September 10

Blog #39 – Should we celebrate Columbus Day?

Christopher Columbus is credited with having discovered the New World in 1492, not necessarily America.  How people interpret this fact is the subject of intense historical and cultural debate across the world.  The day honoring the discovery, October 12, is a national holiday, but for some historians and cultures, this day is marked as one when Spanish imperialism and genocide of the Native Americans began.

Those who want to discredit Columbus Day usually start with the wave of violence, slavery and genocide of the Native Americans that began after his “discovery.”  On the island of Hispanola (Haiti / Dominican Republic), the sailors left there after his first voyage were tasked with finding gold and silver and soon tried to put to work the natives of the island.  In subsequent voyages, he searched Central and South America for gold, and the communicable diseases like smallpox and measles that the Europeans had would also wipe out – intentionally or not – the Native populations.  Conquistadors Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro exploited divisions among the ruling tribes, Aztecs and Incas respectively, to conquer vast empires.  It’s estimated that something like 90% of the 100 million Native Americans who lived in the New World were wiped out by disease, war, and famine brought on by discovery. 

But was this all Columbus’ fault?  His defenders say, of course not.  Diseases act in random ways and are influenced by many things including stress, food (or lack thereof), poverty and other cultural or economic factors.  Discovery could have brought some of these conditions on, but they weren’t necessarily the primary cause.  Columbus is also given credit for having been a visionary, having convinced the Spanish monarchs to provide him with three ships to sail the Atlantic in search of a newer, quicker route to Asia around the earth.  In fact, Columbus failed in his attempt to find that quicker trade route to Asia.  It would be Magellan who would circumnavigate the globe.  And, Columbus is being blamed for what came in his wake – the Spanish conquistadors, the destruction of Native peoples, and even the African slave trade since that was linked with the opening up of the New World.  Too much, much too much indeed, to put on one man’s shoulders. 

Another way of looking at this is that when we celebrate Columbus Day, we celebrate America.  Should we acknowledge both the good and the bad that come with America / Columbus?  Or is it more patriotic to revel in America in a “Team America” way with unquestioning loyalty? 

Your answer should be 250 words – due Thursday 9/13/12 by the beginning of class. 


Bigelow, Bill. “Zinn Education Project.” Zinn Education Project. N.p., 2003. Web. 19 Aug. 2012. <>.

Horwitz, Tony. A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America. New York: Picador USA, 2009. Print.

Madaras, Larry, and James M. SoRelle. “New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America.” 1997. Taking Sides. 13th ed. Vol. 1. Dubuque, IA: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009. 25+. Print.

Madaras, Larry, and James M. SoRelle. “Virgin Soils Revisited.” 2003. Taking Sides. 13th ed. Vol. 1. Dubuque, IA: McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009. 33-40. Print.

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Posted September 10, 2012 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

75 thoughts on “Blog #39 – Should we celebrate Columbus Day?

  1. Meredith Hawkins

    I believe that we should celebrate Columbus day. In no means am i saying that you couldn’t argue for the other side but in reality when you look at the big picture if it weren’t for Christopher Columbus who knows if America would have development into the thriving nation it is today. He didn’t exactly discover the territory because the Indians were already living here but i’m sure they didn’t have big plans of bringing immigrants over to colonize their lands. Columbus was the catalyst for the start of colonization in the New World. Most people are under the impression that it was Columbus who killed off many Indians and drove them to suich a small number but in reality he was only a factor. The Native Americans were constantly at war with other tribes, exposed to diseases, and could easily become victims of the tough weather conditions America had. I think that we don’t exactly celebrate Columbus day like we should. Yeah, it’s marked on our calenders and little kids color in pictures of the Mayflower but it’s not like we get the day off school or work. The day is there but we don’t really acknowledge it. Columbus made a big sacrafice in all the trips we took going from Spain to the Americas in order to please those higher then him and bring back gold. Even after discovering a new world, he died poor and ashamed because of his failed mission to bring back gold. I think that Columbus deserves to be recognized for at least one day a year for his great accomplishment and for his part in building America.

