Columbus and his men hunted Natives with war-dogs.

8 Myths and Atrocities About Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day

Vincent Schilling

On the second Monday of October each year, Native Americans cringe at the thought of honoring a man who committed atrocities against Indigenous Peoples.

Columbus Day was conceived by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic Fraternal organization, in the 1930s because they wanted a Catholic hero. After President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the day into law as a federal holiday in 1937, the rest has been history.

In an attempt to further thwart the celebration of this “holiday,” we at ICTMN have outlined eight misnomers and bloody, greedy, sexually perverse and horrendous atrocities committed by Columbus and his men.

FULL BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SOURCES  USED FOR THIS ARTICLE HERE - Christopher Columbus's Top Atrocities: The Annotated List 

On the Way—Columbus Stole a Sailor’s Reward

After obtaining funding for his explorations to reach Asia from the seizure and sale of properties from Spanish Jews and Muslims by order of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus headed out to explore a new world with money and ships.

Brimming with the excitement of discovering new land, Columbus offered a reward of 10,000 maravedis or about $540 (a sailor’s yearly salary) for the first person to discover such land. Though another sailor saw the land in October 1492, Columbus retracted the reward he had previously offered because he claimed he had seen a dim light in the west.

Replicas of the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria in the North River, New York. They crossed from Spain to be present at the World's Fair at Chicago. (Andrews, E. Benjamin. History of the United States, volume V. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. 1912/Wikimedia)

Columbus Never Landed on American Soil—Not in 1492, Not Ever

We’re not talking about the Leif Ericson Viking explorer story.  We mean Columbus didn’t land on the higher 48—ever. Columbus quite literally landed in what is now known as the Bahamas and later Hispaniola, present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Upon arrival, Columbus and his expedition of weapon laden Spaniards met the Arawaks, Tainos and Lucayans—all friendly, according to Columbus’ writings. Soon after arriving, Columbus wrecked the Santa Maria and the Arawaks worked for hours to save the crew and cargo.

Impressed with the friendliness of the native people, Columbus seized control of the land in the name of Spain. He also helped himself to some locals. In his journal he wrote:

“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”

RELATED: American History Myths Debunked: Columbus Discovered America

The four voyages of Columbus are shown here. (Wikimedia Commons)

Columbus Painted a Horrible Picture of Peaceful Natives

When Columbus first saw the Native Arawaks that came to greet him and his crew he spoke with a peaceful and admiring tone.

“They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things... They willingly traded everything they owned...  They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane... . They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

After several months in the Caribbean, on January 13, 1493 two Natives were murdered during trading. Columbus, who had otherwise described the Natives as gentle people wrote “(they are) evil and I believe they are from the island of Caribe, and that they eat men.” He also described them as “savage cannibals, with dog-like noses that drink the blood of their victims.”

The cannibal story is taught as fact in some of today’s schools.

Columbus’ Men Were Rapists and Murderers

On Columbus’s first trip to the Caribbean, he later returned to Spain and left behind 39 men who went ahead and helped themselves to Native women. Upon his return the men were all dead.With 1,200 more soldiers at his disposal, rape and pillaging became rampant as well as tolerated by Columbus.

This is supported by a reported close friend of Columbus, Michele de Cuneo who wrote the first disturbing account of a relation between himself and a Native female gift given to him by Columbus.

“While I was in the boat I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me, and with whom, having taken her into my cabin, she being naked according to their custom, I conceived desire to take pleasure. I wanted to put my desire into execution but she did not want it and treated me with her finger nails in such a manner that I wished I had never begun. But seeing that (to tell you the end of it all), I took a rope and thrashed her well, for which she raised such unheard of screams that you would not have believed your ears. Finally we came to an agreement in such manner that I can tell you that she seemed to have been brought up in a school of harlots.”

Several accounts of cruelty and murder include Spaniards testing the sharpness of blades on Native people by cutting them in half, beheading them in contests and throwing Natives into vats of boiling soap. There are also accounts of suckling infants being lifted from their mother’s breasts by Spaniards, only to be dashed headfirst into large rocks.

Bartolome De Las Casas, a former slave owner who became Bishop of Chiapas, described these exploits. “Such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight as no age can parallel,” he wrote. “My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.”

