IN 1492, COLUMBUS SAILED THE OCEAN BLUE

Columbus Taking Possession.jpg
Last year, I commented on Rachel’s blog (http://rachelstavern.com), and ended up writing an essay on Christopher Columbus’s so-called “discovery” of America.
On the evening of August 3, 1492, Columbus departed from Palos, Spain, with three ships; one larger carrack, Santa María, nicknamed Gallega (the Gallician), and two smaller caravels, Pinta (the Painted) and Santa Clara, nicknamed Niña (the Girl). And the rest is history, as is so often stated.
For centuries many people believed the lie that Columbus was a great discoverer.
Columbus discovered nothing.
File:Ridolfo Ghirlandaio Columbus.jpg
Portrait of Christopher Columbus, circa 1520, by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio.
How can you “discover” a land that already had people living there?
So, I guess the native peoples were so benighted, that they did not know where they were.
It took a European to tell them where they were?
And speaking of “discoverers”, the real, true discoverers were Henson, Amundson, Peary, Byrd……..Shackeleton.
Those men truly “discovered” places no man or woman had ever gone to during their time.
Those men are what I call true discoverers.
Columbus set into motion a chain of viciousness that lasted for more than 500 years.
I would rather have the legacy of the above referenced discoverers to be proud of, rather than someone of the likes of Columbus.
Yesterday was Columbus Day.
It was approximately 515 years ago that the hells of Columbus were unleashed upon America and Africa. The hells of genocide, slavery, dehumanizing acts of inhumanity, atrocities of barbarism and brutality in crimes against humanity on a huge murderous scale. Europe and European-descended white people have been benefitting ever since from those acts of perversion and heinous cruelties.
I’m sure the Native Americans and Black Americans of today are so very thankful for all that the great ‘Admiral of the Sea’ has done for them and the horrific destruction that his appearance in this hemisphere set into motion over 500 years ago.
Here is my essay I wrote last year on November 21, 2006. In my essay I discuss my views on Columbus, the New World and the place that Native Americans and Black Americans have had in it:
“Research of Columbus over the years paints a much different picture of him than what many people know. Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world: the taking of land, wealth, and labor from indigenous peoples, leading to their near extinction, and the transatlantic slave trade of black American’s black ancestors, which created a racial underclass that exists still to this day. Columbus’s initial impression of the Arawaks, who inhabited most of the islands in the Caribbean, was quite favourable. He wrote in his journal on October 13, 1492: “At daybreak great multitudes of men came to the shore, all young and of fine shapes….and very beautiful. They are not black, but the color of the inhabitants of the Canaries.” (1)(This reference to the Canary Islanders was ominous, for Spain was then in the process of exterminating the aboriginal people of these islands.) Columbus was searching for gold, and seeing some gold about the necks of the natives, asked where their king lived. At the dawn of the next day, Columbus sailed to the other island, probably one of the Bahamas, and saw two or three villages. He ended his description of them with these menacing words:“I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased.” (1) On his first voyage, Columbus kidnapped some ten to twenty-five Indians and took them back to Spain with him. Only seven or eight of the Indians arrived alive, but along with parrots, gold trinkets, and other exotica, they caused quite a stir in Seville. Ferdinand and Isabella provided Columbus with seventeen ships, 1,200 to 1,500 men, cannons, crossbows, guns, cavalry, and attack dogs for a second voyage.
File:ColombusMap.jpg
 
Christopher Colombus map. Lisbon, workshop of Bartolomeo and Christopher Colombus, c.1490.
“When Columbus and his men returned to what is present-day Haiti in 1493, he and his men demanded food, gold, cotton—and whatever the Indians had. To make sure the natives cooperated, Columbus used punishments as examples for any disobediance on the natives part. The punishments were: cut off ears or nose, with the disfigured person sent back to the village as an example of the brutality that the Spaniards were capable of.”  (1)
 
 
The routes of the four voyages of Columbus, between 1492 and 1504.  (SOURCE)
 
[The following letter was written by Columbus, near the end of his return voyage, to Luis de Sant Angel, Treasurer of Aragon, who had given him substantial help in fitting out his expedition. This announcement of his discovery of the West Indies was evidently intended for the eyes of Ferdinand and Isabella. The text of the present translation is taken from American History Leaflets, edited by Professors Hart and Channing.]
 
