In fourteen ninety-two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
And that is about as close to the truth as I learned about Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America. Because I went to a die-hard liberal grade school in New York (s/o to P.S. 321!), I learned the truth about Christopher Columbus at a very early age. So, while he may have gotten us a day off from school, he was and should be remembered as the opportunistic leader of a deadly crew.
Rape, murder, and mayhem are not easy concepts to grasp when you’re just learning the difference between cooties and bad hygeine.
Three and a half things you should know about Christopher Columbus:
1. Christopher Columbus was not very good at listening to other people’s ideas. Born and raised in Genoa, Italy, Christopher Columbus started sailing at an early age. His diary claims that he was at sea at the age of 10. By 26, he had possibly traveled to Iceland. And when you’re sailing for most of your life you learn very early on that there’s very little to do when you’re out at sea. Which is why Columbus taught himself about everything from astronomy and religion, to Portuguese and Latin. But when you start teaching yourself things from books you’ve read on your own, you start to doubt ideas that other people have already proven, like the circumference of the Earth, the longitudinal distance of Asia, and the difference between an Arabic and Roman mile. So, basically what my teachers taught me was that Christopher Columbus was not very good at geography and he thought he was being clever by figuring out a shortcut instead of doing all the work that everyone else was doing. Now he’s got a national holiday named after him. And my teacher wondered why I was cheating.
2. Christopher Columbus made history for all the wrong reasons. Columbus and his crew may have opened the way for American colonization but, in reality, Christopher Columbus was also responsible for the future deaths of hundreds of thousands as his discovery of a land of west of Europe opened the way for disease, war, and slavery. Not only was he wrong about where he thought he landed but he also stole, raped, and killed his way into the history books. #@$% this guy.
3. Christopher Columbus spent 6 weeks in prison before dying 6 years later. At least he didn’t get off that easily. While hailed for being the brave explorer of “The New World”, Christopher Columbus didn’t get the send-off he thought he deserved when on October 1, 1500, he was chained and thrown into a Spanish prison. Him and his brothers were charged with using barbaric acts of torture and being a dick while governing Hispaniola. After he was stripped of his title as Governor of Hispaniola, the Spanish crown reneged on their agreed upon 10% cut of all revenues coming out of the newly discovered islands — which basically amounted to nothing. So yeah, Columbus died poor, old, and ridiculed.
3½. According to almost every statue of him, Columbus liked to point.