  2. Monique Hakam

    I think we should celebrate Columbus Day, because although some things didn’t turn out well because of Columbus finding the New World, some things did turn out well. We should acknowledge both the good and bad of Columbus finding the New World, but it’s really a cause for celebration for most Americans that are not Native Americans.
    Even though Columbus didn’t what he was looking for (Asia), so many people found religious refuge and freedom from whatever they needed to escape (Usually a country with new laws that were unjust in their opinions).
    I don’t believe that Columbus was a homicidal murderer directly. Yes, his finding America led to many Native Americans dying and being shoved and pushed off their land, but once again, it allowed room for many more people to come find a home in America.
    What Columbus did (finding the New World) was perfectly fine; it’s the actions that people took after he found it that was what’s wrong. Instead of compromising with the Indians and keeping to their promises of staying out of the Indians’ way, not harming much land/animals, and peace treaties, they abandoned them and sometimes waged war against them. They took land, food, and health away from the Indians by giving them diseases they were not immune to, and by chasing away much of the livestock by clear-cutting forests and killing the earth.
    Also, it’s not Columbus’ fault that he was the one that found the New World. If not him, someone else would have found the New World and then everyone would be wondering whether or not to blame them. Humans are naturally curious about the unknown and therefore many will venture out into the wild on quests to find new land, gold, etc. The finding of the New World would have happened sooner or later, no matter what.
    But say we turned it around: what if the Native Americans decided they wanted to find new land, and perhaps gold? With those things in mind, it would be almost inevitable that they would go out to find what they were searching for, and then the roles would be reversed.
    The Native Americans would not have “found” England/other countries, they would have discovered they existed. Then, if the Indians had been able to push the English and natives of other countries off their land, would they celebrate “Native American Day”, so to speak?
    The Native Americans probably thought that the colonists were savages, not that they themselves were savages. So, to Indians, they would think “No, we should not celebrate Columbus Day.”
    Personally, I don’t think we should celebrate “Columbus” Day. Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in 1492, but he was doubtfully the first one to actually sail that ocean, and doubtfully the first person to come across America; he was just the first one to actually say he found it and tell people about it, therefore leading everyone to think he was the one that found it.
    We should celebrate “The Finding of America Day”, or something of the sort. No one may ever know who the real first person to come across America was—it may not even have been the Indians, so why assume that Columbus was the one to find it?
    In conclusion, we should celebrate finding America, just not with Columbus’ name on it. Most Americans don’t even know why we celebrate Columbus Day other than that he “found” America, and some don’t even celebrate it. So we should celebrate the day itself, and part of the celebration of the day should be thankfulness to the Indians. They were as much a part of the America as we were, and they still are. In fact, without them, colonists probably would not have survived as well (or at all) as they did. We owe our survival to the Indians, and we should remember that. We should remember the sacrifices that were made in order for us to be able to live our lives today.

  3. Laine Boitos

    The celebration of Columbus day has been a customary part of our nation for a very long time. We celebrate this day because of Columbus’s “discovery” of America. In reality, Columbus was not the person to find the New World, because the Native Americans had been living there for hundreds of years before. Columbus did a lot more harm during his time in America, than he did good, therefore I believe that we should not celebrate Columbus day. His primary purpose in taking a voyage was to find a trade route to Asia, and he just happened to stumble upon this land. Seeing as though his intentions were never to discover this place, I do not believe that he should receive all of the credit for this expedition. Also, this place could have been discovered by any number of Spanish explorers that lived after Columbus did. Secondly, when all of the Europeans came over, they brought a great amount of diseases that severely weakened the natives. As the Native Americans grew increasingly angry with the settlers, they started to fight. This fighting took the lives of many of the Native Americans, and contributed to the wave of violence that lasted for a considerable number of years.These people weren’t looking for an interference, and when the Europeans arrived it just created a whole new string of problems. On top of these existing problems, Spain wanted lots of gold, and the settlers spent all of their time trying to find it. This search for precious metals eventually led to slavery and forced labor. In the beginning, the Europeans had used the Native Americans for their slaves, but when there wasn’t anymore Native Americans, they to find someone else to do their work. This is when the importation of slaves began, and more than eleven million slaves came over from Africa. The initiation slave labor, among these other reasons, are what led me to the decision that we should not celebrate Columbus day. Despite what my elementary school teachers tried to tell me, Columbus was a mass murderer that took the lives of hundreds of Native Americans, and thousands of Africans.

