Next Monday is Columbus Day. What better way to observe the holiday than to ponder its meaning? To aid in that endeavor, please take the time to consider the following excerpts from the journal of Cristoforo Colombo himself, aka Christopher Columbus, the hero of the day. Bear in mind that these were the things he wrote about himself. His peers provide many more, and worse, descriptions of Columbus’ behavior.
Good parents will not want to share this with their children – it is heartbreaking and obscene and outrageous – but will know how to explain to those children why more Americans every year celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead. The quotes speak for themselves and need no commentary, so I will sign off now and wish everyone a happy, peaceful and prosperous Indigenous People’s Day. Especially those of us who belong to Indigenous Peoples.
“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force.”
“Weapons they have none, nor are acquainted with them…”
“I certify…that in the world I believe that there are no better people nor better land. They love their neighbors as themselves, and have a speech that is sweetest in the world, and mild and always laughing.”
“When there are such lands there should be profitable things without number.”
“Of anything they have, if you ask them for it, they never say no; rather they invite the person to share it, and show as much love as if they were giving their hearts.”
“They would make fine servants…[w]ith fifty men we can subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
“I captured a very beautiful Carib woman…I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun…I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears.”
“The cost of a woman is 100 Castellanos, the same as that of a farm. The trade is very common and there are now many merchants who go about looking for girls, some of ages nine or ten are now on demand, but whatever their age they command a good price.”
“He would have liked to send men tonight to look for the houses of those Indians to capture some of them.”
“…[T]hey gave one Indian a great blow with a sword on the buttocks and another they wounded in the chest with a crossbow shot.”
“Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”