Happy Bartolome de las Casas Day!

I have been somewhat lukewarm on Columbus day since I learned as a child, that the man had–at best–been rather embarrassingly lost. But the truth is, Columbus was not merely lost and not merely the unwitting instrument in the start of the decline of the native peoples. He was a butcher, a sex trafficker, and a slave trader. We know this because he have his own journals. He was a brutal bastard, and he is only celebrated in this country because in 1930 a white catholic civic organization petitioned the president to make it so.

This needs to be corrected. I don’t go in for the historical revisionism that is so rampant today, but I do support setting the record straight and correcting our collective errors. Columbus does not warrant celebration, but Bartolome de las Cases does. He was the first priest ordained in the Americas and was so disgusted by what he witnessed that he gave up his land and slaves and devoted the next fifty years to defending human rights.



bartolome de las Casas