  4. Matt Gallo

    I agree with what Noah said above. I don’t know when Columbus Day is either. To be honest until I was in 8th grade I thought it was bi-annual holiday because nobody acknowledged it. To my knowledge people don’t get a day off. Serious holidays get day’s off. I believe that he should get recognition for his hard work and stumbling onto the Americas. But we shouldn’t give him a special day. I understand why some people think that we should celebrate Columbus day, yeah he was brave and a visionary; but visionaries usually don’t kill other people. I do not think we should celebrate Columbus Day. Columbus didn’t even find America, he stumbled upon the Bahamas. And, colonization that led to the US of A didn’t even start until the late 16th and early 17th century. There is no reason why we should give tribute to a murdering psychopath. If he hadn’t found America it would have been some other guy hired by the Spanish to find a quicker route to India. He was a genocidal murderer, directly and indirectly. His crew had brought along deadly viruses and diseases to the Natives which caused a large decrease in their population. Directly, Columbus, and those to come, would use them for slaves and sometimes just slaughter the Natives. After the Spanish found metals like gold. The Natives were forced into labor-enslavement. They were treated like dirt; most of them died because of over working or because of disease. The number of Indians dropped so dramatically that they had to start importing black slaves from Africa.

  5. Alexa R.

    No, we should not celebrate Columbus Day because we are celebrating the start of genocide on Native American people. Columbus wasn’t even the first person to discover the Americas. Holidays should be given to people who do things to help human kind not kill them. Doctors and soldiers should be celebrated not people like Columbus. Columbus brought with him diseases that the Native Americans had never come in contact with and it ended up killing huge percentages of the Native Americans. If you think about it, children could have gotten sick and died or kids mothers or fathers, the ideas are endless but it always ended up breaking up families. Why would you celebrate a guy who had something to do with tragedies like that? Columbus also made room for other explorers to come in and hurt the natives even more. Columbus enslaved Native Americans and used them to help him find gold that wasn’t even there. Everywhere Columbus went there was trouble. When he landed in the islands he turned the natives into slaves, when he went through central and southern America he gave them small pocks and measles. Christopher Columbus also helped usher in the other European Conquistadors who exploited the Native Americans divisions so they could conquer them. Europeans back then wanted nothing more than for their country to be superior to others but was all that really worth the pain and suffering it caused to the Native American people? No, I don’t believe so, celebrating Christopher Columbus day is celebrating the pain and anguish he caused to the Native American people.

  6. Will Briggs

    Columbus Day should be celebrated merely because it is one of our oldest celebrations and it would take lots of uneccessary work to change it. We should also think about the reasons why people say we shouldn’t celebrate it. He was a mass murderer, causing genocide and the slave trade.
    Now that’s is just unreasonable. You could call him a catalyist, but the only direct interaction he had w/ these events was maybe the Indians he and his men enslaved/ killed. While some may say this started a trend of slavery, it is well known that slavery was already a very popular solution for large land owners. Plus, when Columbus came and saw these natives in t-pees using still using a bow and arrow to hunt, he probably thought they were stupid and uncivilized. It was, and still is, common for people of 1st world countries to feel superior over countries worse off than us.
    Another thing we should look at is if there was no Columbus, where would we be? Probably not existing. If not Columbus, someone else might have come along, and there might be no America.
    We should continue celebrating Columbus Day, as it celebrates not Christopher Columbus, but the founding of the New World. People might say “We should at least change the name if that’s what it’s celebrating.” Well, that would not be worth the time or energy in changing a holiday that is really only important to most people because it gives them a day off.

  7. Aliyah McIlwain

    We should not celebrate Columbus Day. Many believe that Columbus found America, he did not. How can you find something already inhabited. Also, recently the Vikings have been accredited with the founding of the land that is now America. Some would make the point that after he colonized South America Spain became the world paver for 150-200 years. This may be true, but in the USA we credit him with founding America which – as I said before – isn’t true. Maybe the Columbus Day holiday would be more meaningful in Spain. Some would also paint him as some sort of “hero” because he colonized South America, fist he did it because he was paid to do so not so he could better the world in its entirety , and secondly killing Natives and giving them diseases isn’t virtuous and for the before mentioned reason it’s kind-of selfish. The Natives never asked to be colonized and oppressed. Columbus kick started the oppression of people that didn’t want foreigners on their land, and may have done very well on their own. The argument that Native societies were already weakened isn’t really valid when as you look back in history every society has their ups and downs. Colonizing Natives didn’t allow them to fix their society, they didn’t have a chance. Should we really be celebrating a holiday that people are so misinformed about? Maybe we should celebrate the founding and story of our Nation, instead one explorer that didn’t actually find our nation.