Columbus Enslaved the Native People for Gold

Because Columbus reported a plethora of Natives for slaves, rivers of gold and fertile pastures to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, Columbus was given 17 ships and more than 1,200 men on his next expedition. However, Columbus had to deliver. In the next few years, Columbus was desperate to fulfill those promises—hundreds of Native slaves died on their way back to Spain and gold was not as bountiful as expected.

Christopher Columbus presents Native Americans to Queen Isabella.

Columbus forced the Natives to work in gold mines until exhaustion. Those who opposed were beheaded or had their ears cut off.

In the provinces of Cicao all persons over 14 had to supply at least a thimble of gold dust every three months and were given copper necklaces as proof of their compliance. Those who did not fulfill their obligation had their hands cut off, which were tied around their necks while they bled to death—some 10,000 died handless.

In two years’ time, approximately 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead. Many deaths included mass suicides or intentional poisonings or mothers killing their babies to avoid persecution.

According to Columbus, in a few years before his death, “Gold is the most precious of all commodities; gold constitutes treasure, and he who possesses it has all he needs in the world, as also the means of rescuing souls from purgatory, and restoring them to the enjoyment of paradise.”

Columbus Provided Native Sex Slaves to His Men

In addition to putting the Natives to work as slaves in his gold mines, Columbus also sold sex slaves to his men—some as young as 9. Columbus and his men also raided villages for sex and sport.

In the year 1500, Columbus wrote: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

Columbus’ Men Used Native People as Dog Food

In the early years of Columbus’ conquests there were butcher shops throughout the Caribbean where Indian bodies were sold as dog food. There was also a practice known as the montería infernal, the infernal chase, or manhunt, in which Indians were hunted by war-dogs.

These dogs—who also wore armor and had been fed human flesh, were a fierce match for the Indians. Live babies were also fed to these war dogs as sport, sometimes in front of horrified parents.

Columbus Returned to Spain in Shackles—But Was Pardoned

After a multitude of complaints against Columbus about his mismanagement of the island of Hispaniola, a royal commissioner arrested Columbus in 1500 and brought him back to Spain in chains.

Though he was stripped of his governor title, he was pardoned by King Ferdinand, who then subsidized a fourth voyage.

RELATED: Christopher Columbus, The Myths Behind the Man

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Lekker's picture
Submitted by Lekker on
Before Columbus discovered America there was about 2000 different dialects being spoken among the natives of the Spanish, Portuguese, French and English are the main four languages in America.

Tehamigo's picture
Submitted by Tehamigo on
this story lack a lot of credibility !!! Very few references .. none any more credible that any other !! I'm not sold on this story ... I don't see this as fact !

tehamigo's picture
Submitted by tehamigo on
so in other words if I don't agree and make comments that don't agree .. "Your comment has been queued for review by site administrators and will be published after approval." ROFLOL !!!

Kim Siva's picture
Kim Siva
Submitted by Kim Siva on
If we do not know the past ,the truth of the past, we can not move forward,for then we live in a silly daze of all is positive which it is not .Only when the voices are heard, and there truth listened to can this hideous piece of history (for some) still a reality for others be laid to rest .An outrageous celebration of a brutal man whose legacy haunts to this day.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
What sailors or explorers of that time were decent men? Any of them? Were the Chinese or Vikings humane? How are we judging Columbus with modern standards, that people of that time obviously didn't have? I still think he was despicable…I just don't understand why we celebrate one and vilify another? Also, some people today still act like animals and commit disgusting abusive acts towards humans and animals but thankfully, in America they're illegal…even if some people still get away with some of it. The arrogance in these supposed translations is sickening but what successful seafaring man back then, wasn't hardened?

Spidermunkee's picture
Submitted by Spidermunkee on
This article would be more respectful if it sighted the sources of its claims of information.

Spidermunkee's picture
Submitted by Spidermunkee on
This article would be more respectful if it sighted the sources of its claims of information.

Marv's picture
Submitted by Marv on
If one reads Howard Zinn they already are aware of most of this...right wing propagandists in tx write the "HIS-story" of this country, and the world...don't believe it....believe this....believe Zinn.....believe that the history you learned in gov't funded schools was written by right wing dicks in the most fascist state in the country.....!

