Monday, October 08, 2007

Columbus Day

Columbus day. Always a great time to remember the "discovery" of the New World. Also, a nice time to point out that Columbus began and helped to perpetuate the first round of European dominion over the New World - and it's inhabitants. He came across the Atlantic looking for a shortcut to the Far East. Once here, he enslaved native peoples, Taino and Caribe indians, among others, put them to work looking for gold and serving the explorers (the young females often forced into sexual servitude). When these natives resisted this servitude and the destruction of their land, they were slaughtered. The ones that weren't slaughtered, died of disease or starvation.

The earliest census of the native inhabitants of Hispanola by one of Columbus' own crew was about 1 million inhabitants. Within 30 years, there were none left. None. These aren't liberal 'we hate America' opinions, these are agreed on historical facts - hardly ever taught in school, however. The slaughter of 1 million people 500 years ago would equate to a figure of roughly 12 million people, adjusted for total world population, today.

The first few chapters of Howard Zinn's "A Peoples' History of the United States" and Dee Brown's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: How The West was Lost" are both very illuminating books on this subject.

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