  8. Darab Khan

    I think that we should celebrate Columbus Day. As you probably know Columbus wasn’t the first person to discover America. There are said to be many people before him that had discovered it, yet hadn’t done anything about it. What Columbus had managed was an incredible feat. He had discovered water routes which led to the Americas, and opened them up to the rest of the world, something that no one else before him had done. Sure he wasn’t trying to do this, but he used his head and made his mistake into a historic moment. Columbus was trying to look for a faster way to India and other Asian countries by sea, and he believed he could do so by sailing west around the world and arriving on the east coast of Asia. This in itself was a daunting task. No ordinary person would have even thought of trying to attempt what he sought out to do. Some people blame him for what happened to the natives, but that wasn’t his fault. He was trying to do the right thing in his mind, which was to introduce this new resourceful land to the rest of the world. When settlers came over and the Natives were infected with diseases, this had nothing to do with Columbus. Sure they were infected but so were the settlers. A lot of settlers died due to Malaria, which they were not immune to. The same happened to the Natives, but on a greater scale probably because they were already weakened by previous diseases and tribal warfare. Suppose you had done the same thing. Opened up a New World for millions of people. Do you think that people should forget what you did because of unfortunate incidents that followed your discovery, and were out of your hands. Of course not. Some of us probably wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for what he did. That’s why Columbus Day should be celebrated, because of what Columbus made happen; US.

  9. Remy Combs

    I believe we shouldn’t celebrate it. Of course, people might say that Christopher Columbus was a hero for “discovering” the New World, and others might say he was a terrible person for committing genocide upon the Native American tribes, or putting them into slavery, in order to search for riches to bring back to Europe. I believe that he was a bad person, and let me tell you why. Columbus Day is a day where we celebrate the founding of our home, America. I disagree with that idea, because Columbus didn’t really discover anything. The Vikings happened upon the land that would become America thousands of years after their time. But Columbus wouldn’t have known that, obviously because they did not have the technology that we have today. But I still don’t think that that gives Columbus the right to claim the land that was already occupied by the Natives. As people already know, he conquered them, tortured them, and put them into slavery. He did this of his own accord, with no feelings of sympathy toward them. As I stated before, people thought that he was a hero. Those aren’t heroic deeds. Those are the work of a villain. When he sailed across the sea, his crew brought disease and illnesses with them. These were passed onto the Natives, which caused the astoundingly large decrease in their populations. I believe that this wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t come over to this land. Although, I understand that he did start the migration of Europeans over to the NW. Now, if that hadn’t happened, then us and the people of our country wouldn’t be here. I figure if that event hadn’t taken place, then people would probably have stayed in Europe, where it would eventually become overpopulated, and we wouldn’t have the rights and freedom there that we have in America today. So, I conclude that Columbus Day shouldn’t be celebrated, but we should at least acknowledge it.

  10. Ben Kue

    Should we celebrate Columbus’ “discovery” of the New World? Or should we celebrate his ideas of a new trade route which accidentally unveiled a new area? Leif Erickson is credited for being the first European to discover what is now known as America. He didn’t make any serious impacts in the regard of discovering newfound lands. So why do we celebrate Columbus Day?
    Christmas commemorates the birth of Christ, and to celebrate people give each other gifts to represent the gift of Christ to the world or something cheesy like that, honestly, I don’t know why we give each other presents on Christmas, but enough of that for now. Easter is celebrated by people hiding little plastic eggs around, and then lying to their children telling them a giant rabbit was frolicking around earlier and hiding eggs frivolously. And of course Easter celebrates, well, I’m actually not sure, but the point is every holiday has a reason that it is being celebrated and is shown through its celebration, not matter how absurd that celebration may be.
    When Columbus Day rolls around every year, what do people do? Are your neighbors all giddy with excitement whilst sticking plumes in their hats? Do the children down the street squeal with joy as they play with their little wooden Santa Marias? No, they don’t, that would just be preposterous, and besides, plumes went out of fashion over 400 years ago. Sure, what Columbus did is regarded by many as monumental and he has become a historic icon because of it. But whether or not it should be celebrated is a completely different matter. Columbus day in the end can be celebrated, but there is not point to it because there is no actually celebration happening.

