Christopher Columbus Villian or Hero?

Essay by zksHigh School, 11th gradeA, August 2004

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Christopher Columbus: Villain

On the second Monday in October the people of the United States of America celebrate Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus is taught to be a hero in America but was he really? Or was he a ruthless murderer who wiped out an entire nation.

Christopher Columbus found a land that was not known to the "civilized" world yet. He completely wiped off of the land the natives who had previously inhabited it. His main trade was exporting Natives to Spain; only one third of the Natives who were exported to Spain survived the boat ride. Enslaving and exporting the Natives was not the worst of what Columbus did. When Columbus heard that there was gold in the hills he sent 500 Natives to mine it. When Columbus heard rumours of the Natives planning an attack, he sent 400 men to go terrorize them to show that they were stronger.

Columbus' men were so cruel they even stole most of the Natives' food. It only got worse; native women were raped by Columbus himself. Overall Christopher Columbus was a horrible person. If he was to be compared to a villain of the twentieth century it would probably be Slobadan Milosevic. Milosevic was the man who ethnically cleansed Muslims in Bosnia-Serbia. CNN describes what Milosevic did as:

Enforcing a policy of 'ethnic cleansing,' Bosnian Serbs set out to "purify"

Bosnia by expelling Bosnian Muslims from the country. Bosnian Serb forces drove Muslims from their homes, subjecting them to mass rape, confinement in concentration camps and genocide.

So how is this different from what Columbus did? Columbus exported the natives through ethnic-cleansing, murdered the natives, and subjected their women to mass rape. If Christopher Columbus was alive today he would be tried for crimes against humanity. The holiday for him...