By now, everybody knows Columbus Day is pretty offensive. But if you need some quick talking points to show your friends how politically correct and knowledgeable you are while getting drunk on the Sunday night before enjoying your nice day off, look no further.
Most of us know that Christopher Columbus probably wasn't the first person to "discover" the world was round, or even find land in America. And anyone who's studied history past the first grade has a sense of how tyrannical and murderous he was to the natives he encountered. Some might even be willing to excuse Columbus and his atrocities, arguing that the man was just a product of a time when brutality and disrespect for human life were institutionalized. That's a total copout. For one, he was deemed to be such a villainous cabrón that even his peers shipped him back to Spain in chains and stripped him of his governorship of Hispaniola. For two, if we're really excusing the bad stuff, then what's the good stuff Columbus did to deserve his own holiday, exactly? Apart from the whole introducing the New World to the whole ruthless Western colonialism thing, of course. If he got a holiday named after him, maybe we all should get one.
Here are some reasons why you deserve your own holiday more than Christopher Columbus.
1. Because you never ran a sex-slave ring that included pre-teen girls.
It was common practice for Columbus to reward men with sex slaves, and apparently pre-teen girls were especially sought after. Writing in 1500, "A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand." Beyond the sex-slave atrocities, in Columbus' second voyage alone, he sent 500 slaves back to Spain where nearly half died on the trip.
2. Because you wouldn't lie to your coworker's face to steal their glory for yourself.
Rodrigo de Triana, a sailor on the Pinta, was the first to spot land which was supposed to be deserving of a large monetary reward. After hearing this news, Columbus reportedly claimed that he'd actually spotted land the night before, and that he would be keeping the reward for himself. Rodrigo did end up getting a statue in Spain.
3. Because you don't think cutting off people's limbs is the best way to get what you want.
Starting in 1495, every native male over the age of 14 was forced to start collecting gold for Columbus. If they failed to find it, their hands were cut off and they were sometimes left to bleed to death. During his time as governor and viceroy of the Spanish colony in the Americas, Columbus would also order ears and noses cut off as other forms of punishment.
4. Because you aren't a total douchebag.
In a letter written to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus thanked the pair for having, "thought of sending me, Cristóbal Colón, to the said regions of India." Speaking in the third person is clearly a lighter fault than genocide, but what a jerk! He was also a shameless social climber and who regularly asked for more recognitions and praise. Apparently all the pestering eventually paid off for him, because now he has his own freaking holiday.
So in conclusion, you can thank a...
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