Wait, though…what do we have to be happy about it? It’s hard to celebrate over 500 years of genocide.
You think Columbus couldn’t possibly be such a bad guy? He was the freakin’ worst.
We have the account of his personal friend, Michele de Cuneo.
While I was in the boat I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me, and with whom, having taken her into my cabin, she being naked according to their custom, I conceived desire to take pleasure. I wanted to put my desire into execution but she did not want it and treated me with her finger nails in such a manner that I wished I had never begun. But seeing that (to tell you the end of it all), I took a rope and thrashed her well, for which she raised such unheard of screams that you would not have believed your ears. Finally we came to an agreement in such manner that I can tell you that she seemed to have been brought up in a school of harlots.
They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
There followed many years of repeated voyages to the Caribbean, much raping and slavery, hand-chopping and murder and theft. None of which I was told about in school.
So what’s an appropriate way to honor this day? Cupcakes are right out, I think.