This is from my good friend and mentor, Graywolf, the below can be easily confirmed by reading a bit further than what you have been taught in school
For those of you considering celebrating columbus day, just consider this ---
Columbus landed on the large island he called Espaâ€“ola (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic), he promptly instituted policies of slavery (encomiendo) and systematic extermination against the native Taino population.
Because Columbus captured more Indian slaves than he could transport to Spain in his small ships, he put them to work in mines and plantations which he, his family and followers created throughout the Caribbean.
His marauding band hunted Indians for ...sport and profit - beating, raping, torturing, killing, and then using the Indian bodies as food for their hunting dogs. Within four years of Columbus' arrival on Hispaniola, his men had killed or exported one-third of the original Indian population.
Within another 50 years, the Taino people had been made nearly extinct - the first casualties of the holocaust of American Indians.
The plantation owners then turned to the American mainland and to Africa for new slaves to follow the tragic path of the Taino.
Columbus sent nearly 5,000 Native American slaves across the Atlantic to Europe, more than any other individual in history. In two years, he and his men were responsible for ...the deaths of 125,000 natives of Haiti through murder and mutilation.
.Columbus also began a wave of similar invasions by other Europeans; the detrimental effects of these invasions are shown in the post-Columbian population of Hispaniola. When Columbus arrived in 1492, there were 8 million people living on the island. By 1496, that population had contracted to 3 million. Fewer than 200 natives were still alive in 1542, and by 1555 they were all gone.