WATTERS: Should we celebrate Columbus Day?

Cyra Watters

For as long as I can remember, Columbus Day has always been celebrated. At one point in my life, I remember not having to go to school and certain restaurants and stores being closed because of Columbus Day; however, as I have gotten older and learned about Christopher Columbus, I began to question why Columbus Day is a national holiday? Why do we celebrate someone who did not discover America?

Personally, I feel that Columbus Day should not be celebrated. In schools, some students are getting taught that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, while others are taught the opposite. The truth? Christopher Columbus did not sail the ocean blue, he did not discover America. In fact, Oct. 12, was a day that marks when Columbus arrived in the Bahamas. The person who really discovered America was Leif Erickson on Oct. 9, yet, this day is not celebrated as a national holiday.

Furthermore, Columbus forced natives into slavery, and punished them with the loss of a limb or death. Christopher Columbus played a part in the genocide of the native people. He was arrested and stripped of his title of governor because of the brutal treatment of the Taino people. 

I feel the only thing Christopher Columbus should receive credit for is the Columbian Exchange. The Columbian Exchange allowed the exchange of plants, animals, cultures and ideas. This made an impact on society because the Columbian exchange was the introduction of New World crops, such as potatoes and corn, to the Old World. Lastly, it was trade of ideas, food, goods and livestock between the west and new worlds. 

Overall, I do not think this day should be celebrated because Christopher Columbus did not sail the ocean blue, but instead wiped out the Taino race and he enslaved Taino people and treated them less than human beings. Chrstopher Coulmbus was a selfish person that does not deserve his own day.