First American Terrorist: Columbus

By Roy Cook

The October 12, 1492 Terrorism of Columbus alone killed four million American people on San Salvador in four years. The American genocide did not stop after this first four million people; this was only the beginning. The real weapon of mass destruction is the ‘legalistic’ Doctrine of Discovery. Indigenous people still suffer under this ticking bomb. Death, destruction and the aboriginal land title are still under constant threat into this new millennium.

The connection between Christendom's principle of discovery and the laws of the United States is a papal document. It was issued in 1452, forty years before Columbus' notorious voyage. Pope Nicholas V issued it to King Alfonso V of Portugal. The proclamation or ‘bull’ Romanus Pontifex authorized declaring war against all non-Christians throughout the world. It specifically sanctioned and promoted the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories in Africa and the Americas.

The missionary Bartolome de Las Casas recorded what he witnessed of the American terrorism. Bartolome de Las Casas was born in Seville, Spain, in 1474. In 1502 he went to Cuba, and for his military services there was given an Encomienda, an estate that included the services of the Indians living on it. In about 1513 he was ordained a Christian priest (probably the first ordination in the Americas), and in 1514 he renounced all claim on his Indian serfs. In 1540, he returned to Spain and was a force behind the passage in 1542 of laws prohibiting Indian slavery and safeguarding the rights of the Indians. He was made Bishop of Chiapas in Guatemala, and returned to the Americas in 1544 to implement the new laws, but he met considerable resistance, and in 1547 he returned to Spain, where he devoted the rest of his life to speaking and writing on behalf of the Indians. He is chiefly remembered for his Brief Report On the Destruction of the Indians (or Tears of the Indians), a fervid and perhaps exaggerated account of the atrocities of the Spanish conquerors against the Indians. The book was widely read and widely translated, and the English version was used to stir up English feeling against the Spanish as a cruel race whom England ought to beware of, and whose colonies in the Americas would be better off in English hands.

During Columbus time in Haiti, he and his men hunted the Taino Indians for sport, beating, raping, torturing, killing, and then using the Indian bodies as food for their hunting dogs. (Note 1)

To make a long story short, Columbus established a pattern that held for five hundred years, this pattern set a tone in the Americas. The quest for personal possessions was to be, from the outset, a series of raids, irresponsible and criminal, a spree, without end to it -- the slaves, the timber, precious ores of gold, silver, the pearls, the fur and, later, arable land, coal, oil, copper and iron ore. Indeed, there is no end to it, no limit of the natural resource explotation.

The first recorded celebration honoring the discovery of America by Europeans took place on October 12, 1792 in New York City. This event celebrated the 300th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the New World. San Francisco's Italian community held their first Columbus Day celebration in 1869. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison urged citizens to participate in the 400th anniversary celebration of Columbus' first voyage. It was during this event that the Pledge of Allegiance, written by Francis Bellamy, was recited in public for the first time. Colorado was the first state to observe the holiday in 1905. In 1937, President Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 as "Columbus Day" and in 1971, President Nixon declared the second Monday of October a national holiday.

Therefore, on one hand we may see a thin rational for how the US continues
to celebrate this process linked to Columbus and his 'discoveries' but in
reviewing the realities and results upon humanity it seems remarkable that
we can still 'celebrate' these historical events and atrocities. On the
other it is readily apparent why Native peoples hold a different attitude
toward these events and the persistent celebration of the conquering
culture and why every Columbus Day, is a Native American Tribal day of
mourning and a continued call to resistance in Native American communities.

Sources and notes:

1. Bartolome de las Casas, THE DEVASTATION OF THE INDIES: A BRIEF ACCOUNT (translated by Herma Briffault) (Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). ISBN 0-8018-4430-4.

2. Hans Koning, THE CONQUEST OF AMERICA; HOW THE INDIAN NATIONS LOST THEIR CONTINENT (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1993), pg. 46. ISBN 0-85345-876-6.

Note 1. During Columbus time in Haiti, he and his men hunted the American Taino Indians for sport, beating, raping, torturing, killing, and then using the Indian bodies as food for their hunting dogs.

Columbus and his men traveled to many of the Caribbean island and the American Natives all suffered the same terrible fate. An astonishing 5 million American Indians were killed in the West Indies during the first four years of Columbus’ presence. When Columbus realized that the Indians were becoming scarce in the islands, he traveled to America and Africa to recruit slaves to work the plantations in the Islands.