Christopher Columbus: The Villain
- Length: 548 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)
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Christopher Columbus, was he a hero, or villain? For about 500 years, people have praised him and celebrated his life as though he was someone who did good for us. Schools teach students that Columbus was a great man, found gold and pearls, and discovered new lands. Students are even taught the names of Christopher Columbus' three ships he used on his first voyage. However, they grow up not knowing the truth about Christopher Columbus, what he really did to 'accomplish' his tasks. I simply believe that schools should show both sides of Columbus' story, so that students can be aware of the facts behind the 'discovery' of Early America.
Christopher Columbus unintentionally discovered America, when he landed in the Caribbean Islands. He had left Spain in search of Asia and India. When he and his crew arrived at what now is Haiti for his second voyage, they demanded food, gold, and anything else they wanted from the Indians, even sex with their women. Columbus punished those who committed offenses against him. Rape and enslavement had been brought upon the natives. When the natives of the land, known as the Arawaks, tried to fight back, it led to a massacre of their people in which by Columbus? order, meant crossbows, small cannons, lances, and swords to destroy them. Even wild hunting dogs were released to rip up the Arawaks, whom by the end of the day were dead or ready to ship to Spain as slaves. None of this was ever taught to students.
I didn?t know much about Columbus, but when it was taught to us as a class, which was rarely, the lessons were brief and covered only the ?positive? things that he did. That is, from the eyes of those who believe Columbus was a noble man. It wasn?t until 6th grade when my teacher showed my class the book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen that we opened our eyes and saw reality. We had been deceived. Deceived by videos. Deceived by books. Deceived by teachers. But at least it felt good to know the truth-finally.
There is no reason for schools to be hiding reality from young minds. Young minds that just suck in all this information without questioning it. They are vulnerable, gullible almost, and believe almost anything. So teaching kids the real side of things should be the correct thing to do.
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Or isn?t it? Schools should show what Columbus really was, a lucky explorer who happened to come across a land that had already been inhabited. That isn?t ?discovering.? There is a statue and a landmark in New York dedicated to him. So many other people, most who knew the difference between right and wrong, helped make this country what it is, and not even half are mentioned in school history books. This, although minor, is a problem.
So in conclusion, I ask for more thought to be put in when schools are teaching lessons like this. The truth, and all the truth, should be taught to students. Also, for people to open their eyes and see Christopher Columbus not as a hero or an admiral, but as the cruel, heartless villain that encouraged genocide and took what wasn?t his.