Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Christopher Columbus: Genocide?

In a decidedly non-traditional event, students and faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) staged a Columbus day protest accusing the explorer of being responsible for the murder of millions of native people. According to Donna Akers, a UNL assistant professor of history, Christopher Columbus was responsible for the systematic murder of nearly nine million indigenous people on the island of Hispaniola, site of present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

It seems unlikely to me that the population of Hispaniola was anywhere near that high. But if you consider the effects of the Spanish throughout the Caribbean and Central/South America by enslavement, forced starvation, exploitation, and introduced diseases, the number is plausible. I was going to say the number isn't unreasonable or that it isn't excessive, but in a sense it is exactly that. That doesn't make it inaccurate.


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