  11. Jalen

    To be or not to be, is as tough of a question as whether or not to celebrate Columbus Day. When I first began to read about Columbus, I convinced myself that Columbus was a terrorizing enslaver who was largely responsible for wiping out 90% of the natives in the New World. The reality is a bit more complex.

    Columbus’ intentions were to find a trade route to Asia. There was no way for him to know of the Americas. If Columbus didn’t “discover” America, I’m very sure it wouldn’t have been very long for someone to do it and we would be celebrating, or criticizing, that discoverer. Indeed, it appears that much of the natives’ deaths came from diseases passed on by European explorers. With medical knowledge limited in 1492, there was absolutely no way that the Europeans knew how diseases traveled and that the Natives haven’t had any exposure to the diseases. And the natives didn’t exactly make it difficult for the explorers to mix in. Some natives exclaimed Columbus as a returning king and handed over their city to him. Columbus’s men can’t be held responsible for knowing the natives would not have built up immunities, because their knowledge of disease was inadequate.

    So does that mean we give Columbus a pass for deaths in the native population? Of course not.

    To accuse Columbus of bearing the whole weight of the holocaust of Natives at the hands of waves of explorers over many centuries is ignorant. But that said, it seems pretty clear that Columbus did some terrible things, enslaving and working to death many Natives in his quest to return back to Spain with ships of gold. Is that a legacy we should to celebrate? Or do we look at his actions according to the times in which he lived, and compare it against his historic discoveries in the New World?

    So to answer the question, I don’t think we should celebrate Columbus Day, but not for what you expect. It is widely unknown that Columbus never actually set foot on American soil. Columbus is irrelevant to our nation’s founding, which is why it’s ludicrous for us to celebrate the European discovery of the island of Hispaniola. The definition of “to discover” is “To be the first to find, learn of, or observe.” Columbus apparently wasn’t even the first European to find North America, let alone what we now call The United States of America. So it doesn’t make any logical sense for us to “celebrate” him. (422)

  12. Bridget LePine

    I believe that America should celebrate Columbus Day. The main idea behind my reasoning is that Christopher Columbus played a large role in America’s evolution. Yes Columbus may not have necessarily “discovered” the United States, but he was instrumental in finding and putting the America’s on the map. As Columbus was the first documented European explorer who landed on North American soil and was praised by the Queen and his countrymen, he certainly deserves a day of recognition.
    His discovery of the America’s is not unlike our space program of the 1960-70’s, where brave Americans explored the unknowns of outer space. Columbus was a brave explorer and competent sailor, who was influential in securing the ships, manpower and other resources required for such a lengthy journey. His crews must have weathered all kinds of hardships during their voyage.
    I realize that his exploration may have been one of the contributing causes for all of the unfortunate events that happened to the Native American’s after his landing, but these types of events are the results of any colonization of native lands.
    Most of the important events in American history have involved many different forms of bloodshed and violence. I’m not saying we should have huge parades or parties to celebrate Columbus day, but I do believe it is important for our young people to recognize the discoverer of their country, and what better way than to have a formal day of recognition for Christopher Columbus.

  13. Amber Abboud

    October 12th marks the day Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain and landed in modern day Haiti in 1492 in attempt to find a sea rout to Asia. Three centuries later it was declared as a National Holiday bearing the explorer’s name. Columbus Day should not be considered a holiday nor should it we celebrated by the American people. Christopher Columbus was obviously not the first “discover” America as many believe, and must not be credited with this title. Christopher Columbus caused the deaths of millions of people. His “discovery” of the New World wiped out entire civilizations. A man who is a genocidal slaughterer doesn’t deserve a national holiday in his name. Now it may be true that majority of the natives initial deaths were caused by disease that the Europeans unknowingly brought over seas, but they continued to be belittled and killed by the Europeans throughout the expansion of America. Columbus may not have intended to cause the death of millions, but because of him it still had happened. Some say Columbus day is justified due to him opening up a whole new world for Europeans, but this new world was already inhibited by Native Americans. In search of Gold Columbus and his crew attempted to enslave the native population they had discovered. Christopher Columbus had sparked the whole colonization of the New World, granted, without his spark we would not be in the free country we are in today. But our free country of America was made of the basis of slavery, racism, and massacre.

