Opinion: The myth of Christopher Columbus
"As a Social Studies teacher at an "A-graded" public high school in the Bronx, I'm stupefied that so many Americans still believe our most popular myth - that Christopher Columbus discovered America. The claim that Columbus discovered America is just as preposterous as the claim of the Native American who landed in Rome on Sept. 25, 1973 and declared that he discovered Italy.

"Italy, cradle of Western civilization, woke up today to the fact that it has never actually been discovered," the New York Times reported at the time. "The situation, however, was remedied at 11:00 in the morning when the chief of the Indian Chippewa tribe, Adam Nordwall, stepped off an Alitalia jumbo jet and claimed it for the Indian people. The intrepid explorer, in full Indian dress, stood on the tarmac of Fiumicino Airport and took possession of Italy 'by right of discovery.'"

Blithely ignoring the fact that Italy is and has been inhabited by highly cultured and accomplished people who rightly consider themselves the legitimate rulers of the glorious land they have lived in for millennia, Mr. Nordwall then asked: "What right had Columbus to 'discover' America when it was already inhabited for thousands of years? The same right that I have to come to Italy and claim to have discovered your country."

Let's get a few things straight. As bold and visionary an explorer as Columbus was, he never landed in America and he didn't discover any new lands at all; the Caribbean island where Columbus landed had been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before his arrival. Columbus was a brutal conquistador: he claimed the Caribbean and Central American regions for the Spanish crown and his henchmen killed, tortured, exploited, raped, and enslaved thousands of Taino Indians."

Get the Story:
Richard Kavesh: Rethinking Columbus: great explorer or a greedy conqueror? (The Lower Hudson Journal News 10/11)

Another Story:
Student group rejects Columbus Day (The Boise State Arbiter 10/13)