On the second Monday of October we all celebrate Columbus Day, commemorating the discovery of American lands by European navigators in 1492. For many years the personality of Christopher Columbus has been surrounded with global public controversy, partially due to the lack of available historical evidence about his life and activity, as well as due to obvious ambivalence regarding to the discoveries he made.
The very event of arrival of the Europeans to the American continent has some true positive and negative sides.
It is hard to object that from geographical and scientific points of view Columbus’s discovery is among the most principal points. Besides, it helped to establish contacts between America and Western civilizations, to develop the relations and interchange with the ideas, scientific knowledge, products, etc.
At the same time, the critics of Columbus are very fierce. They call his mission to American lands as a real calamity for us and our ancestors. They blame Columbus in being an extremely brutal and merciless man, who came to our lands with egotistic purpose of looking for gold and wealth.
He behaved not as a discoverer, but as a conqueror of the lands and treated the indigenous people exceptionally cruelly: oppressing, murdering and enslaving them.
Furthermore, his discovery resulted in massive European invasion into American lands, opening the way for slave trade from America to Europe and other world, as well as initiating ethnic discrimination and one of the most terrible genocides. Finally, it brought to numerous misunderstandings and frequent conflicts on political or other backgrounds (like Cold War and many others), which took place between American and European nations throughout the history.
I personally believe that in the United States Columbus does not deserve to be honored such a way. It would be more logical to celebrate Columbus Day in European counties, which received the opportunity (thanks to Columbus) to observe and to communicate with the American continent – the lands of freedom, equality and democracy. I guess that there are a lot of great American discoverers or inventors in our history, whose positive contribution into our development as a nation is much more important and unquestionable.
· Berliner, Michael. “The Christopher Columbus Controvercy: Western Civilization vs. Primitivism.” Capitalism Magazine. The Ayn Red Institute. 14 Oct. 1999. 29 May 2006 <http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=149>.
· “Intro to the U.S.: Columbus Day” Embassy of the United States in China. U.S. Department of State. 29 May 2006 <http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/columbus_day.html>.
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