Come Sale Away, It's Columbus Day!
Today is everyone’s favorite phony holiday: Columbus Day! This is a controversial one because not everyone thinks Columbus is rad enough to have an entire Macy’s coupon dedicated to him (promo code: FUN).
But has anyone asked Columbus what he thinks? We at The Scold have. After literally seconds of Googling “Christopher Columbus’ Letter to Isabella and Ferdinand” we unearthed this amazing letter from the man himself. Click here to find out what he thinks!
No time to read the letter yourself? The Scold’s got you covered. Scroll down for our tl;dr.
The letter starts with Admiral Columbus announcing his arrival in the “Indian Sea”, located on the Atlantic side of Cuba and Hispaniola. He claims all the islands in the sea on behalf of King Ferdinand “by making a public proclamation and unfurling his standard”. No one stopped him, Columbus reports, so we are left to infer that Spain now has irrefutable dibs. In a funny twist of fate, I used this same trick to take possession of Spain in 1991.
After taking the islands, Columbus goes exploring and lands in what he believes is a province of China. He calls it Juana, today we call it Cuba. Columbus susses out the landscape and natural resources, kidnaps a couple of the inhabitants, then hops over to Hispaniola. There he gets to know the local people whom he lovingly describes as “timid and full of terror”. He mentions that some of his men had been engaging in unfair trade with them, exchanging “bits of plates, dishes, or glass” and “pieces of hoops, jugs, jars, and pots” for cotton, gold and silver. “This,” Columbus righteously declares, “I forbade, because it was plainly unjust.”
In keeping with the spirit of goodwill, Columbus kidnaps a few more of the locals. He’s got the best of intentions, though. He says he’s going to teach them….some..stuff...or whatever. He never really describes the curriculum he’s developed for them. In return, Columbus expects the kidnappees to tell him “about affairs in these regions”. Gossip much, Columbus?
After their gossip sesh, Columbus seizes La Navidad, builds an armed fort, and sets up an alliance with the local king. Columbus says that the king, “took a pride in my being called his brother”. Not to worry, though, Columbus tells Ferdinand, this local king and his people are unarmed. Should they ever “violate the rules and instructions” Columbus gave them, Columbus’ men could “lay waste to the whole of that island”.
Columbus says some other stuff about monsters, cannibals, people with tails and, if you can believe it, female archers. Then at the end, he tells the King and Queen of Spain that they really should have a gigantic party on account of how awesome his trip was.
And there we have our answer. Does Columbus think he’s rad enough to have a whole holiday (sale) just about him? Yeah, dude!