Ever since I was old enough to discern things independently of what my teachers taught me, I’ve been utterly fascinated by Columbus Day. This piece notes that Columbus Day has been celebrated in the United States as early as 1792.
From Time and Date:
“Columbus Day celebrations are controversial because the settlement of Europeans in the Americas led to the deaths of a very large proportion of the native people. It has been argued that this was a direct result of Columbus’ actions. It is clear that the arrival of the European settlers led to the demise of a large proportion of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
It has also been argued that Columbus should not be honored for discovering the United States, as he only went as far as some islands in the Caribbean and never got as far as mainland America.”
Not to mention that whole Leif Erikson thing.
I guess I’ve gotten to the point that I find it an overreach to blame the near genocide of a people on this one guy. At the same time, his bravery going out in the unknown, traveling west to find the East, was still a gutsy act and seems to have gotten lost in the discussion. Guess I’m looking for a more nuanced approach to Columbus, such as in this Biography piece. Or we can just accept Columbus Day as part of a three-day weekend and let it go at that.