Last week, s.e. smith wrote an incredible piece exposing the rotten foundation of Thanksgiving, which is just the right thing to share with relatives who insist on looking beyond America’s history of rape, murder, and brutal colonization without acknowledging it.
Many believe that Christopher Columbus discovered America (he didn’t) and that contact between colonizer and colonized was peaceful, friendly, and involved breaking bread around a table. It didn’t. The United States still insists on giving a murderer a federal holiday alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., so here’s what contact between Europe and the Americas actually looked like:
- Christopher Columbus was the first slave trader in the Americas. His son became the first African slave trader in 1505.
- Columbus punished a man accused of stealing corn by having his ears and nose cut off. Then he was sold into slavery.
- When a woman suggested that Columbus was of lowly birth, his brother had her stripped and carried through town on the back of a mule before her tongue was cut out.
- Columbus “rewarded” his troops by giving them Indigenous women to rape.
- Twenty years after the Spanish landed on the island of Hispaniola, only 60,000 of an estimated 3 million Tainos were still alive on the island. Thirty years after that, not a single original Indigenous inhabitant could be found.
- After Indigenous unrest and uprising in what’s now the Dominican Republic, Columbus ordered his troops to murder Indigenous people and parade their dismembered bodies in the streets as a warning to others.
- Columbus’s troops once dismembered, beheaded, and raped 3,000 Indigenous people in one day.
- Columbus forced Indigenous people in the Bahamas to work in gold mines for his profit. If a worker did not deliver their assigned gold quota for the day, soldiers cut off the man’s hands and left them tied around his neck.
- Columbus had escaped slaves burned alive or sent attack dogs to hunt and kill them.
- Columbus fed Indigenous babies to his troop’s dogs.
- Columbus’s troops made bets on which of them could cut a person in half with one sword strike before actually doing it and frequently used Indigenous bodies to “test” the strength of their weapons.
- Columbus’s troops poured boiling soap down the throats of Indigenous people until they died.
- He also had Indigenous people roasted on spits.
- It’s estimated that in the first 50 years after contact, between 3 and 5 million Indigenous people died of disease and starvation.
- Christopher Columbus was a bloodthirsty murderer and rapist who was arrested and imprisoned by Spain for crimes against the Indian people. Columbus confessed and was convicted, but was later pardoned because of the wealth he had amassed for his country. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