Speaking of Cutting Off People’s Hands, Happy Columbus Day!

Celebrating a man who raped and tortured his way into history.

Imagine, if you will, that the man who murdered your entire family, raped your daughter, sister, and mother before killing them, tortured your son, brother, and father before killing them, and then robbed you of your home before moving in is celebrated with a party each year by his friends whom he had later brought in to take over your neighborhood. Well, that’s exactly the outlandishly evil shit that Columbus did and the outlandishly racist shit that his friends in Philly and America are doing.

On October 12, 1492, Italian explorer Christopher “Admiral Hitler-On-Steroids” Columbus, financed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, arrived at the Bahamian island of what he referred to as San Salvador. He later sailed to what he labeled Espanola—today’s Haiti and the Dominican Republic—due to the inept belief that he had discovered a shortcut to India. But this “Malicious Gilligan” was thousands of miles off course. Not long afterward, in order to get more royal financing, he returned to Spain with his great, but completely false, news that he had found that quick route to East Asia. As a result, he was ultimately rewarded with enough funding to lead three more voyages across the Atlantic to the so-called Americas, occurring in 1493, 1498 and 1502. But his monetary heaven would become the indigenous red people’s monumental hell.

Contrary to the King and Queen’s order that he “endeavor to win over the inhabitants … (and to) treat … (them) very well and lovingly and abstain from doing them any injury,” he—how should I say?—truly fucked them up. I mean nightmarishly, savagely, sadistically, monstrously, and relentlessly. It was a horror of satanic proportions. For example, in 1495, he created something called the “tribute system,” which required every indigenous Taino over 14 to provide him and his official appointees with a “hawk’s bell” of gold every three months. Those who complied were given a “token” to wear around their necks. Those who didn’t, as Columbus’s son Fernando reported, were “punished by having their hands cut off” and were “left to bleed to death.” It is estimated that 10,000 persons in Haiti and the Dominican Republic suffered such particular cruelty.

But there’s more. Many of these red men, women, and children were “roasted on spits,” and the invaders “hack(ed) the … children into pieces.” Columbus’s men would “make bets as to who would slit a man in two, or cut off his head at one blow … ” In one specific incident, a Columbus underling “suddenly drew his sword. Then the whole hundred drew theirs and began to rip open the bellies, to cut and kill a group of Tainos assembled for this purpose (and these victims included) men, women, children, and old folk … ” Spanish historian and Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas, who witnessed much of the carnage, said Columbus ordered his men “to cut off the legs of children who ran from them (in order) to test the sharpness of their blades.” Once, when a couple of them “met two Indian boys … each carrying a parrot, they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys.” His crew would also “pour … people full of boiling soap.” In addition, people were “eaten (alive)” and “20 hunting dogs … were turned loose and immediately tore the Indians apart.” If his crew began running out of meat for their vicious dogs, “Arawak babies were killed for dog food.”

If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, well, it could and it did. A Columbus shipmate, Miguel Cuneo, wrote that “When our caravels … were to leave for Spain, we gathered … 1,600 male and female Indians and these embarked (with us) … on February 17, 1495 … ” Cuneo took a teenage “Caribbean girl as a gift from Columbus” but when he attempted to have sex with her, she “resisted with all her strength,” so he “thrashed her mercilessly and raped her.”

Speaking of rape, it was pointed out by author, sociologist, and University of Vermont history professor James Loewen that “As soon as the 1493 expedition got to the Caribbean, before it even reached Haiti, Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape. Columbus himself wrote to a friend in 1500, “ … girls … from 9-10 … are … in demand.” WTF?! WTMF?!

His wickedness was so efficient that when he arrived in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and other Carribean islands in 1493, there were eight million indigenous Taino residents. That number, within a mere three years, was reduced to just three million. And by the time he finally left in 1504, only about 100,000 remained alive.

Columbus’s evilness was so outrageous that Governor Francisco De Bodadilla arrested him for inhuman crimes against the Indian populations and shipped him back to Spain in shackles. The evidence was so overwhelming that Columbus confessed. And although he was convicted, he received a royal pardon because his savagery had vastly increased Spain’s wealth. But he was never re-appointed governor of the lands he had psychotically tortured and annihilated. Subsequently, debilitated by “gout, rheumatoid arthritis and possibly malaria,” he died in 1506 at age 54. Hallelujah, there is a god!

Columbus got a federal holiday in 1937. In 1957, Philly saw the creation of the Columbus Day Parade. In 1992, city council unanimously approved a resolution to rename part of downtown Delaware Avenue in his honor. City Council continues annually to take official action to designate an entire week in honor of the man, this year with Resolution No. 120741 for the period of October 1st through the 8th, “commemorating Columbus’s historic voyage to the New World … ”

In one single day, de las Casas saw Columbus’s soldiers “dismember, behead, or rape 3,000 natives.” As a result of this wanton butchery, he was moved to write that “my eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.”

So do I, Brother de las Casas. So do I. But my trembling is the result of rage directed at the city, state and federal officials who deify and memorialize this monster.