It’s time to reconsider Columbus Day

Nikolai Gentes, Staff

As America continues to remove Confederate monuments, offensive state flags and other troubling artifacts of its past, it’s time we finally rename, or completely eliminate, Columbus Day. 

While several states have begun renaming the holiday to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”, it’s time our country, as a whole, finally stop celebrating the murderous and fraudulent tyrant that was Christopher Columbus. 

It should also be noted that Columbus was not, in fact, the first European to step foot into the Americas as the Norse visited the continent hundreds of years before him around 1000 A.D.

According to historians, Columbus never visited North America during his lifetime. The closest the explorer reached was the Bahamas, and parts of South America.

In fact, Columbus did not discover North America. He was the first European to sight the Bahamas archipelago and then the island later named Hispaniola, now split into Haiti and the Dominican Republic. On his subsequent voyages he went farther south to Central and South America. However, he never got close to what is now called the United States, according to the Royal Museums Greenwich. 

That’s right, the man who is annually commemorated for “discovering” our country never even stepped foot in it. 

There is also the fact that Columbus was completely unaware of the fact that he had actually reached America, as he believed that he had reached Asia. It is unknown whether or not he realized his mistake before he passed away, but there are no written documents or statements suggesting he ever acknowledged reaching America.

More troublesome, Columbus was also a ruthless tyrant, killing large swathes of natives during his explorations. 

One priest by the name of Bartolomé de las Casas would later document the violence he saw Columbus and his men commit against indigenous people, worried that Columbus’s atrocities would be forgotten.

“There were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over 3,000,000 people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines,” des las Casas wrote. “Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it.”

In his own time , Columbus was observed to be particularly brutal and cruel, which further proves that he is undeserving of being honored.

Despite his many wrongdoings, many continue to turn a blind eye to the troubling nature of Columbus Day. For many people, it’s a day off, and nothing more. 

I want you to consider the principle, however, of continuing to acknowledge Columbus. Think about what he symbolizes. I’m not even particularly advocating for the complete abolishment of Columbus Day, rather, at the very least, renaming it to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”.

As America continues to advance as a nation, it’s time we acknowledge one of the oldest skeletons in our closet and make serious efforts to stop honoring the murderous, the fraudulent, and the barbaric. Continuing to honor Columbus as a hero is not only historically inaccurate but offensive as well.