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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Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Spike (Lee) you must make a movie of this history before that inglorious Bastard Tarrentino does!

Kenneth Grigsby's picture
Kenneth Grigsby
Submitted by Kenneth Grigsby on
this is horrible, I do not celebrate this despicable person.

Carol Wiseman's picture
Carol Wiseman
Submitted by Carol Wiseman on
Thankyou so much for printing this article, and for keeping Truth alive. Today I will be wearing my T-shirt that has a photo of three Indian women, two of whom are bearing arms, with the logo "Homeland Security" "Fighting Terrorism since 1492". As far as I know I'm not Native, but have denounced my heritage and have been involved in the Native community for several years.

detroit's picture
Submitted by detroit on
what History doesnt teach us we shall repeat, sad to hear such terrible atrocities occurred to anyone

Submitted by DEBBI BOWEN-DENLAY on
this person (not a man) was no better than hitler. y would we honor him on any day?

ogema's picture
Submitted by ogema on
It's about time people hear the truth, and Native people of Turtle Island say no more lies!

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
I never knew Christopher Columbus was so corrupt and bad He was a bad person!! And not everybody knows this

Amy Pletscher's picture
Amy Pletscher
Submitted by Amy Pletscher on
And yet the classes our kids have to attend, are telling tales/lies about history. When are the lies going to end and have the real truth be taught to our kids and quit celebrating a piece of crap (Columbus)

Submitted by PEACEWALKER on
May the souls of the tribes these bastards hurt be at peace. May this evil man Columbus be taken off the history books and forgotten. May he be in hell.

Susan Gaswint's picture
Susan Gaswint
Submitted by Susan Gaswint on
Why we still celebrate this outrageous holiday is beyond my ability to understand this country. This man should be banned from education unless the truth is taught. No one should recognize him as a hero but as the coward and murder that he was.

Susan Gaswint's picture
Susan Gaswint
Submitted by Susan Gaswint on
Why we still celebrate this outrageous holiday is beyond my ability to understand this country. This man should be banned from education unless the truth is taught. No one should recognize him as a hero but as the coward and murder that he was.

Susan Gaswint's picture
Susan Gaswint
Submitted by Susan Gaswint on
Why we still celebrate this outrageous holiday is beyond my ability to understand this country. This man should be banned from education unless the truth is taught. No one should recognize him as a hero but as the coward and murder that he was.

LaDonna A.Childs 's picture
LaDonna A.Childs
Submitted by LaDonna A.Childs on
Keep telling the truth. I hope I live to see the day that this story is put in the history books, and the lies taken out.

Albert Bennett's picture
Albert Bennett
Submitted by Albert Bennett on
You forgot that his men brought back VD that the Natives gave them....per History Ch. and they never tell the story of what Shawnee and Hurons did to women and children on the American fronter. Bloody Ohio river.'s picture
Submitted by adamslinda2009@... on
I don't celebrate him but I didn't know all of this. I am sharing it with my friends and hope and pray they take time to read it.

Lynda Billars's picture
Lynda Billars
Submitted by Lynda Billars on
What are you trying to do with this type of a posting? I used to love your postings and teachings, but seriously I've had and seen enough! Live for today and use your energy to do positive, not negative! If these things happened they happened long ago. None of us can help what went on then, but...we can work together and grow from past mistakes. If you continue on this living in the past nothing but negative can come from it. Use your intelligence for the better! Respect and concern!

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous 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. But to just say so and so said this and some friend said this is like me saying I overheard my neighbor say she hates her husband but I'm in my house and she's in her's called hearsay. So give me a link to these notorious journals. Everyone should have access if this is truth.

christy's picture
Submitted by christy on
In 1492 Columbus might of sailed the Ocean blue ..though people thought he was Americas bound..that soil could not be found..He instead took the fame of a country he should not claim. Columbus was but a fraud that low down dirty dog.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Cristobal Colon was a murderer, thief and pimp for Islabeel and Ferdinand the dual monarchs od Spain and the Roman Catholic church which wanted to enrich itself on the blatant savagery, murder and pillage of Native Peoples of the Americas. The Catholic Church is both unholy and evil to the core.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
How absurd is it that our country would even keep this holiday? This country belonged to us Native Americans first and then this pig comes and destroys gods people in ways only a white man could. Disgusting! This is why I cant understand how people of color could even want to reproduce with the white man!

patty breyette's picture
patty breyette
Submitted by patty breyette on
ray fadden taught me all of this and more he called me his daughter he never had gave me many things through the years visited him as much as I could as a child after his death I got a puppy for xmas he is honored to be called RAYDEN after the greatest man I know