Does Christopher Columbus Deserve a Holiday?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today is Columbus Day, a federal holiday commemorating Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who famously landed on American soil in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, after spending over two months sailing from Spain. His voyage across the Atlantic prompted many other explorers to follow suit, eventually opening the doors to settlement and trade between North America and the rest of the world. Many people disagree, however, with applying the word "discovered" to Columbus's landing in America, and others criticize him for his cruelty toward Native Americans, and insist that he doesn't deserve a holiday.

Kenneth Davis, the author of "Don't Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History But Never Learned," discusses the true legacy of Columbus.

Produced by:

Jessica Xanthe Cran

Comments [15]

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Mar. 07 2013 03:44 AM
Sammie from Wisconsin Rapids

I also like cheese!!! And pickles!!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!

Oct. 29 2012 01:52 PM
KitKatatethat from One place that I wont tell

He was just way to self consious! He was very very greety and didnt discover america!

Oct. 15 2012 02:16 PM
Izzthefizz from Wisconsin Rapids

I like cheese

Oct. 15 2012 02:14 PM
izzthefizz from Wisconsin Rapids

I don't think he deserves a holiday!!! Hes a fail!!

Oct. 15 2012 02:12 PM
person123

i dont think he deserves a hoilday!

Oct. 15 2012 02:06 PM
Sam from Wisconsin Rapids

I dont celebrate that holiday because he doesnt deserve it! All he did was land on the New World and people started to celabrate it and act like it means alot to people. Well it doesnt to me because of what he did in his years. I agree with Aishah Bowron that Christopher is cold hearted and is rude he honestly doesnt deserve a holiday!!

Oct. 15 2012 02:01 PM
Vicente from Miami, FL

Great segment and great research by Mr. Davis with the exception of great error or misstatement. During the segment Mr. Davis said “Columbus didn’t discover America, he instead discover Club Med” Using Mr. Davis logic the Philippines are not part of the Asian continent. America is the whole continent, which includes the Caribbean, North, Central and South America. A historian should be aware of the geography of the subject matter he or she is discussing.

Oct. 10 2011 05:19 PM
Aishah Bowron

I don't celebrate genocidal murderers and transatlantic slave traffickers !.. Columbus is an evil, cold, heartless pig who brought death, violence and pain to the Americas !. Stop celebrating this guy now !.

Oct. 10 2011 01:28 PM
Kenneth Yanes-Schafer from New York, NY

Columbus thought he was in India, and then claimed land that was not to be had. Now we have words such as "Indian," "Indigenous," "Red Skins," and "New World," which are all qualifiers of the Other. Today, I honor the cultures of the original people of the Americas whose cultures are as rich, ancient and sophisticated as those from the "Old World." Today, I honor their plight to maintain their cultures and languages throughout the centuries of isolation and hardship. Today, I remember and honor my Mayan ancestors...

Oct. 10 2011 12:38 PM
Ed from Larchmont

And the suffragettes will never have their day because they were pro-life.

Oct. 10 2011 09:58 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Some notes. You didn't mention the Indian cultures in the Americas - human sacrifice, etc. Not paradise.

Columbus didn't discover America, but did discover the Americas.

Yes, the Greeks argued that the earth was round, but then came the dark ages and most of their learning was lost for a time.
Even so, no one had tried to get to the east by going west (except Erikson, etc.).

1492 was the consolidation of the Spanish Kingdoms and the unification of Spain. They had fought for 600 years to drive the Muslims (the aggressive agent that threatened France and Christian Europe) from Spain, and little by little they did, and succeeded in 1492. They got a little carried away and tried to unify the kingdom more than was reasonable by also driving out the Jews. But the pope celebrated their success over the Muslims, which threatened Italy and the eastern Mediterranean also, and would do so in the early 1500s also, but that they were defeated at Malta. The Muslims were attacking Christian Europe as the radical Muslims are attacking the West today.

Columbus didn't bring armies and kill people - he brought Christ and sailed under the banner of Christ. The Spanish that followed fought wars - it wasn't their fault they brought disease the natives couldn't handle - no one yet understood that - and the Spanish tried to take wealth back to Spain. And they brought many Franciscans who settled on the Pacific coast. The pope told the Spanish that they had to teach the natives to read so they could learn their religions, and that they were human beings, so they weren't treated as badly as the African American slaves in the US years later. And Our Lady appeared in Guadalupe in 1531 and most of the natives converted to Catholicism.

Portugal and Spain were fighting over which area which country would take, and they appealed to the pope, and he drew the line - Portugal below this line, Spain above it - so Brazil speaks Portuguese, and he stopped the first world wide war.

Oct. 10 2011 09:56 AM
Don from Denver

Did Columbus himself actually harm anyone or was it an unfortunate side effect of his exploration? We NEED courageous explorers to break us from our old ways. Otherwise why celibrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Caesar Chavez or even Christ? Let's all stop using our hands to point fingers, and use them for clapping!

Oct. 10 2011 09:49 AM
Doug Temple from Denver

Jesus sponsors child molesting worldwide. Down with Christmas. Al davis was a dope. Stop the Super Bowl.

Oct. 10 2011 09:31 AM
Asa from Manhattan

It would be better if this day were dedicated to the plight of Native Americans rather than a celebration of Italian Americans. It was Columbus who opened the doors to the centuries of conflict that saw the near eradication of all indigenous American civilizations.

Oct. 10 2011 09:00 AM

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