A Spanish priest, Bartolomé de Las Casas, travelled to Haiti (then called Hispaniola) where Columbus and his men were. There, he was witness to Columbus and his men who:
"made bets as to who would slit a man in two, or cut off his head at one blow; or they opened up his bowels. They tore the babes from their mothers breast by their feet, and dashed their heads against the rocks...they spitted the bodies of other babes, together with their mothers and all who were before them, on their swords....and by thirteens, in honor and reverance for our Redeemer and the twelve Apostles they put wood underneath and, with fire, they burned the Indians alive"
A little different from the whitewashed version that's taught in schools still. Even on the internet, font of information both true and false, sites like these make Columbus sound like a brave explorer. At worst, poor Columbus was a brilliant man whose vision wasn't always appreciated.
Then there's sites like this who suggest any controversy surrounding Columbus is fairly minor and totally worth it, because he did amazing things. Here, it's so ridiculous, I'll just post the bit under "controversy:"
Much controversy exists over Columbus' expeditions and whether or not one can "discover" an already-inhabited land. uh, no controversy. You CAN'T discover an already inhabited land The natives of the Bahamas and other islands on his journey were peaceful and friendly. Yet many of them were later enslaved by the Spanish. ENSLAVED by the Spanish? That's putting it delicately. You don't have to go into details, but "horribly tortured" is a bit more accurate. Also, it is known that the Vikings explored the North American coast 500 years before Columbus. so the Vikings beat Columbus. Why are we celebrating a murderer, exactly?
Nevertheless, Columbus' expedition was unique and important in that it resulted in the first intertwining of Europe with the Americas, resulting in the first permanent European colonies in the New World. oh, that's right. it advanced the kingdom of light skinned people, the ones who's history counts. this is where i throw up
Some folks celebrate Columbus Day as a matter of Italian pride. Honestly, I think a Nazi reference is entirely appropriate here as both Hitler and Columbus showed a disdain for people that were not like him. And by disdain, I mean treated them as "the other" and did what people like that feel is justified when "the other" is differently colored, worships differently, speaks differently, et cetera. Both racist murderers. Italy has much more to offer than a ego-tripping xenophobic lost explorer from centuries back.
And then there're folks like this who seem to know some of the atrocities, but think we should just suck it up, get over it, and hey, look, a parade! What are we whining about anyway? We should just all accept our stations and our country's current way of doing things and ignore the past. Uh, no. (and That's an easy thing to say if you come from a position of power).
Hey, we all remember 1492. That's the great year, on Oct 14, Columbus wrote in his journal, "with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them." and these are people who Columbus described as "generous with what they have, to such a degree as no one would believe but him who had seen it. Of anything they have, if it be asked for, they never say no, but do rather invite the person to accept it, and show as much lovingness as though they would give their hearts." Columbus was a masked man who broke into your great grandmother's house, ate her mashed potatoed, smashed her kitchen, raped her, and spit on her dead body, while probably getting paid for it. Fuck Christopher Columbus.
A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn