Why Do We Still Celebrate Columbus Day?

In fourteen hundred ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;

He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

Most people remember that poem from elementary school. It has a catchy rhyme and it was used as an easy way for kids to remember the year that Columbus sailed across the ocean and discovered what we now call America. For a long time, people have held Christopher Columbus as the original founder of this great nation. However, the more we learn about history, the more we learn Columbus, as far as what Americans revere him to be, is a fraud.

Christopher Columbus sailed across the ocean to prove that the Earth was not flat. He knew that there was land out beyond the ocean and he was determined to find it.

A brief history:

Columbus made 4 trips in total. The first trip he landed on what is now known as the Bahamas. He wasted no time in ?claiming? the land for Spain, but that land had already belonged to the natives there. The first conquering was now done and he hurried back to Spain to spread the ?good? news. The second trip was much more involved; Columbus took possession from the natives of Puerto Rico, Leeward Islands, and Cuba. He went back the Bahamas, Hispaniola, and left his own brother in charge.

He then went back to Spain and took convicts with him where he planned on making them colonists in Hispaniola because of the horrid conditions there. Of course he took the lowest of the low to make colonies in a hostile place. The convicts had nothing else to lose, so if they died, it meant nothing to Spain or Columbus.? In going back to Hispaniola, he actually ended up taking them to Trinidad where he again conquered the land from the natives. He ended up going back to Spain in the custody of the crown because of the bad reports on the conditions of Hispaniola. He was eventually released and he made one final trip back to the ?new world?.

On his fourth and final trip, he went to go back to Hispaniola to reclaim what he said was his land and ended up going to Honduras. On his way back to Hispaniola, he was shipwrecked on Jamaica. He was then subsequently rescued and went back to Spain to stay, thus ending his now infamous voyages across the ocean blue.

The point of the brief history of Columbus was to show that not once did he discover actual North American soil. Yes, he may have sailed to Central and South America during his trips, but he did not conquer them nor claim them for Spain. Amerigo Vespucci is reportedly the first to discover South America and claim it for himself and Spain; calling it America.

Even though the Americas got their name from Vespucci, neither him nor Columbus actually discovered North America or conquered it in the name of their homeland. While they were both revered as explorers, only Columbus has a day in America that is celebrated.

Unfortunately, we celebrated a man who was brutal to the natives and did whatever was necessary to rape the lands away from the natives. We say ?Columbus discovered?? but that word ?discovered? is not accurate. There were people already living on those lands. Men, women, and children who made their lives there until they were forced to comply with Spain’s rule, die, or become slaves.

So, why do we still celebrate Columbus Day?

Maybe it is the military complex we have set up for ourselves, or perhaps it is the deep primitive side of ourselves that says taking land away from people to better yourself is a good thing. People conquered lands all the time back then, not that it makes it right, but it was a common occurrence. If a powerful or royal government wanted something, they took it by force. That was just the way of it back then. Unfortunately, it is still a common occurrence, with regard to imminent domain. It has gotten a little worse though, with the Republicans now wanting to take control over a woman’s body or a homosexual’s marriage.

However, we are in 2013 now and we know from historical documents that Columbus, nor any other Spaniard, discovered North America, yet we still have a day for it. Are we too lazy to change the name to a more correct attribute or are we afraid the majority of people will be woken up from their misguided understandings of Columbus?

More surprisingly, it is not something we originally celebrated. Colorado made it an official state holiday in 1906, but it did not become an official federal holiday until 1937. The celebration of such violence goes right along with our own history though.

The United States has a military industrial complex and a need to force others around the world to be just like us. You could say that the United States has delusions of grandeur, but the Republicans call it ?exceptionalism?.

There is hope though, in South Dakota they at least celebrate this day as it should be; ?Native American Day?. We need to remember that the white man was just a conqueror of this land, not a discoverer. The Native Americans lived here, made homes, and raised family here long before we came and took it from them. Maybe the rest of the country should follow suit and rename it ?Native American Day? so we can be more factually accurate and give praise to those who were actually here before some Vikings or Spaniards came across the shores to steal this land.

So, happy Native American Day everyone and make sure you thank a union for the day off!

Let us know your thoughts at the Liberal America Facebook page. Sign up for our free daily newsletter to receive more great stories like this one.

Edited/Published by: SB

Courtney is an author of two books, "A Godless Awakening: Finding Happiness After Losing God" (autobiography) and "It Is Ok To Be A Godless Me" (Children's book). She has written for Occupy Democrats and runs her own blog, "The Secular Liberal". She has a Bachelor's degree in business marketing and an Associate's degree in psychology. Courtney lives and breaths politics and is a self-described "bleeding liberal".