  14. Neelan J.

    In my opinion, I don’t think we should celebrate Columbus Day. Many people think Christopher Columbus was a good man because he “found America.” What people don’t know is that he was a genocidal murderer. When Columbus came, he had brought deadly diseases, which had killed many people already there. Christopher Columbus seized about twelve hundred Native American slaves, and then transported them to Spain in his ships, and put them to work in mines and in plantations. The genocide claimed over four million people in a time span of four years. Columbus was also not the first European to sail to North America. Apparently, there were others many years before he set foot on American soil. I don’t think Christopher Columbus should even have his own day. Many of the things he had done to the Native Americans are either a myth or a secret. When young kids are asked about “Columbus Day,” they immediately know Christopher Columbus as a great hero who found the land that we all live in. Truth is, he was not the first man to discover America, and he was also a genocidal murderer who brought Native American slaves to Spain to work for him.

  15. Anna Daugherty

    I think that we should just acknowledge Columbus Day, not necessarily celebrate it. Yes, it was a brave and courageous thing Columbus did and America may not be what it is if it wasn’t for him. However, I think it’s important to realize that Columbus coming to America caused hardships for countless Native Americans. The diseases brought to America and given to the Natives was truly a downfall for their population, but when you look at it, new settlers would get diseases too, mainly because they were not immune to these new diseases. So both sides ended up getting sick. I believe that you cannot blame that hardship on either; I think it was simply nature taking its course. The thing that bothers me most about Columbus coming and finding this new world, was the fact that the natives were forced into labor and suddenly foreigners from all over tried to shove their religious beliefs down the Native American’s throats. So does it seem right to celebrate that? Not to me. On the other hand though, I believe everything happens for a reason and Columbus just happening to miss the route to Asia was fate. Columbus was brave and found this new world, but he is not responsible for how future Americans decided to treat the Natives. Yes there are the wrongs that came out of finding this new world, but we should also acknowledge all the good that came out of this discovery. It led people to religious freedom, and gave people a chance to be able to find their path. By acknowledging Columbus Day we recognize Columbus’s bravery and how this discovery brought freedom to many, but we also recognize the pain it caused for the Native Americans. No, we should not celebrate Columbus Day we need to just acknowledge the truth and history it brings.

  16. Anne Kozak

    Why should we celebrate Columbus Day? Why should we celebrate any Day (concerning people)? People dedicate a day of the year to those people they would like to remember, so that they continue to be remembered centuries in the future. By this point there is not much of the person left—just an idea. All that the original ‘Santa Claus’ is remembered for, for example, is his sharing of gifts. The motives of this gift-giving could be entirely misinterpreted from the start, but in the end he is a cherished figure among children across the world who gives them gifts (if they’re good). So, clearly, the fame left of these people eventually becomes just a lesson, or a reminder, regardless of the worth of the person behind the idea. Similarly, the arguments for and against Columbus are not about his motives, fears, and feelings, but rather for his actions or the results of his actions. Can we celebrate Columbus for himself just on his actions, or something he could in no way predict? Of course not: by then, he is just a name for the discovery of the New World. It seems to me that the day is special only because he was the first European to discover the New World, and to Europe, it was as if we were to gain access to Mars. He is remembered in the same way, in fact, that we remember Neil Armstrong: he landed on foreign soil; he showed that something like that could be done; he marks a moment of accomplishment and hope. Nevertheless, I believe that the honoring of a turning point of history is generally useless. Historical turning points are arguably happening every moment, for all the moments that things are not happening and have the potential to be happening. If this particular turning point is important to enough people for the merit of the idea, than I’m sure it would be fine to keep the day as a reminder—provided the emphasis on Columbus himself was limited.

  17. Melissa Hall

    I believe we indeed, should celebrate Columbus Day. Although I do support celebrating it, does not mean I encourage the side of Columbus that was a genocidal murderer. I also think that it was very wrong that throughout my school education, and throughout the years I have heard nothing bad about Columbus until this year. I think people everywhere should know the horrible things that he did, but also be able to see the civilizations he started and how he created a New World. If Columbus had not been a brave enough explorer to leave everything behind, it is hard to imagine how our world would function. Also, many people believe that he started a wave of violence and killed off a bunch of Natives, but if you look past that you can see that it was not his entire fault. The diseases might not have affected the Native Americans if their societies weren’t already weakened. They were already stressed, had food shortages, and hadn’t recovered from previous illnesses. I think it would be extremely wrong to not celebrate Columbus Day and ignore all the successes he had, and the contributions he has made to this world. I also think the day should be celebrated more in schools and on the news. Specifically in my childhood, I have never felt anything special when it is Columbus Day. We don’t get school off, there are no announcements and it’s rarely brought up in class. I think of it just as another day, October 8th 2012. Although Christopher Columbus did kill off the Native Americans and forced them into labor, he was also a brave explorer that everyone knows him for. I think it is possible to celebrate the good and the bad of Columbus Day, and explain in schools why he was not just an “important man that founded America” because that is not entirely true. He was though, a courageous, hard-working, adventurous man who helped our world and society be the way it is today.