 
 
“Having as yet found no gold, Columbus had to return some kind of dividend to Spain.
“In 1495 he and his men initiated a great slave raid:(1)
File:Columbus1.PNG
First voyage.  (SOURCE)
 
 
“A particular sadistic repellent aspect of the slave trade was sexual rape/exploitation. As soon as the 1493 expedition got to the Caribbean, before it even reached Haiti, Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape. On Haiti, sex slaves were one more prerequisite that the Spaniards enjoyed. Columbus wrote a friend in 1500, “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.” (1)
 
 
File:Columbus2.PNG
Second voyage.  (SOURCE)
“The slave trade destroyed whole Indian nations. Enslaved Indians died. To replace the dying Haitians (native Indians), the Spanish imported tens of thousands more Indians from the Bahamas, which “are now deserted,” (2) in the words of the Spanish historian Peter Martyr, reporting in 1516. Packed in below deck, with hatchways closed to prevent their escape, so many slaves died on the trip that a “ship without a compass, a chart, or guide, but only following the trail of dead Indians who had been thrown from the ships could find its way from the Bahamas to Hispaniola.” (2)

 

File:Columbus3.PNG
Third voyage.  (SOURCE)
This inhumane treatment echoed the terror that black slaves would soon on slave ships during the horrific Middle Passage.
Because the Indians died, Indian slavery then led to the massive slave trade the other way across the Atlantic, from Africa:
“They rounded up 1,500 Arawaks, and selecting 500 of the best, sent them to Spain (of which over 200 would die en route to Spain). By now the villagers were in horror and fleeing their villages. (1)
Columbus was excited:
“In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil-wood which can be sold”, he wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella in 1496. “In Castille, Portugal, Aragon,….and the Canary Islands they need many slaves, and I do not think they get enough from Guinea.” (1)
“He viewed the Indian death rate optimistically:
“Although they die now, they will not always die. The Negroes and Canary Islanders died at first.” (1)
“Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves—about five thousand—than any other conqueror who came after him. To her credit, Isabella outright opposed slavery, and had some natives returned back to their island. (1)
File:Columbus4.PNG
Fourth and final voyage.  (SOURCE)
But other nations rushed to emulate Columbus in the years to follow.
The Portuguese.
The British.
The Dutch.
The French.
Others who came after buying black people from their own black people who sold them into slavery for mere trinkets: spices, cloth and beads. With the depletion of native peoples and their dying out from European diseases, Europe began to look elsewhere for slaves.
Africans also became victims of the discovery of America just as the Native Americans:  slavery, genocide.
Many people look upon Columbus as a great navigator.
That is true.
But he was also a plunderer:
“If Columbus was only a navigator, he would have rivaled Lief Erikson, but his actions exemplify the dual meanings of the word “exploit”—a remarkable deed and a taking advantage of. (3)
“We can understand Columbus and all European explorers (and settlers) more clearly if 1492 is treated not as a discovery, but as a meeting of THREE different cultures”:
-Europe
-Native peoples of the North/South/Central America/Mexico and the Caribbean
-Africa (which was soon involved via the enslavement of defenseless Africans by greedy Europeans)
People say that if Columbus had not discovered the New World, others would have.
But, Columbus did not “discover” America, what with over 20 million native people already living there.
And the process of exploration was itself typically multi-racial and multi-cultural.
William Erasmus, a Canadian Indian, pointed out:
“Explorers you call great men were helpless. They were like lost children, and it was our people who took care of them.” (3)
“On Christmas Day 1492, Columbus needed help. The Santa Maria ran aground off Haiti, Columbus sent for help to the nearest Arawak town, and:
“all the people of the town responded with very big and many canoes. They cleared the decks in a very short time…and the chief caused all our goods to be placed together near the palace, until some houses that he gave us where all might be put and guarded had been emptied.” (1)
On his final voyage Columbus shipwrecked on Jamaica, and the Arawaks there kept him and his crew of more than a hundred alive for a whole year until Spaniards from Haiti rescued them. (1)
