Leader of Spain's conservative Popular Party called colonial expansion to the Americas 'the most important event in history after the Roman empire'

Spanish right-wing politicians are rebuffing calls for Spain to apologize for dark chapters in its colonial past and have scorned US President Joe Biden’s recent acknowledgement of the atrocities suffered by indigenous peoples, the BBC reports.

The leader of the conservative Popular Party (PP), Pablo Casado, described Spain’s colonial expansion to the Americas as “the most important event in history after the Roman empire”, on the eve of Spain’s 12 October holiday marking Christopher Columbus’s 1492 arrival in the New World.

“Does the kingdom of Spain have to apologise because five centuries ago it discovered the New World, respected those who were there, created universities, created prosperity, built entire cities? I don’t think so,” Mr Casado said in a video posted on Twitter.

His comments came after President Biden, in a message to mark the US Columbus Day holiday, said the explorer’s arrival had led to “a wave of devastation” for Native Americans and he urged Americans not to “bury these shameful episodes of our past”.

He issued a proclamation to make the 11 October US holiday Indigenous Peoples’ Day, alongside the existing Columbus Day.

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