Observing Columbus Day

The “Voyage of Discovery” by Christopher Columbus introduced white supremacy, genocide, and smallpox to the Americas. From the viewpoint of the original Americans, this is a fitting way to observe the anniversary of that epochal event:

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  1. Mark Adams #

    Roger Rabbit this is a vast over simplification of the rediscovery of America. No Christopher was not a very liberal guy, he was working for a King and Queen. Who were very much mercantilists or capitalists. They kept Chris on their payroll for years so other European monarchs could not snatch him up. They had doubts about his theory of sailing west to the Indies and China. Only the experts of the day told them hey the world is a larger sphere than what Chris says. Still to get a leg up on their competition they finally financed an expedition. On that expedition Chris was not always a nice guy, but he was doing what he thought his King and Queen expected, and he had contracts and promises that he had to prove. Chris being a Genoan thought he was better than these Spaniards he was working for, but hey when you have to have a patron you swallow your pride, and tell them hey I’m going to help you make Spain great again, and he delivered.
    The natives he met on the first voyage were all friendly, but one tribe. So your whole concept has holes in it, some very significant holes in when you look at the photo.
    These natives are holding rifles, wearing cotton. wearing leggings, ride horses, and are wearing parts of US military uniforms, ect. They are certainly wearing a lot more than currant day Awa tribe members in Brazil. Which is a challenge to liberal and progressive values as to what the policies should be toward them in Brazil. Should they be given a vast amount of forest to live out their primitive lives separate from the modern world? What if some want pots and other items they cannot make for themselves? How much has trade been part of their lifestyle?

    Looks like you have gone nativist or at least support their views. Though the tribes in the Pacific Northwest are unique as in they wanted trade, and other things the outsiders wanted, and wanted protection from other outsiders. The Salish were adept traders and had constructed what anthropologists would consider a high level of civilization. The gentlemen in the photo certainly do not represent the Salish, nor the majority opinion of the Salish then and now.
    The people that Christopher Columbus met were closer to the Awa than the gentlemen in the photo. It is ok to say Chris was not a nice guy, but it overlooks the fact someday some European or Asian would have rediscovered the Americas. And not they would not have had any Star Trek like prime directive on how to deal with the natives. The natives in India and China and other places have a different story than the America’s, yet Europeans managed to colonize much of those places, without some of the advantages they held over native American tribes. And there was no native American alliance of tribes and some Indians invited European’s in as allies, trade partners, ect.
    And the proud and loud Italian community may like to have words with over their boy Chris. Christopher was a good guy don’t bad mouth him. At least not in certain bars in Seattle and Cleveland, and Columbus, on this day of all days.

  2. Roger Rabbit #

    IMO, this tongue-in-cheek picture captures the essence of Columbus’ legacy better than your comment does. But thanks for contributing your thoughts on the subject.

  3. theaveeditor #

    Leaving aside some facts, you miss a lot else. Ferdinand and Isabella were more imperialist then mercantilists. They had just completed the ethic cleansing of Iberia and used money stolen from Jews to finance Columbus.

    Also the peoples they encountered, the Taino and Caribs were rather well off .. I assume you know that Columbus quickly enslaved the Taino and starved them to death?? That is how slavery, black slavery, began. Your “mercantilist” needed slaves to grow food for his good Christian thugs.

    Oh, and as a Sephardi, I would point out that whoever Columbus really was his crew were largely refugees .. muranos .. fleeing dear Iasbaella and Ferdy’s inquisition.

    Now we get to the good part .. your demeaning Taino culture. Did you ever meet a Taino? Of course not, Chris exterminated them. But if you did, I would bet they had a lot to say .. oral history bigness what it is you might just learn something from them. I am positive you would learn a lot from them rather sophisticated peoples your mercantilism went on the destroy .. the Mayan, Inca, .. arguably more civilized the the barbarians with boats.

    Before I go to bed, I wonder why you think Columbus had some state secret required to get to the Dominican Republic? He wasn’t the navigator nor was there any shortage of folks who could navigate to the new world.

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