As you’re probably aware, today is a federal holiday known as Columbus Day. But did you know Columbus hunted down Native Americans for sport and used their bodies as dog food? Or that he sold nine- and ten-year-old girls as sex slaves? Or that his gold exports inadvertently made him the father of the transatlantic slave trade?
While many of us have undoubtedly heard that Columbus was a less-than-honorable character, a detailed account on a site known as The Oatmeal reveals just how despicable his actions were. In the form of an essay/cartoon hybrid, the account provides some very specific reasons why there should not be a federal holiday named after Columbus—an honor bestowed upon the likes of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln.
Instead of celebrating Columbus, the author proposes an alternative in the form of Bartolomé de las Casas. While far less well-known, de las Casas was an adventurer like Columbus who spent 50 years fighting for the equality of Native Americans, earning him the title “Defender of the Indians.” Let’s be honest—that sounds far more worthy of celebration than anything Columbus ever did.
You can read the full essay here. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments!