Columbus Day

Posthumous portrait of Columbus,
possibly by Sebastiano del Piombo
(1485 – 1547)

Columbus Day in the USA is always celebrated with a national holiday on the same date Canadians are observing Thanksgiving.

The honor shown Columbus is fiercely debated… both his maritime achievements and ethical behaviour are highly questionable. The historical record is quite clear on this, and yet the distorted narrative, expurgated of damning truths, continues to be honoured.

If the revised version is correct, the heroic and brilliant navigator about whom we have been taught was also a great villain, guilty of genocide in addition to many other crimes.

This article attempts to set the record straight!

Once again, it’s time to celebrate Columbus Day. Yet, the stunning truth is: If Christopher Columbus were alive today, he would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Columbus’ reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was so bloody, his legacy so unspeakably cruel, that Columbus makes a modern villain like Saddam Hussein look like a pale codfish.

Question: Why do we honor a man who, if he were alive today, would almost certainly be sitting on Death Row awaiting execution?

If you’d like to know the true story about Christopher Columbus, please read on. But I warn you, it’s not for the faint of heart.

You will find the rest of Eric Casum’s article here: Columbus Day? True Legacy: Cruelty and Slavery.

Many errors and misconceptions persist for years after a correction, or the “true” version is published. At this point I could digress and make a snarky point about creationism and Darwinism… but I will leave that to you. Here is an article from Wired that illustrates the scope of the challenge, even in this age of easy and instant communication: Paradox of Hoaxes: How Errors Persist, Even When Corrected, by Samuel Arbesman.

 Knowledge changes around us all the time. Yet we don’t always have the most up-to-date facts. This is true, I’d argue, even in an age of instant and massive information. Despite our unprecedented ability to rapidly learn new things and crowdfix mistakes, Knowledge and its sinister twin Error continue to propagate in complex and intriguing ways. Errors persist among us for far longer than they should and even when there is more accurate knowledge elsewhere. Newer knowledge does not spread as fast as it should and weaves its way unevenly throughout society.

The attempt to revise public perceptions about Columbus is old news. Just for the record, how does one set the record straight? Especially when his name is honored in a national holiday?

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