A Few Suggestions For Accurate Historical Information About Columbus This “Columbus Day”

Happy Indigenous People’s Day! That’s the name with which Minneapolis and Seattle have replaced “Columbus Day” in light of, well, historical accuracy and a general sense of compassion toward groups of people who were raped, slaughtered, infected, and enslaved by European conquerers, Christopher Columbus not least of them. Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota don’t recognize Columbus Day at all.

If you want to read an accurate history of what Columbus’s “discoveries” of Caribbean and Central American lands really looked like on the ground, Eric Kasum’s 2010 Huffington Post piece on Columbus is a good place to start. I found Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs, and Steel to be enlightening about how disease helped European colonists to overtake native populations; and, of course, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is, if not a precisely “unbiased” view of American history (as I’ve been told by people who tend to have conservative social views) at least a refreshing antidote to the oversimplifications, exaggerations, and lies that are rife in American history textbooks, especially on the subject of Columbus and European colonialism.


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