around their neck. Those who didn’t comply, as Columbus’ son Fernando reported, were “punished by having their hands cut off” and “left to bleed to death.” About 10,000 in Haiti and the Dominican Republic were victimized. Many of the indigenous people were — while alive — “roasted on spits (i.e., slender pointed rods) … and burn(ed) … at the stake” ... and the invaders “hack(ed) the … children into pieces.” Also, Columbus’ men “tore the babes from their mother’s breast by their feet and dashed their heads against the rocks … They ‘splitted’ the bodies of other babes, together with their mothers … on their swords.” As noted by Spanish historian and Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas, who witnessed much of the carnage, Columbus, in order “to test the sharpness of their blades,” directed his men “to cut off the legs of children who ran from them.” His crew would “pour … people full of boiling soap” and cause others to be “eaten (alive by) … hunting dogs.” And if Columbus’ brigade ran out of meat for their vicious dogs, “Arawak babies were killed for dog food.”
2. A Columbus shipmate, Miguel Cuneo, wrote that “When our caravels … were to leave for Spain, we gathered … 1,600 male and female ‘Indians’ … on Feb. 17, 1495 … (and) we let it be known… that ... (any of the sailors) who wanted to take … them could do so.” Cuneo took a teenage “Caribbean girl as a gift from Columbus.” And when she “resisted …, (he) thrashed her mercilessly and raped her.” Speaking of rape, it was noted by University of Vermont history professor Dr. James Loewen that “As soon as the 1493 expedition got to the Caribbean ... Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape. On Haiti, sex slaves were one more prerequisite that … (they) enjoyed.” It included adult rape and child rape. As Columbus himself wrote in 1500, “… girls … from 9-10 … are … in demand.” In one day, de las Casas saw Columbus’ soldiers “dismember, behead or rape 3,000 natives.” As a result, de las Casas wrote, “My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.”
3. Columbus’ evil was so efficient that when he arrived in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and other Caribbean islands in 1493, there were 8 million Taino. That number, within a mere three years, was reduced to just 3 million. By the time he left in 1504, only about 100,000 remained alive.
4. Columbus not only pioneered a new form of mass murder, he also pioneered a new form of slavery, which he transformed into a race-based and generational form of brutal labor. In fact, as documented by Dr. Loewen, “Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves — about 5,000 — than any other individual.”
5. Columbus’ evil was so outrageous that Governor Francisco De Bodadilla — based on the testimony of 23 eyewitnesses! — arrested him for inhuman and widespread crimes against the Taino/Arawak/Lucayan population and shipped him back to Spain in shackles. The evidence was so overwhelming that Columbus confessed and was convicted.
Instead of celebrating on Oct. 14 one of the worst — and arguably the worst — monster in world history, ask some of this country’s wonderful Italian-Americans for a list of the names of some of the world’s greatest Italians and Italian-Americans. I’m sure that list would feature hundreds, including Amerigo Vespucci (first European to recognize North and South America as distinct continents and to realize — unlike Columbus — that the so-called New World was not part of Asia), Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci (identified by the U.S. Congress as the real inventor of the telephone) and Guglielmo Marconi (Nobel Prize-winning electrical engineer and physicist who is validly credited as the inventor of the radio).
Italians and Italian-Americans don’t like racist monsters. Red people, Brown people, Black people and other people of color don’t like racist monsters either. In fact, we hate ‘em and therefore don’t celebrate ‘em.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. View more opinions on phillytrib.com.