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Christopher Columbus is known as a hero for discovering the Americas in 1492. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand paid for Columbus to sail across the ocean to find a new westward route to India. He was under the impression that he had found a westward route to India when, in fact, he had discovered the new world. According to the history books, Columbus is a hero and should be celebrated. However, the history books have overlooked the horrific things Columbus did to the Native Americans. Columbus is a historical villain because he killed eight million people, enslaved millions and tortured the indigenous people. The first reason Columbus was a villain was that he killed eight million people. Columbus was a brutal person. He murdered millions of people within a few decades. When he came to the Americas, he inadvertently brought diseases, killing off the population. He also brought invasive species to the new world. The invasive species killed off the ecosystem, causing famine and hunger. Columbus would also hunt people for sport. In “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” Loewen states, “As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide… The woman, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and childbirth… Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and have aborted” (Loewen 57). Columbus’s reign was so harsh that people killed themselves and their children to escape any more suffering caused by Columbus. The second reason Columbus was a villain was that he enslaved millions of natives. He created two systems that he used to control the natives. The first system was the tribute system. The tribute system worked by forcing the Indians to work in gold mines. Every native that was fourteen years or older had to pay a “large hawk’s bell of gold; all others were each to pay twenty-five pounds of cotton” (Loewen 56). To show that he has paid, the Indians had to wear a brass or copper token around their neck. If an Indian was found without a token, he was punished. The encomienda system was the second system. The encomienda was a forced labor system. Columbus granted Indian villages to single colonists or to groups of colonists. These systems caused unbelievable depopulation and as a result, the Indians choose suicide over labor. The third reason Columbus was a villain was that he tortured the indigenous people. He would cut off their ears, noses, and hands as a form of punishment when they did not pay their tribute. The women tried to find ways to prevent pregnancy because Columbus would rape them. He would also put people on spikes and swords to torture them. Columbus would also starve dogs and then let them loose on the Indians. Loewen said in the text, “The soldiers mowed down dozens with point-blank volleys, loosed the dogs to rip open limbs and bellies, chased fleeing Indians into the bush to skewer them on sword and pike” (Loewen 55). Columbus tortured and killed millions of Indians for sports and to show the power and control he had over them. Columbus was a villain. He killed eight million indigenous people within a few decades. He enslaved millions of people and would cruelly punish them if they did not comply with his demands. He tortured millions of people but swords, dogs and spikes. Columbus was an evil person who killed off an entire population of people in a land that did not belong to him. The United States should no longer celebrate Columbus as a hero.  

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