  18. Michael Trease

    In my opinion, it is critical that our nation should continue to celebrate Columbus Day. Although Christopher Columbus wasn’t the first outsider to traverse over the New World, his exploration of the New World inspired many people in Europe to begin New World exploration, opening the door to an infinite amount of possibilities. Columbus was a brave visionary who made the decision of undertaking the daunting task of finding a route to Asia via. The Atlantic Ocean. Columbus should not carry the burden of the blame of all of the disease and violence brought over from Europe, as European exploration of the New World would have been inevitable and an alternate European explorer in the sixteenth century or later would have introduced the disease and violence to the New World. The diseases brought over by Columbus and other Europeans might not have affected the natives if their societies weren’t already weakened by factors such as various food shortages and warfare between tribes. It should be taken into account that Columbus was not a selfish man, and he passed away greatly distraught and disgraced because he never found the route to Asia that he so much desired. Partially due to Columbus’ explorations, Spain would become the world power for almost two hundred years. Although I believe that Christopher Columbus’ intrepidity should be acknowledged by celebrating Columbus Day, the negative events that Columbus directly and mostly indirectly caused should also be reminded to the people. It should not be forgotten that the Spanish search for silver and gold in the New World led to the enslavement of many natives.

  19. Aaron Walt

    I personally believe that we should celebrate Columbus Day, although I understand why people think we shouldn’t. They argue that he mercilessly murdered and enslaved Indians, even though he invaded their land. But they need to remember that most of these deaths were caused by diseases that Columbus and his men brought over unknowingly. Also, the Europeans were in a new and scary place and who knows how hostile the Indians truly were. The reason we should still celebrate Columbus Day is he did do some good and most people don’t realize he did bad things and see him as a hero. We couldn’t just end Columbus day or millions of Patriotic Americans would be very angry at the Government. (More angry than they already are!) All through my childhood education, I was never taught that Columbus did bad things. They always displayed him as mr. heroic and a perfect guy. So many Americans who didn’t have the pleasure of having a great history teacher like Mr. Wickersham probably still see him as that. Plus, he did do some good. He was very brave doing what he did and he started a country to the expense of him dying broke and disgraced because he never actually discovered a path to Asia. To conclude, Columbus definetly wasn’t an ideal role model. He didn’t treat the Indians as well as he should have. But, he played a very large role in the founding of our country and we should remember that about him more than everything else.

  20. Kacey Arnold

    Columbus day shouldn’t be celebrated. He claimed to have discovered land that had been inhabited for hundreds of years. When he found out they were there and he wasnt in india he tried to completely anialate the natives, killing thousands. Also it has been recently discovered that many asian countries new of america long before columbus found it and artifacts have proved that the earliest foriegners to find america were vikings not columbus.If half of the world knew about something and europe accedently stumbles upon it that does not mean that columbus discovered it. He may have been the firts to use the land but he should not get his own day becauese the reason he has his own day is for discovering something its turns out everyone new about.

  21. Sydney Alexander

    I do not believe we should celebrate Colombus Day because it is supporting the genocide of the Native American people. People think of Columbus as a “hero” because he supposedly discovered what we call our home today. But what many don’t realuze is that he actually didn’t. Vikings found The land a long before Columbus, and the Native Americans were settled and living on the land when Columbus got there. So why do we celebrate Colombus Day? Why don’t we have Viking Day or Native American Day? 

    Not only did Colombus not discover the land, he brutally murdered the people that called the land home. He wanted to make the land his own and attempted to wipe out the Native Americans. Him and his men brought disease and created a lack of food that wiped 90% of the 100 million Native Americans who lived in the New World. To worsen the situation, they made war with the Native Americans. Columbus and his men were much more advanced than the Native Americans, especially in war, and easily overpowered them and their people. Columbus destroyed their homes, their society, and their pride.

