Monday was a national holiday. It was a day where we (or at least government employees) sat back and reflected on the late, great American hero, Christopher Columbus. For it was a little over 500 years ago that Chris made his first epic voyage to
America islands close to America.
On October 12th around 2 a.m.
Christopher Columbus some random crew member named Rodrigo de Triana first saw land. When the crew came to know the “Indians” that were on the island (that would one day be part of the Bahamas) Columbus wrote these fine words about the peaceful natives:
They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them. I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. If it pleases our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highnesses when I depart, in order that they may learn our language. I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased.”
What a true American legend. He would later change his mind about converting the natives to Christians because those who were baptized could not become slaves (obviously). When he originally wrote he would take six back, what he meant was a number closer to 25, but only seven or eight survived the trip so he was pretty close. This voyage is also thought to have brought syphilis to Europe, but it was more the Indians and crew members’ faults as opposed to Columbus…so we don’t hold that against him.
Columbus would eventually make four voyages to
America the islands close to America. He set foot in Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, Dominican Republic where he continued to use such technology as metal swords to get what he wanted. The true American Spanish way.
The fact that Columbus never really reached America is a moot point. So is the fact that he died thinking that the land he discovered was India. The people of the 15th century never thought the Earth was flat (this idea was popularized in the 19th century) so he was no ground breaker there, but that’s irrelevant. He also wasn’t the first European to make the trip, (Leif Ericson did it about 500 years before Columbus was born) but that detail is rather pointless. Hell, who cares that his name wasn’t even Christoper Columbus (it was Christoffa Corombo).
What’s important is that he got the queen of Spain (cleverly so since he was from modern day Italy) to pay for him to find a quicker way to India for trading, but instead found new land. He immediately began enslaving the natives there and forcing European culture upon some of them while killing the rest. This is what America is all about. Christopher Columbus is the epitome of the slogan, “If it’s not yours, take it so long as you are stronger than the person whom it belongs…then squash that person to the point where he agrees all along it was yours in the first place.” That, my friends, is what we celebrate on the second Monday in October.
So thank you Christopher Columbus for your pioneering ways…and the extra money for my new sports jacket that I’ll be busting out at Keeneland this weekend.