As America prepares to celebrate the annual holiday honoring Christopher Columbus, many Americans struggle to understand how and why White men are the most common perpetrators of mass killings.
Many are equally at a loss to understand Columbus and his history. Even after absolute proof of his orchestrating and implementing the mass genocide of millions of indigenous people on the land that he stole, Americans still remain mystified about his motives.
“He lived a quiet life before his rampage”
“Christopher Columbus enjoyed opera music, horse riding, and swimming; he lived a quiet life before his cruel genocide, rape, and pilgrimages of the Americas.” If Columbus lived today, maybe that is what a newscaster would have to say about him.
After his death, the release of Columbus’ personal diary accounts allowed for a deeper examination of his crimes and his mentality. Here are a few excerpts from his diary.
“He came from such a good family.” – Christopher Columbus’ neighbors
Christopher Columbus’ actual words when first met the Native people:
“They…brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things…They willingly traded everything they owned…They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…They would make fine servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
“They seemed to have a perfect marriage.”
“Christopher Columbus was happily married and they seemed to have a perfect marriage.” -Christopher Columbus’ wife’s best friend
Christopher Columbus’s own words about women:
“While I was in the boat I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me, and with whom, having taken her into my cabin, she being naked according to their custom, I conceived desire to take pleasure. I wanted to put my desire into execution but she did not want it and treated me with her finger nails in such a manner that I wished I had never begun. But seeing that (to tell you the end of it all), I took a rope and thrashed her well, for which she raised such unheard of screams that you would not have believed your ears. Finally we came to an agreement in such manner that I can tell you that she seemed to have been brought up in a school of harlots.”
“He had great leadership skills.” Christopher Columbus’ School Principal
Christopher Columbus describes his leadership style:
“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island, which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.”
“He was a great Christian and went to Mass every Sunday.” Parishioners from Christopher Columbus’s Church
From the diary of Christopher Columbus’s priest, Bartolomé de las Casas:
Endless testimonies...prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives....But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy...
And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers' breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them head first against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, "Boil there, you offspring of the devil!"
Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim's feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire. With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim's neck, saying, "Go now, carry the message," meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains. They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them...
HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY AMERICA!
Everyone loves a parade!
ShaRonda Knott Dawson currently resides in the west suburbs of Chicago with her two girls, ages 8 and 4, and her husband, Brian. She received her masters degree from The University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration, with an emphasis on management and public policy. ShaRhonda has over 15 years experience in nonprofit program management. She also has worked over 20 years as a political organizer, focusing on engaging youth, and people of color.