Hero or Villian? 5 Things You Should Know About Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus. Native American killer. Greedy gold hunter. Evil personified. Man who wore tights fabulously.
Did your ancestors immigrate from Europe or Asia? Does your past include the evils of slavery? Either way, if not for Columbus - you might not be living in America today. And did you ever stop to think about if a French explorer had gotten here first? You could be living in Canada 2.0...and eating snails. But you're not. You're welcome, America.
Sure, Christopher Columbus had his faults. The man wasn’t perfect. He wanted to make money. He wanted to make a name for himself. He killed Native Americans. He collected humans as property – an incredible evil accepted by society of his day. He wore pantaloons. So can anyone really say Christopher Columbus was a hero?
Here’s 5 reasons why we say “yes”:
1. Christopher Columbus changed the course of history. The Americas were occupied when Columbus arrived, leading some to say Columbus didn’t actually “discover” America. Which makes it worth pointing out, while Europeans left Europe to open up trade and colonize other lands, no other group beside the Polynesians of the South Pacific successfully bridged the gap between lands and peoples. So yes, we can say Columbus “discovered” America – and thereby, changed the course of history.
2. Columbus brought Christianity to a land which would become the beacon of religious freedom for the world. Before the Founders declared “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” Columbus said, “No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service.” If Columbus had been Muslim, you could be living in Saudi Arabia 2.0... and wearing a burka. But you're not. You're welcome, America.
3. Columbus also brought civilization to the American lands. Before you go full outrage mode, consider this bit of oft untold history: It seems to be true, as is so often repeated today, that when Columbus found them, the Indians inhabiting the Bahama Islands, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the great island the Spanish called Hispaniola (now divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic) were a gentle, happy, attractive people living peacefully in good ecological balance with their surroundings. They were known as Taino, or Arawaks. But they were not destined to remain in their Eden-like situation for long, even if Columbus and the Spanish had not come. Advancing steadily northward from the long chain of Caribbean islands called the Antilles was one of the most ferocious people in recorded history, the Caribs. They were savage conquerors who practiced cannibalism, not as an occasional cult ritual, but as a regular diet. They were paleo before it was cool. Captured prisoners were immediately eaten. Conquered peoples were systematically devoured. On every island they seized, the Caribs soon exterminated every Taino. On no island did the two tribes coexist.
Across the island-studded Caribbean Sea lay Mexico. Though politically and culturally advanced beyond most other Indian cultures — the Mexica had a large army, a well-developed governmental administration, a system of writing, and stone temples — their empire, which we call Aztec, carried out ritual human sacrifice on a scale far exceeding any recorded of any other people in the history of the world. The law of the Mexica empire required a thousand human sacrifices to the god Huitzilopochtli in every town with a temple, every year; there were 371 subject towns in the empire, and the majority had full-scale temples. There were many other sacrifices as well. The total number was at least 50,000 a year, probably much more. The early Mexican historian Ixtlilxochitl estimated that one out of every five children in Mexico was sacrificed. When in the year 1487 the immense new temple of Huitzilopochtli was dedicated in Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), more than 80,000 men were sacrificed, at fifteen seconds per man, for four days and four nights of almost unimaginable horror.
It must be emphasized that there is no serious dispute about these facts and figures. All reputable and informed historians of pre-Columbian Mexico accept their essential accuracy, though some prefer not to talk about them. These facts of history totally dispose of the romantic fantasy of a hemisphere full of peaceful, nature-loving Indians who threatened no one until the cruel white man came.
4. Christopher Columbus was the first to cross the Atlantic. No one, that is, no one crossed the Atlantic in the 15th century. Sailing and exploration in the days of Columbus was limited to known waterways and followed very specific routes along already-mapped coastlines. Columbus was the first to set out - and successfully cross - the Atlantic from Europe, which was believed to be comprised of monsters and boiling water. Maybe a consensus of scientists believed that at the time...
5. While Aristotle was the first to say that the earth was a sphere, Columbus was the first to prove him correct. Prior to the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria journeying across the Atlantic, there were still some who believed such a journey would lead to certain death by (literally) falling off the planet.
Columbus Day has come under
a bit of heat raging leftist hellfire recently. Apparently we should be apologizing for America's origins, not celebrating it. Some cities and states have even taken it upon themselves to erase the holiday altogether and replace it with Indigenous People's Day. Because nothing says "sorry" like giving an entire race of people a single day to celebrate their indigenous-ness... Or something. #Progress
We’ll never know what the world would have been like if Christopher Columbus hadn’t discovered America. But I, for one, am sure glad he did. That said…
Happy Columbus Day!
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