The Curious Case of Christopher Columbus: A Study in Historical Revisionism

Posted on 13 November 2009


Christopher Columbus

Attorneys can be disbarred.  Saints can be de-canonized (just ask St. Christopher, the guy who used to protect us as we took our lives into our hands on the Jersey highways).  So what do you call it when the man credited with discovering America is no longer honored, as he was in the recent past, with his own day and parades replete with marching bands?  I’m really not sure what to call it, other than a miscarriage of justice for the great Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus.

 

Far more progressive and controversial than his contemporaries, Columbus postulated that the world was not flat but round.  Columbus’ theory put forth that a spherical planet would enable a faster trade route to the East, wherein lay all manner of goods and beaucoup bucks, as we say today, for those who traded those goods.  With visions of riches dancing in his head, Columbus made his sales pitch to the King of Spain, who was both tolerant and solvent.  It was a good sales pitch, for it earned the explorer three fine ships and a crew by which he had planned to haul back the goods, create new wealth for himself and the Spanish monarch, and offer the people of Europe the luxuries of the Orient.

 

Instead of discovering a new route to the East, Columbus ran ashore of the New World (America).  Planting the flag of Spain on North American soil, he dubbed and befriended the native “Indians”, for indeed, he’d assumed initially that he’d hit India.   Eventually, he found his way to the Caribbean, where he located the spices and other interesting commodities for which he’d been hoping.

 

In his honor, October 12th was dedicated as Columbus Day: a day to remember the man who’d discovered this continent.   Not so very long ago, schools closed in Columbus’ honor.  Floats moved in stately fashion down the streets of our cities as well as small towns, such as the one in which I was raised.  Brass instruments flashed in the sun, children waved the Stars and Stripes, and entire communities marched in honor.  Everyone celebrated Columbus Day.

 

Inevitably, the Politically Correct came slinking out of their dark, foreboding crevasses to kill Columbus Day, just as they have been trying to do, systematically, with Christmas and Halloween.   Heated discussions arose as to whether or not Nordic explorers or even St. Brendan of Ireland discovered America before Christopher.  And then, of course, came the allegations that Columbus, through guilt by very tenuous association and many generations removed, was responsible for the near-obliteration of the “Indians” (Native Americans).

 

Ergo, no more annual Columbus Day parades, except for those few surviving in proud Italian-American communities, such as Bensonhurst, in Brooklyn, New York.

 

At the time when The Troubles were rampant in Northern Ireland, Great Britain published history books that showed maps of Ireland removed of the 9 offensive Northern counties.  England effectively rewrote history, as it was a bit uncomfortable.  Across the globe, Japanese history books made no mention of the events of Pearl Harbor.  When Japanese tourists visit Hawaii for the first time, they are shocked and horrified to learn of this portion of their history that has been buried.

 

Now that we’ve removed the pomp and circumstance, along with the pride we once felt surrounding Columbus Day, is America now guilty of rewriting history to make things comfortable for the so-called Politically Correct?





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10 Responses to “The Curious Case of Christopher Columbus: A Study in Historical Revisionism”

  1. Effie says:

    Yet another instance of the politically correct attempting to obliterate our traditions. I’m one of the people who do remember the parades on Columbus Day. They were peaceful and joyous, full of civic pride.

  2. Beth says:

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  3. Ka says:

    Great article.

  4. Turtle says:

    I saw this really great post today!

  5. dangermom says:

    Just ran across this while looking for CC talk. Just to let you know, everyone at that time knew that the world was round. Columbus’ theory was that the globe was much smaller than everyone thought, so he insisted it would be possible to sail to the East without much trouble. In fact, the prevailing opinion about the size of the Earth was much more accurate and Columbus was wrong–it’s just that no one expected a whole ‘nother continent in the way. Lucky for Columbus!

    Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician and librarian, estimated the circumference of the Earth in 240 BC and was very nearly correct–he was only about 1% off. People have known that the world is round since ancient times.

  6. James says:

    Seriously? You are definding this guy? Columbus was a pirate before he went to the Americas, launching raids on Italian shipping for the French and Spanish Kings. In the Americas he was a looter and slaver responsible for widespread atrocities against the Indians (enslavement, chopping off the hands of those who didn’t find enough gold). He provided his buddies young girls to be raped by sailors. He was such a cruel governor that his own government sent him back home in chains for embarrassing them. See this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/aug/07/books.spain for just a taste. And read Bartolomé de las Casas’ Account of the Destruction of the Indies for more atrocities than you can stomach.

    Being an adult means occasionally realizing the world is not always the way we thought it was when we were young. Columbus was not a good man, and his legacy is something that I for one don’t want to honor. If that’s ‘political correctness’, sign me up.

  7. Aishah Bowron says:

    Christopher Columbus was an evil bloodthirsty tyrant who abducted, enslaved, murdered and chopped up millions of native Americans he called Indians because he thought he was in the East Indies. I fucking hate Columbus’s guts, he’s a bloody genocidal murderer who takes pleasure at people’s suffering and watching them die !. He’s more beast than human being, more sinner than saint and more butcher than explorer. The guy never even set foot on North American soil, he discovered the Caribbean.

  8. Jack S. Fogbound says:

    WoW, This article has generated mixed emotions with love and hate, just because a navigator of his time believed by sailing west he would find a shorter route to India and by accident he discovered a new continent. How many people he killed in the process has nothing to do with his discovery. These were the days of the Spanish Inqusition that forced people to submit to accepting religion under the pain of death. The use of expletive language to plead your case only detracts from the art of conversation

  9. Cyn says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. 🙂


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