Letters to the Editor

Letter: Exploration Day

To the Editor:

“In 1492, Columbus discovered America and that is why we celebrate Columbus Day.” This is what most of us hear our elementary and high school teachers say. However, Columbus did not discover America, and he was no hero. Columbus accidentally happened upon the Caribbean where he and his crew were welcomed by the Taínos American Indians. These American Indians have been here, in America, centuries before Columbus came to America.

Therefore, Columbus did not discover America, or the Caribbean, because thousands of people had already inhabited the area. However, the one thing Columbus discovered was how to enslave and torture the Taínos Indians: At least, the ones that were not killed off by the many diseases Columbus and his crew carried with them. 

Bill Bigelow wrote an article involving this issue, in which he claims, “Columbus' treatment of the Taíno people meets the definition of genocide.”

Nonetheless, Columbus did make history. The Columbian exchange involved the trade of animals, food, disease, and slaves between the Old and New Worlds. Without the exploration to the Americas, and the exchange of goods, our great nation would not be what it is today. 

History.com states, “Though he (Columbus) did not really “discover” the New World—millions of people already lived there—his journeys marked the beginning of centuries of exploration and colonization of North and South America.”

Therefore we should not honor the man himself who carelessly murdered and invaded the lives of many Native American Indians. Instead, we should honor the great explorations to America. Not only by Columbus, but also Vikings, Lewis and Clark, and so many more explorers that have been brushed aside and forgotten by most. 

Exploration Day. A day of patriotism, history, and remembrance. 

Heather Guiney

Cary

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