Today is Columbus Day, which has become known as a pretty controversial holiday in the United States. The day commemorates Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World, but many have pointed out that Columbus also did a lot of evil acts that were ignored or overlooked over the years. They’re not anymore, and many states have changed and now celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead today. Here’s a look at some of the memes that people are sharing about Columbus Day today.
The Controversial Holiday Inspires Quite a Few Memes
Columbus was also not technically the first to discover the New World (beyond the native people who already lived there.) The Vikings discovered North America about five centuries earlier, USA Today noted. Many of the memes shared today are tongue-in-cheek memes about the true history behind the holiday.
In the United States, it first became a state holiday in Colorado in 1905 thanks to the lobbying of Angelo Noce, a first-generation Italian living in Denver. Similar lobbying made it a federal holiday in 1937. Many Italians observe the day as a celebration of Italian heritage, while other Americans view it as the “discovery” of America. But the day has become increasingly controversial over the years.
According to History.com, Columbus forced some native people to convert to Christianity, enslaved others, and introduced foreign disease to the people of America.
In fact, the joke about taking whatever you want for a Columbus Day sale is especially popular this year.
On his first day in the New World, Columbus wrote in his journal that he seized six natives whom he believed would be good servants. He also created forced labor for profit and sold thousands of peaceful native people who lived on Hispaniola, History.com noted.
History.com also reported that while Columbus was governor of the Indies, he cracked down and killed natives who rebelled against his discipline, even parading dismembered body parts through the streets. This was found written in documents that Spanish historians discovered in 2005.
His arrival also brought many diseases to the Americas.
Today, many states and cities now celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day.
But some locations still celebrate both.
Washington D.C. is celebrating Indigenous Peoples day today, which brought up an interesting question on Twitter.
As for memes for Columbus Day, some of them are more lighthearted and just focus on having a day off rather than on the holiday itself.
Others are just sad because they don’t get the day off.
If you want a history lesson on Columbus Day, one of the most popular is in the form of a cartoon drawn by The Oatmeal that you can see here.
The Oatmeal comic always gets shared a lot this time of year.
And in honor of Oatmeal’s comic, some just say “Happy Bartolome Day!”
Columbus Day is the seven of 10 federal holidays that take place in 2019. This year we’ll still be celebrating Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in 2019.