And so it continued: “Native Americans cured Cartier’s men of scurvy near Montreal. (10
“They repaired Drake’s “Golden Hind” in California so he could complete his round-the-world-voyage in 1579.” (1)
And much more history that has been white-washed from America’s history books.
Especially the history of Native Americans, and black Americans.
Before the landing of Europeans in the New World, there were thriving civilizations.
Mayan.
Aztec.
Inca.
Arawaks.
To name just a few.
Yes, they were not perfect, but it still did not give Columbus, De Soto, Cortes, Pizarro and many others the right to destroy them.
And just as the history of native peoples in the Americas has been thoroughly white-washed, the history of black America, both pre-slavery, and after slavery is practically written out of America’s history books. Especially, the pre-slavery history:
“-African pilots helped Prince Henry the Navigator’s ship captains learn their way down the coast of Africa;
-in 1526, 500 Spaniards and 100 black slaves founded a town near the Pee Dee River in what is present-day South Carolina. The slaves rebelled, killed some of their masters, and escaped to the Indians. By then only 150 Spaniards survived, and they retreated to Haiti. The ex-slaves remained behind and probably merged with nearby Indian nations.
-1,000 BCE – 300 AD, evidence of Afro-Phonecians is found in Central America.
“If Columbus is especially relevant to western Europeans and the Vikings to Scandinavians, what is the meaning to black Americans of the pre-Colombian voyagers from Africa?
“After visiting the Von Wuthenau museum in Mexico City, the Afro-Carib scholar Tiho Narva wrote, “With his unique collection surrounding me, I had an eerie feeling that veils obscuring the past had been torn asunder….Somehow, upon leaving the museum I suddenly felt that I could walk taller for the rest of my days.” (5)
“As with the Norse and European, including the Afro-Phonecians gives a more complete and complex picture of the past, showing that navigation and exploration did not begin with Europe in the 1400s. Unlike the Norse, the Afro-phonecians seem to have made a permanent impact on the Americas. The huge stone statues in Mexico imply as much. (5)
“American history textbooks promote the belief that most important developments in world history are traceable to Europe. To grant too much human potential and endeavors to pre-Columbian Africans would definately jar European American sensibilities. As Samuel Marble put it:
“The possibility of African discovery of America has never been a tempting one for American historians.” (5)
“It is in contradiction to the most elementary logic and to all artistic experience that an Indian could depict in a masterly way the head of a Negro without missing a single racial characteristic, unless he had actually seen such a person. The types of people depicted must have lived in America. . . .The Negroid element is well proven by the large Olmec stone monuments as well as the terracotta items and therefore cannot be excluded from the pre-columbian history of the Americas.”
—Alexander Von Wuthenau, The Art of  Terracotta Pottery in Pre-Columbian South and Central America” (5)
“The negro started his career in America not as a slave but as a master.”
-R. A. JAIRAZBHOY, Ancient Egyptians and Chinese in America (5)
“The startling fact is that in all parts of Mexico, from Campeche in the east to the south coast of Guerrero, and from Chiapas, next to the Guatemalan border, to the Panuco river in the Huasteca region (north of Veracruz), archealogical pieces representing Negro or negroid people have been found, especially in Archaic or pre-Classic sites. This also holds true for large sections of Mesoamerica and far into South America—-Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. . . . .”
-Alexander Von Wuthenau, Unexpected Faces in Ancient America (5)
“When Columbus reached Haiti, he found the Arawaks in possession of some spear points made of guanine. The Indians said they got them from black traders who had come from the south and the east. Guanine proved to be an alloy of silver, gold, and copper, identical to the gold alloy preferred by West Africans, who also called it “guanine.” (1)
“. . . .and he [Columbus] wanted to find out what the Indians of Hispaniola (present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic) had told him, that there had come to it from the south and southeast Negro people, who brought those spear points made of a metal which they call guanin, of which he had sent to the king and queen for assaying, and which was found to have 32 parts, 18 of  gold, 6 of silver, and 8 of copper.”