    This is not a man that should have his actions celebrated. He is a man that we as Americans should give no credit to whatsoever, wether one would argue he discovered the Americas or not. As Americans, we argue that this is apart of “tradition”. But is tradition worth the support of the murder of a society that peacefully lived without interference for so long? It is really worth the destruction of morality, just so an undeserving man can have his “special day”?

  22. Antonio Delgado

    I believe Colombus Day should not be observed. As I am ancestraly related to the Taino native American tribe of Puerto Rico, my ancestors were some of the first people Colombus met. I find Colombus as a mass murderer who wipe out many of my ancestors. He brought many foreign diseases and imposed many rules that the Caribbean islanders didn’t agree with, and when they resisted, he killed many of them. Many people also believe Colombus “discovered America”. The truth is that he found it by accident and took advantage of the people who really found it. My ancestors. I find the fact that he viewed the Native Americans as savages as disgusting. In conclusion, Colombus was a genocidal murderer, not a national hero.

  23. Alayna Brasch

    I think we should celebrate Columbus Day because it was a significant period in history. This specific day symbolizes the day Columbus found what we call America today, not what happened to the Natives. He may have brought violence and diseases and death to the Natives, and he may even have been a genocidal murderer, but we do not celebrate Columbus Day for those reasons.
    Even though he may not have exactly found America, his expeditions resulted in more knowledge in geography and trade. He discovered that the world was not flat. He was a very brave explorer who went out and found the new world for the Europeans.
    I think the overall reason we celebrate Columbus Day, is to celebrate the discovery of the new world, and not as much Columbus himself. And if we didn’t celebrate Columbus Day as a national holiday, there would be a lot of people who wouldn’t know about Columbus and the discovery of the new world for Europe. No one would know that he brought many Europeans to the newly discovered world. And no one would know about the many controversies and arguments about whether Columbus should be looked at as a brave explorer and hero, or a genocidal murderer who in fact, did not find the new world. It is important that we celebrate Columbus Day so we know the history of America and how it became what it is today.

  24. Chris G.

    We should cease to celebrate Columbus Day, first because it is ludicrous to say a place already inhabited can be “discovered”; second because Columbus failed to add anything new to the pool of European knowledge; and finally because the celebration of Columbus sends a message of hostility to the very peoples who have paid most dearly to establish the great nation of which we are a part. Columbus was personally and intimately involved in wanton violence against the Native people of the islands of the Caribbean, where he landed. He encouraged his men to assault Native women as young as nine or ten; he punished minor offenses against his domination by cutting off the Natives’ noses and ears. Resistance only inspired him to full warfare on the island people, using, among other things, hunting dogs to literally tear the Indians apart. Later Columbus set up a tribute system to get the gold he had been unable to find, forcing the people to bring him gold regularly. Those who failed to do so had their hands cut off. Columbus’ men hunted the people for sport and used the bodies for dog food. Soon forced labor was added to the list as well, in a system which led to malnutrition and disease. The Native people of Haiti, where Columbus established a colony in 1493, were almost completely exterminated within one generation, due directly or indirectly to Columbus’ actions. Columbus set in motion the machinery which would lead to so much suffering for African peoples.

  25. Connor P.

    I believe that we should indeed celebrate Columbus Day on the day it is perceived. I believe that we should celebrate Columbus Day because it celebrates the day a great explorer founded America and spawned our great nation. Yes I understand that Christopher Columbus did end up killing many Native Americans but his intent wasn’t to kill them. Most of the deaths were caused by a disease carried on the ship and I don’t see how you can blame anyone for not knowing the disease would kill many Native Americans. Plus, if Christopher Columbus didn’t discover America then who would? I think that if Columbus didn’t discover us that some other nation would discover America and the same thing would happen to the natives. All Columbus did was be the first to get here. Plus I don’t think that when we celebrate Columbus Day we don’t think about Christopher Columbus solely but I think we focus on it as being the day our great nation was finally discovered. For all we know if he hadn’t discovered us first we could be speaking German or French right now. Christopher Columbus wasn’t greedy either, he died a broken and poor man and his body was never discovered. I also believe that the Native Americans were in bad shape to begin with. We brought a time of technology to the natives and we expanded and united the American mainland. The Indians were a divide d nation constantly at war with another if we didn’t come they might of even killed themselves off as they were starving to death when we arrived. These are reasons why I believe we should celebrate Columbus day.

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