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William Coben Blog Post for 8/30

This reading offered yet another example of the false reporting of Columbus’s journey to the¬†Americas, and truly exemplified the problems and flaws with the glorification Columbus day that we see annually. After listening to the
Podcast immediately before this, I am surely confident that the story I idolized for many years is full of banter, lies, rape, exploitation, manipulation, and many more horrid traits that would disturb the entire world should the real truth become common knowledge.

To touch on a few points that stuck me as more enlightening and interesting than others; the fact that Columbus arrived in the Caribbean in the early stages of his journey, enslaved the residents of that territory unless he was granted gold was sickening to me. It is recorded in the text that in two years that Columbus occupied that territory, modern day Haiti’s population depleted by more than 50% due to enslavement, torture, and suicide. Furthermore, when Columbus came up short on the Gold that he promised his financial supporters in Spain, he instead gave them enslaved people from the Caribbean area, which further aided the depletion of the indigenous population. Overall, the narrative of Columbus arriving in the Caribbean, and after the United States was gruesome, pitiful, and horrifying, and allowed me the opportunity to understand the deep problems rooted in the recordings of history.

To touch on one final point that was intriguing about the passage; Zinn was intelligent to mention the reasons for the celebration of Columbus Day, as well as providing a justification why. He noted that whenever¬†historians account the past, they choose what facts emphasize the narrative that they are trying to push, and consequently people are left with a broken record of the past in which they are unable to obtain the truth without extensive research and digging. Secondly, Zinn hinted at the fact that this type of recording supports the view of governments, conquerers, leaders, and diplomats. In society, those type of people and Regimes are viewed as leaders with goals in mind, and modern day history is taught to unify a country, and celebrate the untrue accomplishments of “leaders” that were actually people of poor moral and ethical standards.

Conclusively, this reading was fascinating for me as I was able to deduct the true story of Columbus, identify the problems with reports and accounts of our countries, and world’s past, and understand the reasons behind this poor reporting.

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  1. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    I also thought Zinn’s comment about the prioritization of an objective by historians to be an important way to orient oneself when examing all history, especially the story of Columbus. As you stated, one does need to do “extensive research and digging” to find the sides of history that are eliminated, but we also need to highlight that Columbus, and his contact with the western hemisphere, continues to impact the stories of native americans. Tribes did not have written language, which means that many traditions and stories have not been passed down as a result of genocide, meaning we will never be able to fully integrate their perspectives into history.

  2. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    You reiterated a point the very important point about the rapid population depletion that Zinn mentioned. The sheer number of people killed either at the hands of the Europeans directly or indirectly or through suicide was mind-blowing to me. In such a short amount of time the Arawaks were erased from existence. I also found it almost haunting that many of these people decided that taking their own lives and killing their children would be better than surviving under their circumstances at the time.

  3. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    ***You reiterated a very important point

  4. Sofia Adams Sofia Adams

    I liked how you touched on the fact that our historical recordings are biased due to the views of governments, leaders, conquered, and overall people in power. This is important to remember when questioning why we learn about certain things in history. It explains why we celebrate someone so unethical such as Columbus.

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