Columbus Corrections

By Jeremy Meltingtallow









I got some very good comments from readers yesterday regarding my Columbus Day post and thought I should make some corrections. I was in a hurry (deadlines!) and used some murky language that didn’t completely jive with the truth. Sorry about that. Glad it was just a post on a humor blog and not my dissertation.

I said Columbus killed 3 to 8 million indigenous people, but that figure represents all of the indigenous people of North America eventually killed by the colonization that he started, from 1492 to 1890. Columbus and his brutes are estimated to have virtually wiped out the peaceful Taino people of the Caribbean islands he visited, estimated to have numbered from 250,000 to 300,000.

I said he never reached the continent, but on his fourth voyage, he explored Venezuela. Apparently he still believed he was in the islands around Asia and died not knowing it was a continent.

I mentioned that “Italians” love this guy, but I should have said “Italian Americans.” The people of Italy are fairly indifferent to him and are typically surprised by Columbus Day celebrations in the U.S., according to two Italian readers of this blog.

Regarding my statement that you can’t discover a place that is already inhabited, one reader said it was like a car thief “discovering” your car. I thought that was funny.