By Vincent Schilling:
On the second Monday of October each year, Native Americans cringe at the thought of honoring a man who committed atrocities against Indigenous Peoples. …………………
On the Way—Columbus Stole a Sailor’s Reward
After obtaining funding for his explorations to reach Asia from the seizure and sale of properties from Spanish Jews and Muslims by order of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus headed out to explore a new world with money and ships.
Brimming with the excitement of discovering new land, Columbus offered a reward of 10,000 maravedis or about $540 (a sailor’s yearly salary) for the first person to discover such land. Though another sailor saw the land in October 1492, Columbus retracted the reward he had previously offered because he claimed he had seen a dim light in the west.
Columbus Never Landed on American Soil—Not in 1492, Not Ever
We’re not talking about the Leif Ericson Viking explorer story. We mean Columbus didn’t land on the higher 48—ever. Columbus quite literally landed in what is now known as the Bahamas and later Hispaniola, present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Upon arrival, Columbus and his expedition of weapon laden Spaniards met the Arawaks, Tainos and Lucayans—all friendly, according to Columbus’ writings. Soon after arriving, Columbus wrecked the Santa Maria and the Arawaks worked for hours to save the crew and cargo.
Impressed with the friendliness of the native people, Columbus seized control of the land in the name of Spain. He also helped himself to some locals. In his journal he wrote:
“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”
Columbus Painted a Horrible Picture of Peaceful Natives
When Columbus first saw the Native Arawaks that came to greet him and his crew he spoke with a peaceful and admiring tone.