Today in History, October 12: 1492 – Three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, commanded by Christopher Columbus, discover the New World. Columbus went ashore on one of the Bahama Islands and claimed it for his sponsors, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. He continued on to find Cuba and Hispaniola in the days ahead, which he thought were Cathay (China) and Japan respectively. The expedition believed they had accomplished their mission of finding a western trade route to the far east. He would bring back riches to Spain that would set off a competition for new lands in the New World by the major powers of Europe.
Millions would die in the years to come due to disease brought on by the meshing of multiple cultures who had no immunity to each other. Also due to the Europeans using the indigenous peoples as slave labor.
Should we honor Columbus and his contemporaries as heroes? Or demonize them for their abuses? It is possible to recognize both. History is what it is and should be studied that way.
Columbus, the Vikings, Hudson, Magellen, etc, etc. The Americas were going to be discovered and settled by what were then foreigners.
The atrocities which occurred did not have to have occurred. Columbus statues should not be removed…they are history. Instead, lets also recognize people who have previously been forgotten to history whose stories are just as important.