Here are the indigenous people Christopher Columbus and his men could not annihilateBreaking News
tags: genocide, Native American history, Columbus Day, Christopher Columbus, Indigenous Peoples Day
The Lucayan did not know it was Oct. 12, 1492. They did not know that their island, in what would become the Bahamas, had been spotted by Spanish explorers led by a Genoese man named Christopher Columbus. And they did not know that in less than 30 years, their island would be empty from the coming genocide.
As Columbus and his men approached, the Lucayans greeted them warmly, offering food and water, and “we understood that they had asked us if we had come from heaven,” Columbus wrote in his journal.
Then he added, “With 50 men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.”
Some of them, he noticed, were wearing gold nose rings.
Columbus and his crew stayed just long enough to kidnap a few inhabitants, before sailing away to explore other islands filled with indigenous people.
This year the District of Columbia joins at least five states and dozens of cities and counties in replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It’s part of a decades-long reckoning with the sanitized version of the European colonization of the Americas.
In Hispaniola — what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic — Columbus encountered the Lucayans’ cousins, the Taíno. (The Lucayan were a branch of the much larger Taíno, who were part of the Arawak language group.) Historians disagree on how many Taíno lived on Hispaniola at the time, with estimates ranging from 60,000 to 8 million. One contemporaneous account from Bartolomé de las Casas claimed there were 3 million. More about las Casas shortly.
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