Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Fallacy of Columbus

As a child we learn about our country's commitment to social justice; we are taught to treat each other equally; most simplistically we are taught "sharing is caring." In our elementary schools Columbus is taught to be a hero, a role model for a child; he was not only a man but, a myth. We are taught that his discovery of the Americas was peaceful, and that "his conduct was characterized by the grandeur of his views and the magnanimity of his spirit" (Irving 193). However Columbus was quite the opposite. He was not "keenly sensible to injury and injustice" (Irving 193). Rather, he created a "ghastly system" in America to produce gold for export (Zinn,203). He would torture the Natives and have them sold as slaves for his own benefit, they were no longer human to him, but property.
The natives were "rounded up," like cattle and sent on a "voyage across the Atlantic. Two hundred [of five hundred] died on the way, of cold, of sickness (Zinn, 203)." This is the simple truth of Columbus supposedly one of the greatest 'heroes' in history.

Zinn, H.(1993).Columbus, the indians, and human progress.
Irving, W.(1879).Character of Columbus.