Anyone who follows this blog or even stops in occasionally could probably guess that I’m not a real big fan of Christopher Columbus or his “discovery” of an already-inhabited part of the world. I’m one of those who look into history and are grimly unsurprised that a European invader thought it was okay to kill and enslave the friendly folks who came down to the beach to welcome him ashore.
Yeah, that’s more the way I look at it.
The Great Columbian Exchange mostly helped Europe, as far as I can tell. What the Americans got in return for tobacco, corn, squash, tomatoes, gold and so much more was disease, enslavement, and mass death (and that was just the people). Other invasive species arrived with the invasive Europeans, and no ecosystem in North or South America has been the same since.
I hate to rain on their parades, I truly do. Italian-Americans have been a mostly much more positive influence on American culture than Columbus himself, however. It’d be nice if they’d picked a better guy to be their emblem. If you’re a Federal employee or a banker, have a nice day off.
But we also should never forget the Arawaks.