Monday, October 10, 2016
My Annual Columbus Day Rant
It is Columbus Day, my office is closed, the United States Federal Government and most government offices are closed, and frankly I am not sure why. Saying that Columbus "discovered" north America is like saying that I "discovered" women. North America was here, and others had been here before him - native people lived here and had highly organized societies, long before 1492.
European scholars of of the 1400s, had calculated the circumference of the earth with amazing accuracy. As a navigator, Columbus had to know that he had not traveled far enough to be in India, he know how far India was by the land route east from Spain, he was hoping to travel to it by going west across the Ocean. If he calculated the distance east, and the distance he had traveled west, he knew he was not in India, and yet he said he was in India - he was lost or lying. He dubbed the natives he encountered as Indians - a mistake that has stuck for centuries. His disdain for the native people was deplorable. He described them as savages, barely bright enough to be suitable as slaves.
Bottom line, Columbus was either lost, or lying to the world, his sponsors and his crew about where he was going, where he went, and what he found. He was an incredible bigot, who didn't discover anything. And yet we shut down the country for a day, some places still hold parades in his honor.
There is a native american movement to eliminate Columbus Day, bravo!
If we want to honor great Italian achievement, there are a boatload of scholars, and artists we can honor.