I don't know that it is fair to blame it on Columbus, because I think things would have played out the same way no matter what.
But Columbus's first interactions with the Indians involved using them as labor, trying to convert them, and taking them as souvenirs home to Spain.
To me, this set the stage for what Spain would do. It would see the Indians as a source of labor (use them as serfs, essentially, on encomiendas). It would use the idea of Christianizing them as a major reason for conquest. And it would see them as sort of curiosities that were not exactly as human and worthy of respect as white people.
Well, Christopher Columbus arriving in the New World certainly set a precedent of disease and genocide, and contributed to the formation of the Black Legend that spread from tribe to tribe across the continents: When the Europeans arrive, the world is ending.
The introduction of small pox and other diseases to a native population that was defenseless against them led to 90% of them being dead within a generation or less. This pattern would be repeated time and time again until the final conquest of native tribes in the late 19th century. While it was not part of Columbus' plan or anything, his experience and what happened after he arrived would be seen again and again when other contacts were made.
A Spanish ship commanded by an Italian mariner, Cristoforo Colombo (or Christopher Columbus), reached an island in the West Indies on October 12, 1492. Although Columbus failed to grasp the true significance of the discovery (he believed that he had reached Asia), the voyage opened up a new world to exploitation by the people of western Europe. Europeans had long valued Asian products such as spices, tropical fruits, silk, and cotton; and Columbus had hoped to find a western route to China, Japan, and the Indies, which would eliminate both the danger and expense of overland travel, as well as Italian middlemen. By the fifteenth century, western Europeans set about discovering direct routes to the East. Prince Henry of Portugal sponsored improvements in navigation and voyages of exploration. Although Columbus was not the first European to reach the western hemisphere, it was his voyage that gave rise to further explorations.
Columbus's dealings with the Indians set the stage for further discovery and exploitation, especially by the Spanish in the New American territory.
Unfortunately I am not swift enough to remember the author's name and ought to have done so first but the book with much primary material by priest's who were there etc is called "The Fulcrum of change" The author is a famed carribean phd who calculates by direct result of Columbus the entire race of the caribe people were genocided.Taking the entire basin in to account some calculate 10 million but I am unaware of any one refuting that for the local people of this hemisphere, Colon or whatever this twisted soul from genoa was called,is surely Adolph Hitler.He watched and allowed the most disgusting acts of brutality one could imagine, on small children no less.He saw it and condoned it in person.Columbus day for me has become a day of rememberance of all the victims over the centuries of the enormous genocide of the native human life and culture by Europeans.Students of early North American History are aware,notes from the times show George Washington ordered soldiers to go in to Native villages and kill all women and children.