Today, Christopher Columbus has and will take a lot of flak from many directions, and probably justifiably so. A murderer he was, a conqueror—by our definition of the word—he was, and a catalyst for the trans-Atlantic expanse of explorers and the eventual devastation of native populations he was. But was this so unusual for the time, or for any period in history? Does he deserve to have his holiday ridiculed and slandered?
No, I don’t believe so. First of all
To say that we should not celebrate Columbus Day because it also sparked the decline of the Native American is a hypocritical statement to make. Like most pivotal events in human history there was a winner and there was a looser. In the case of the natives of the
And it is because of
To consider the foul treatment of Native Americans at the hands of European expansionists as a historically tragic event is to forget how human civilization was established. It is true that Europeans conquered the
Violence has been a natural part of human development since people first began to live in large groups. Anthropologists today are hard-pressed to find a group of people that has lived in the same place they always have for as long as any human being has lived there. In other words, most, if not all, civilizations and cultures are what they are because of conquest. The Anglo-Saxons are not the original people of
Finally, I want to acknowledge that I do not condone or agree with in any way the treatment the natives received from the Europeans, or vice versa. I personally believe the death of so many great civilizations was a tragic and sad event. I simply wish to point out that it is in no way unusual in the history of mankind. It did not occur in a vacuum, and to say that he imposed his evil will on innocent, peaceful people is blatantly and historically false. Such behavior was also a norm in
Perhaps critics of this holiday are right about