Columbus Day — Don’t let academics and activists change history
Don't let an important part of our history be taken down by academics and politicians who haven't taken the time to understand fact from propaganda. I've written several articles about Columbus Day to put his heroism and courage in context. As a part of my celebration and recognition of both the true history of Christopher Columbus, I checked in with my friend Joe Piscopo who called the show this morning as he made his way to the Columbus Day parade in New York City.
The bottom line is that Columbus did not wipe out the indigenous population as critics claim. He did not pursue genocide against peaceful people. Actually quite the opposite. He made alliances with the indigenous Taino Indians and they fought side by side against the cannibals of the local Carib tribes. What's even more interesting is that it's clear that the claims of genocide seems to be largely based on the writings of Bishop Bartolome de las Casas who was a fierce advocate for indigenous tribes. He also had a reputation for exaggeration. His numbers feeding the genocide frenzy also don't compare with several census counts taken after Columbus departed.
The other part of the argument against Columbus is that the indigenous tribes were peaceful and their society was interrupted and subsequently destroyed by him. Again, completely false. Many Indigenous tribes from the Caribbean and throughout North America were brutal, savage and war mongering. Human sacrifices and cannibalism were all a part of the routine. Most men died as a result of constant warfare and it was actually Columbus who started to bring stability to the region.
Beyond the distortion of history which has falsely labeled Columbus a brutal killer, there's the fact that at the time when Columbus Day was made a federal holiday in 1937 one of the key opponents was the Ku Klux Klan. The racist haters of the Klan did not want to see a Catholic elevated to the level of a federal holiday. Keep in mind that the early history of our country was full of intolerance, bigotry and racism. Italian-Americans were victims as well. One of the largest single lynchings in American history happened after the New Orleans Police Chief was killed and nine Italian immigrants were acquitted by a jury. The resulting violence lead to the lynching of eleven Italian Americans.
Interesting side note about Columbus is that Karl Marx weighed in against Columbus saying that his voyage made capitalism possible.
That brings me to the positive. Marx may be right. The courage and determination of a an rejected over and over again to follow through with his plan. The opening up of an exchange between the old and the new worlds known as the Colombian Exchange changed the course of human history. The trend started by Columbus created a civilization that spread throughout the Americas setting the stage for the birth of the greatest nation on Earth. No nation in history has provided so much to so many. No nation on earth has made the incredible progress from days of slavery to the the first black President of the United States. The journey continues as we strive for greater economic prosperity and individual liberty. But the path forward is shaped by the lessons of the past. Some would change history to accommodate a politically correct view because some history is ugly. It takes adventurous, bold, courageous, intelligent and brave leaders to push through to accomplish something of significance.
Columbus was one of those great men that did just that.
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