Historical reckonings

In Madrid, activists challenge the country’s most important national holiday

On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America, a national milestone that occurred under the reign of the Catholic Kings and that reflects the cultural and political plurality of the Kingdom of Spain, which began a period of cultural projection and… This is the official story of Spain’s most important national celebration.

A story that, as anti-racist activists have pointed out, is not only racist but also very much a myth. Behind the colourful celebration, there’s violence, cultural erasure and racism of what was not a “discovery” but an act of colonization.

Since 2012, activists in Madrid have been protesting to give October 12 a new meaning that challenges the official story, using the motto “nothing to celebrate”.

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