From Christopher Columbus's log: "They... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword; they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… They would make fine servants… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want..." (qtd. in Zinn 1).
Zinn states: "But too many slaves died in captivity. And so Columbus, desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, had to make good his promise to fill ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death… In two years, through murder, mutilation or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead... (4-5). When we read the history books given to children in the United States, it all starts with heroic adventure—there is no bloodshed—and Columbus Day is a celebration... (7). One can lie outright about the past. Or one can omit facts which might lead to unacceptable conclusions... (8). To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to deemphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves—unwittingly—to justify what was done... [W]e have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts... The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks)—the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress—is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders..." (9).
Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States, 1492 – Present. New York: Harper Collins, 2003.