The explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain: in 1492, 1493, 1498 and
1502. He was determined to find a direct water route west from Europe to Asia, but he never did. Instead, he
accidentally stumbled upon the Americas. Though he did not really discover the New World--millions of
people already lived there--his journeys marked the beginning of centuries of trans-Atlantic colonization.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, leaders of several European nations sponsored expeditions abroad in the hope
that explorers would find great wealth and vast undiscovered lands. The Portuguese were the earliest participants in
this Age of Discovery. Starting in about 1420, small Portuguese ships known as caravels zipped along the
African coast, carrying spices, gold, slaves and other goods from Asia and Africa to Europe.
Other European nations, particularly Spain, were eager to share in the seemingly limitless riches of the Far East.
By the end of the 15th century, Spains Reconquista--the expulsion of Jews and Muslims out of the
kingdom after centuries of war--was complete, and the nation turned its attention to exploration and conquest in
other areas of the world.
Christopher Columbus: Early Life
Christopher Columbus, the son of a wool merchant, was born in Genoa in about 1451. When he was still a teenager, he got a job on a merchant ship. He remained at sea until 1470, when French privateers attacked his ship as it sailed north along the Portuguese coast. The boat sank, but the young Columbus floated to shore on a scrap of wood and made his way to Lisbon, where he studied mathematics, astronomy, cartography and navigation. He also began to hatch the plan that would change the world forever.
By Tommy De Seno Published October 11, 2010
I’m sure it’s happened to you, as it did to me, again, last night: Some starry-eyed collegian told me that Christopher Columbus
shouldn’t be celebrated because of his treatment of native Americans. Oh, and surprise, surprise, she was armed with nothing
more than her university professor’s insistence.
If Mark Twain was right that a lie can travel halfway around the world before truth has a chance to put on its shoes, imagine the
damage a lie can do over 500 years.
Let me introduce you to Francisco de Bobadilla – liar and Columbus usurper. The criticism of Columbus today comes from de
Bobadilla. Who was he? The man who wanted Columbus’s job as governor of Hispaniola.
In 1500 the King and Queen sent him to North America to investigate claims that Columbus wasn’t being fair to the European
settlers (which means Columbus was protecting the Indians). So de Bobedilla came here, and in just a few short days did his
investigation (with no telephones or motorized vehicles to help him), and promptly arrested Columbus and his brothers for Indian
mistreatment and sent them back to Spain, sans a trial. Oh and, he also appointed himself governor. Coup de coeur for power
lead to coup d’ etat, as usual.
The King and Queen out these shenanigans and sent for be Bobadilla two years later, but he drowned on the trip home.
Columbus was reinstated as admiral.
But what we know of Columbian malfeasance comes from a defrocked liar, de Bobadilla.
Nor was Columbus involved in the slave trade, as critics like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky have asserted. One of his boats crashed in Haiti. He had no room for 39 men, so he started a colony there.
Columbus came back a year later to find that the Taino Indians killed all of them and left them where they fell. Columbus went to war with the Tainos and took 500 of them as prisoners of war, not slaves. They were released after the war.
Big difference, of course.
It is also wrong to blame Columbus for bringing genocidal microbes to kill native Americans. His detractors make fun of him for thinking he was in the East. So was his evil plan then to bring disease to wipe out the East?
Europeans didn’t know anything about germs until Italian physicist Girolamo Fracastoro proposed the theory 40 years after Columbus died.
Also, had an Indian built a boat and traveled to Europe and back, he would have contaminated the Indians too. Transcontinental contamination was going to happen at some point, making the first carriers irrelevant.
Brown University recently changed the name of the Columbus Day holiday to “Fall Weekend” due to the Columbus slave allegations. Hypocrisy alert: Brown University was partly founded with slave trade money, according to the university's own reports. But they didn’t vote to change the name of their college! Continue reading....