When Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World in October 1492, the people living on the island thought that Columbus and his men were gods. They were amazed at their big colorful ships and their beautiful clothes.
Columbus called these native people "Indians", because he believed he had sailed to India. The natives that met Columbus were actually the "Tainos".
At first, Columbus and the Tainos people were friendly. The Tainos welcomed the Europeans into their homes and guided them around nearby islands.
Friendly relations between the two peoples did not last long. As the Europeans searched for riches and tried to force the Tainos to become Christians, conflicts arose. The Tainos' simpler weapons were of no match for those of the Europeans.
Some of the natives were murdered. Some were crowded into ships and sent to Spain as prisoners. Many more were made to work like slaves in their own land.
This bad treatment of the native people has led some to oppose the celebration of Columbus Day.