*Each year this time, the nation celebrates one of the dumbest explorers in the history of exploring.
Good old Christopher Columbus (born Cristobol Colon) is given credit for “discovering” the “New World,” and set up as some master explorer when such was really not the case.
Dumb Ass Columbus was actually commissioned to find a shorter route from Europe to the East Indies, by sailing West, no less. And Spain was dumb enough to fund his goofball mission in hopes of gaining some leverage in the European spice trade with Asia.
In addition to being dumb, Columbus was a liar.
He landed first on an island that is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic and named that location San Salvador. He called the people he encountered “Indios,” Spanish for Indians, since he thought he was in the East Indies.
Even when the bonehead realized (after subsequent voyages) that he had in fact come upon a continent that Europeans had no knowledge of, he still refused to admit it. He insisted until his death that he had landed in Asia and eventually turned his focus from one of discovery to a mission of spreading Christianity.
Columbus did spread a few things, though, including syphilis, scurvy, death and destruction.
The Spanish crown knew he was a moron and a liar and eventually had him arrested and stripped of political power given to him over the settlements in the Americas.
But that didn’t stop other ignorant, lying Europeans who continued to support his bullcrap, even going so far as to credit him with “discovering” a land that was filled with people staring at his dumb ass when he arrived.
The fact of the matter is that the “great” explorer, Christopher Columbus grossly underestimated the size of the earth, grossly overestimated the size of Europe and was completely ignorant as to the true location of Japan and other islands of Asia.
And, the credit given to him of “discovering” America is a travesty indeed.
In They Came Before Columbus, author Dr. Ivan Van Sertima uses Carbon-14 dated sculptures, Arabic documents and maps as well as diaries of the actual explorers to demonstrate African contact with Native Americans. He carefully outlines cultural links between the two and the African impact on the Native American civilization that was in existence long before Columbus was ever born.
The most ironic piece of evidence that Dr. Van Sertima presents is from the Native Americans themselves. They actually told the Spanish invaders that they had been trading with Black people. And, bananas, yams, beans and gourds—all from Africa–were in the Americas before dumb ass Columbus.
The shame in believing that Columbus “discovered” a land where people were thriving is the blemish on the face of the indigenous people; but also to African people, who are, according to the Columbus mythology, only seen as arriving to America in chains as slaves, as opposed to arriving before the Europeans as explorers.
What Dumb Ass Columbus represents to both Native Americans and African descendants in America is the insertion of the European into America, which meant centuries of brutality, death and mayhem at the hands of the European.
Europeans prior to Columbus’ “discovery” of America had no particular growth in no particular area. However, once the Americas were taken over by Europeans and once the Native American population had been mostly killed off, exploited and/or otherwise dominated, the new settlers began to explore the world for someone to do the work necessary for building a new world.
Columbus’ bumbling would have perhaps been replaced by the eventuality of some other European “explorer,” but since it was Columbus who set things off, then the dishonor becomes his legacy.
The legacy of many Africans in America is sadly, stunted in their minds and limited to their time in America, which means that they simply accept that their own time on earth began in chains.
Millions of people in a vital civilization were in the Americas when Columbus “sailed the ocean blue,” yet racist liars who reconstruct history persist with the myth that one dumb ass European “discovered” a land that was only unknown to Europe.
So, while America spends this week celebrating the life and legacy of old Dumb Ass Columbus, I have chosen to spend it damning his existence, cursing European exploration and colonization and weeping for the stunted American legacy handed to the African in America.
And I’ll continue to recommend that every Black person read “They Came Before Columbus.”
Then they’ll realize how dumb Christopher really was.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles in 2001 and will become a feature film in 2012. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at firstname.lastname@example.org.