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How to Understand the Controversy about the Columbus Day Holiday


How to Understand the Controversy about the
Columbus Day Holiday. Celebrated on the second Monday in October,
Columbus Day has been observed since 1792. While celebrating Italian explorer Christopher
Columbus’s 1492 landing in the New World, learn why this holiday has always generated
debate. You will need Biographical information Cultural
ramifications and religious context. Step 1. Learn biographical facts about Christopher
Columbus. On his first voyage in 1492, he landed in
the Bahamas and wrote in his journal that he seized 6 of the natives to serve as slaves. Step 2. Understand that Columbus, in an era of growing
international slavery, sent thousands of the peaceful, indigenous Taino people from the
island of Hispanola to Spain to be sold into slavery. Be aware that when Columbus landed about 250,000
Taino lived on Hispanola, but 60 years later only a few hundred Taino remained on the island. Step 3. Realize that Spanish historians discovered
documents in 2005 that revealed that as governor of the Indies, Columbus had many natives killed
and tortured to deter native unrest. After settlers lobbied against him, Columbus
eventually lost his governorship and much of his former acclaim. Step 4. Know that in addition to enslavement and violent
governing, Columbus’s arrival — with plants, animals, and goods — introduced new diseases
that would devastate native populations throughout the New World. Step 5. Be aware that many have rejected the holiday
due to its close association with Catholicism. Columbus Day became a national holiday largely
due to lobbying by the influential Catholic fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus. Did you know In 1990, South Dakota legally
changed the name of Columbus Day to Native Americans’ Day to celebrate the great Native
Americans from its state.

Stephen Childs

9 Comments

  1. The Knight of Columbus were also the one group responsible for lobbing the government to put the words 'In God We Trust' on our money, before 1954 no such words were ever found on our currency.

  2. @saxaphone1987 I'm sorry to tell you this, but about ten years ago, archeologist unearthed a Viking settlement in Nova Scotia (spelling) that dates back several hundred years before Columbus was even born.

  3. It is only called Columbus Day in the USA: It is more widely known as EL Dïa de La Hiapnidad (day of Hispanity), or Día de la Raza (day of the day, of the "mestizo race" half european half native American). And that is what we celebrate, the hispanic culture and history and the creation of a new world with the mix of two very different people. As tha anglos that you are, it is only normal you don't like it, you rather claim yourself to be superior to everyone else and proceed with the extermination of all natives ; )

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