Mary Douglas's picture
Mary Douglas
Submitted by Mary Douglas on
What a horrific account. Somewhere along the line I had heard that Columbus so called discovery was a myth. I believe this type of behavior was de rigeur for explorers.....unfortunately this story isn't over yet in many parts of the world.

A question worth asking......'s picture
A question wort...
Submitted by A question wort... on
......just out of curiosity, where are the citations for this? How do/can we verify the content?

James Miller's picture
James Miller
Submitted by James Miller on
I have been asked many times to join the Knights of Columbus - I'm glad I never did. For the Catholic Church to sanction the naming of Christian fraternal organization honoring such a despicable person is equally disgusting. Then again this is the same Catholic Church that for many years condoned the raping of children by it's priests.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
He was stripped of his governor title, pardoned and sent on a 4th mission. At least we're consistent across the centuries.

steve martin's picture
steve martin
Submitted by steve martin on
Just think of it as celebrating his death ....Woooooooo Hooooooo!

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on

Elizabeth Cook's picture
Elizabeth Cook
Submitted by Elizabeth Cook on
Horrendous does not sufficiently describe the acts perpetrated by Christopher Columbus and those who followed him! Man's inhumanity to man throughout all of history is mind-boggling and deeply disturbing. The fact that these acts of murder, rape, human trafficking, etc. were often done by men (and women) who considered themselves Christian or who considered themselves to be civilized is even more disturbing. Don't forget that as I write this, these same inhuman, criminal acts are still being perpetrated today against men, women and children! We should not sit back and say nothing. Spread the word: Christopher Columbus was no hero.

Linda-Beverage  's picture
Submitted by Linda-Beverage on
I think this man is sick and i didn't know why he was so honer it is in history I THINK HE HAD MEN WHIPPED AND RAPE WOMEN HE WAS STALING GOLD HE WAS COLD HEARTLESS TOWARDS PEOPLE

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
This man was EVIL, but he did arrive to America. He did not make it to the United States, but he arrived to America : America is the whole continent.

Ray Lopez's picture
Ray Lopez
Submitted by Ray Lopez on
How is that any different than the war mongers leading our country today.

Victoria A. Vargas's picture
Victoria A. Vargas
Submitted by Victoria A. Vargas on
I always, publicly, correct people who say "Columbus Day" and say, "you mean international day of solidarity with indigenous peoples??" And as many times as they repeat it, I repeat it......

Nell's picture
Submitted by Nell on
So many atrocities have been committed by whiteristian men, but they call other people evil. Never look at their own history, having babies with slaves and selling them and wiping out the Native American people.

mojo's picture
Submitted by mojo on
What an ass hole! We do not celebrate the man ever!! Never liked him even in school which they taught us the wrong history!!! All our history learning in school was a joke!!

shirl brinson's picture
shirl brinson
Submitted by shirl brinson on
I recommend that Columbus Day be stripped from the calendar---for good!! He was a devil of the worst kind.

ZION SKANK's picture
Submitted by ZION SKANK on
Human Cruelty has no limit, it is timeless and unforgivable... even by God. Thanks for sharing this precious documents and telling the truth about a so called explorer who was in fact another bloody and pityless oppressor. In my youth I ve been told that he was a great man but history teachers repeat the lies they been taught and continue to spread lies from a generation to another,BUT:anyone can tell a lie, the truth reveals ITSELF. Burning Spear is right: "Christopher Columbus is a damn blasted liar"... Also a cold blood murderer. May Jah bless and recomfort the souls of martyrs.

Madbigbear's picture
Submitted by Madbigbear on
Where are these facts...where can you read them? You can't just tell a story and say "This is truth". Where's the evidence? Have we become a ppl that just believe anything on the web with nothing to back what this person is saying? Of course everyone (well many ppl) know C.C. Didn't discover America. I was never taught that in school. And who are these natives??? Natives to Bahamas or Dominic Republic? Then they aren't Native Americans. Do I think C.C. Is some decent guy who wasn't a disgusting douche....hardly. My own children's history books depict him as a loser..........You're an idiot. You're in denial. And you should do your research----you can get excerpts from Columbus' journal at any library, and they are hard to find. Just hard to read.