Snyder: Columbus Day Alternate Form


Columnist Stephen Snyder argues for the rebranding of Columbus Day, given that Christopher Columbus’ most lasting legacies are the establishment of the transatlantic slave trade and numerous indigenous genocides.

Stephen Snyder

Columbus Day passed us earlier this week, maintaining the tradition of ignorance surrounding the holiday. Here are the top seven reasons why Columbus Day is outdated and needs a national rebranding.

  1. Christopher Columbus did not “discover” the Western World. Millions of people were already living here when he arrived.
  2. He and his crew, along with every conquistador that followed him, proceeded to murder and enslave entire civilizations. Columbus’ lasting legacy? The transatlantic slave trade.
  3. He wasn’t even the first one here. There is historical evidence to support the conclusion that Vikings from northern Europe as well as Phoenicians from the Mediterranean both beat Columbus to the New World. In fact, both groups may have done it before he was even born.
  4. Columbus Day, while still a federal holiday, is not even a recognized holiday in half of the states, including Iowa.
  5. There are better people we can celebrate. For example: Minneapolis and Seattle both observed Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus to commemorate the actual discoverers of the Western World.
  6. He has nothing to do with the United States. Columbus was an Italian employed by Spain to discover a quicker route to Asia for trade purposes. Columbus never set foot on what is now American soil.
  7. He is famous for getting lost. He stumbled upon the “New” World, and proceeded to destroy it. Even upon reaching land, purely by accident, he still claimed until his death that he had landed in Asia.