This Is the Monster Celebrated on Columbus Day

On October 12th, America and Philadelphia celebrate a racist, rapist, robber and genocidal maniac. I'm asking you to join me in pressuring the city to stop this.

Sebastiano del Piombo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sebastiano del Piombo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A version of this story ran in 2014.

Imagine that a man who tortured, raped and murdered innocent people and then robbed them of their homes is worshiped each year as a hero. Well, imagine no more because that’s the outlandishly evil shit Christopher Columbus did and the outlandishly racist shit America and Philadelphia celebrate.

On October 12, 1492, Christopher “Admiral Hitler/King Leopold II-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. By the way, he didn’t “discover” the so-called New World or America. In fact, the red people, i.e., the Taino, were here 14,000 years before his 1451 birth. After his arrival in 1492, he sailed to what he labeled Española — today’s Haiti and the Dominican Republic — in 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 false, news that he had found a quick route to India. As a result, he received funding to lead three more voyages to the so-called Americas, occurring in 1493, 1498 and 1502. But his monetary heaven would become the 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, he created in 1495 the “tribute system,” which required every Taino over 14 to provide him and his 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’ son Fernando reported, were “punished by having their hands cut off” and were “left to bleed to death.” About 10,000 persons in Haiti and the Dominican Republic suffered such cruelty.

And there’s more. Many of the indigenous people were — while alive — “roasted on spits (i.e., slender pointed rods)… and burn(ed)… at the stake…” and the invaders “hack(ed) the… children into pieces….” Columbus’ men also would “make bets as to who would slit a man in two or cut off his head at one blow… or they opened up his bowels. They tore the babes from their mother’s breast by their feet and dashed their heads against the rocks… They ‘splitted’ the bodies of other babes, together with their mothers… on their swords.” In one incident, a Columbus underling “drew his sword. Then the whole hundred drew theirs and began to rip open the bellies, to cut and kill a group of Taino… (including) men, women, children, and old folk….” As noted by Spanish historian and Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas, who witnessed much of the carnage, Columbus, in order “to test the sharpness of their blades,” directed his men “to cut off the legs of children who ran from them.” 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 also would “pour… people full of boiling soap.” In addition, people were “eaten (alive by)… hunting dogs… (that) were turned loose….” Many other of these red human beings were “buried alive…” And if Columbus’ crew ran 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… For those who remained, we let it be known (to the Europeans who manned the island’s fort)… that anyone who wanted to take… them could do so….” Cuneo took a teenage “Caribbean girl as a gift from Columbus.” And when she “resisted…, (he) thrashed her mercilessly and raped her.”

Speaking of rape, it was pointed out by 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. On Haiti, sex slaves were one more prerequisite that… (they) enjoyed.” And it included adult rape and child rape. As Columbus himself wrote in 1500, “… girls… from 9-10… are… in demand.” WTF? WTMF?

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

Columbus’ evil was so outrageous that Governor Francisco De Bodadilla arrested him for inhuman and widespread crimes against the Taino/Arawak population and shipped him back to Spain in shackles. The evidence was so overwhelming that Columbus confessed and was convicted. Debilitated by “gout, rheumatoid arthritis and possibly malaria,” he died in 1506 at age 54.

In one single day, de las Casas saw Columbus’ soldiers “dismember, behead, or rape 3,000 natives.” As a result, 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, de las Casas. So do I. But my trembling is the result of rage directed at city officials who celebrate this monster.

Columbus got a federal holiday in 1937. In 1957, Philly created the Columbus Day Parade and City Council in 1992 unanimously approved a resolution to rename part of downtown Delaware Avenue in his honor. And City Council continues to annually celebrate this mass murderer, including last year with Resolution No. 140733 and Resolution No. 150733 this year “commemorating Columbus’ historic voyage to the New World…” But evil must not be celebrated.

That’s why the following city or county governments have officially abolished (or taken action to officially abolish) Columbus Day and created “Indigenous Peoples’ Day”: Albuquerque, NM, Alpena, MI, Anadarko, OK, Berkeley, CA (which, in 1992, became the first to officially make the change), Bexar County, TX, Lawrence, KS, Minneapolis, MN, Olympia, WA, Portland, OR (which, in 1954, was the first in the country to even consider such a change), Seattle, WA, and St. Paul, MN.

By next year, Philadelphia must join in by celebrating humanity instead of inhumanity. And we can force City Council to do so. Call or email Avenging The Ancestors Coalition (215-552-8751 and and leave your name, number, and email address if you’re interested in petitioning City Council to finally stop celebrating racist genocide.

Michael Coard’s radio show, “The Radio Courtroom,” airs at noon on Sundays and Wednesdays. It can be heard locally on WURD 900 AM and on the Internet at Follow @MichaelCoard on Twitter.