October 12: Día de la Hispanidad

El 12 de octubre

A cause for celebration…? | Photo: Tom Walton

If you're a worker or a kid at school, you're probably delighted that you've got the day off today, a national holiday in Spain for "El día de la Hispanidad" (aka Columbus Day), which celebrates the discovery of the Americas back in 1492.

It's not, however, a cause of celebration for everyone, as you can see from the poster, above, daubed on walls here in Barcelona. Wikipedia reckons that it "conmemora la efeméride histórica del genocidio de los pueblos indígenas de América por parte de España y el nacimiento del Imperio Español" (ouch!).

If you're interested in Latin American history, Charles Mann's 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus [Amazon] is an interesting read, explaining what society was like before Colombus got there and showing just why it perhaps isn't cause for celebration.

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