Some may have many answers to this question, but some may still be confused about the reality of who Christopher Columbus was and what he did when he arrived on the shores of what is now called the Bahamas.
Many people still believe that he “discovered” America or that he was an American himself, but the truth is that Christopher Columbus was a European explorer, in the 13th Century. He was able to convince the monarch of Spain that going around the earth would be a faster route to reach India then to go around Africa.
What Christopher Columbus did was reach land, after what must have been months of treacherous open ocean travel, and saw dark-skinned peoples speaking another language. He thought he had made it to India and thus the people must have been Indians and the islands “the west indies.”
What Christopher Columbus did not do is discover the free land we know now as The United States of America.
First of all, there were hundreds of thousands of people who had been living in the Americas since they crossed the ice bridge in the last ice age, 15,000 years ago. Secondly, he was not even the first European to reach the Americas. Hundreds of years before, the Vikings were traveling through what we know as Greenland and Canada, along with several other European explorers that preceded Columbus.
Columbus’ arrival in Central America was the catalyst for hundreds of years of genocide and slavery.
Thousands of lives and cultures are forever lost. So why is he remembered for the “discovery” of America? According to the Smithsonian Mag, The American colonists chose this forgotten figure that was Columbus. He made for the perfect person to take the role of discovering America away from the British settlers that were tied to the British Monarch.
I hope this opens your eyes to some truths that were otherwise omitted from your history class 😉
Happy Indigenous People’s Day