Should Columbus Day be Celebrated? | Teen Ink

Should Columbus Day be Celebrated?

December 17, 2021
By Anonymous

Christopher Columbus is a well-known explorer who founded the Americas between the later 1400s to early 1500s. Because of his great expedition, Americans and other countries founded by Columbus celebrate him as a national holiday. But should this continue? Should Americans and others celebrate a man who massacred many indigenous tribes who are now extinct?  This is a controversial topic for many, but Columbus day should not be celebrated because of who he was, what he did, and how he affected the Americas.

Who was Christopher Columbus?
Christopher Columbus or ‘Cristobal Colon’ was an Italian explorer who explored the Americas in 1492. He founded Hispanola, which today is Hati and Dominican Republic. He intended to explore Asia because of rumors saying there was great wealth and spices but ended up landing in the Americas. According to the book, ‘Columbus’, Columbus had a close relationship with his brothers and many of them sailed with him during his explorations. He was very religious and believed it was what protected him from adversity.  Columbus studied mathematics in Portugal after his boat sank by pirates in 1474. There, he began to plan his exploration of the New World.

What did Columbus do? 

As previously stated, Columbus explored the West Indies where he established Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella backed his expedition so he could bring back spices and gold. Though he intended to land in Asia, he ended up landing on the Caribbean Islands, where he brought back gold, spices, and ‘Indian’ captives. He established colonies in Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and many more Spanish colonies we now call today's countries. Many Catholic churches were built in these countries since Columbus was Catholic. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella promoted this action because they wanted Catholicism to spread throughout the globe. When he reached Hispanola, (present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic), he saw natives who lived there and wanted to enslave them. According to, Columbus wrote in his diary arguing why these people should be enslaved because they looked healthy and were ignorant enough to do so. He said in his diary, “With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

The effect on the Americas during and after Columbus’ expedition

Christopher Columbus captivated 500 slaves and brought them to Spain and delivered them to Queen Isabella. When she saw the men, she was horrified because she was not expecting them to be indigenous. She ordered them to be sent back and refused the explorer’s gift. Later, Columbus traveled to Trinidad and South America where they sent a Spanish governor. He traveled back to Hispanola and killed so many natives that within 60 years nearly the Taino tribe was extinct. Because of this, Christopher Columbus was sent back to Spain in chains for his ruthless actions. Not to mention, he brought diseases to the countries and caused many of them to be ill. He had devastated the native nations and caused harm to many indigenous tribes. 

Though Columbus had done some good things during his expedition, he should not be a man that should be celebrated nor should have a holiday dedicated to him. He was ruthless, he took advantage of the privilege that was given to him by the King and Queen and became selfish and prideful. He is not a character or person that should be emulated nor should be celebrated in America since he wasn’t its founder. Americans should be celebrating and taking recognition for those who have positively impacted America, such as Squanto, a native man who help the pilgrims find food. Americans need to educate themselves more about the people they are celebrating and emulating because it is very important to not forget those who have shaped America.

Works Cited

Columbus Day 2021., 2010,

Ferdinand-Armesto, Felipe. Columbus. 1991.

Wood, Michael. Conquistadors. BBC, 2000. 

Christopher Columbus., 2021,

The author's comments:

This is my opinion and not intended to offend anyone or any group.

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