—Raccolta, PARTE I, VOL. I
“African guanines were always alloys of gold containing copper for the sake of its odor, for it seems that the negroes like to smell their wealth. The guanines brought home by Columbus were assayed in Spain and were found to contain the same ratio of alloy as those in African Guinea.”
—Frederick Pohl, Amerigo Vespucci, Pilot Major (5)
“Islamic historians have recorded histories of voyages west from Mali in West Africa around 1311, during the reign of Mansa Bakari II. (5)
“Columbus’s son Ferdinand, who accompanied the admiral on his third voyage, reports that people they met or heard about in present-day eastern Honduras “are almost black in color” (4). The first Europeans to reach present-day Panama—Balboa and company—reported seeing black slaves in an Indian town. The Indians said they captured them form a nearby black community. (4) Oral history from present-day Afro-Mexicans contains tales of pre-Columbian crossings from West Africa.
“Traces of diseases common in West Africa have been detected in pre-Columbian corpses. (5)
In all, then, data from diverse sources suggest that pre-Columbian voyages from West Africa to America were possible.” (5)
Europeans were not the only ones to set foot on the shores of the New World.
Near the conclusion of his monumental work, “They Came Before Columbus”, the author Ivan Van Sertima states:
“It would be an irony, indeed, to find that Americans (Native peoples of the New World) “discovered” Europe many centuries before Europeans “discovered” America. But the whole notion of any race (European, African or American) discovering a full-blown civilization is absurd. Such notions should now be abandoned once and for all. They presume some innate superiority in the “discoverer” and something inferior and barbaric in the people “discovered”. These notions run through the works even of the pioneers like Weiner, Cauvet and Jeffreys. What I have sought to prove is not that Africans “discovered” America, but that they made CONTACT [my emphasis] on at least half a dozen occasions, two of which were culturally significant for Americans.
“The African presence in America before Columbus is of importance not only to African and American history but to the history of world civilizatons. It provides further evidence that all great civilizations and races are heavily indebted to each other and that no race has a monopoly of enterprise and inventive genius. The African presence is proven by stone heads, terra cottas, skeletons, artifacts, techniques and inscriptions, by oral traditions and documented history, by botanical, linguistic and cultural data.
“When feasibility of African crossings of the Atlantic was not proven and the archealogical evidence undated and unknown, we could in all innocence ignore the most startling of coincidences. This is no longer possible. The case for African contacts with pre-Columbian America, in spite of a number of understandable gaps and a few minor elements of contestable data, is no longer based on the fanciful conjecture and speculation of romantics. It is grounded now upon an overwhelming and growing body of reliable witnesses. Using [Dr. Rhine's] dictum for phenomena that were once questionable but are now being empirically confirmed, truly it may be said:
. . . . the overwhelming incidence of coincidence argues overwhelmingly against a mere coincidence.”  (5)
It still remains that Columbus, and those conquerors who came after him, did more harm than good towards the native people of the New World (directly) and the black people of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade (indirectly).
Many people left their impact on the New World.
And if the history of Columbus is taught in schools, all of it must be taught. No more sugar-coating the horrible legacy of Christopher Columbus.
The good with the bad.
And the history of the native peoples of America and black Americans.
They had just as much a part in the building of this country.
And there is room enough in the history books for all to be included, before the Mayflower/Amistad, and after the Mayflower/Amistad:
Black, Native and European.
REFERENCES:
1. “The Log of Christopher Columbus’s First Voyage to America in the Year 1492″, as copied by Bartolomeo de Las Casas (Hamden, Conn.: Linnet 1989)
2. Peter Martyr “De Orbe Novo” (1516) as quoted in “Lost Tribes and Promised Lands: The Origins of American Racism”, by Ronald Sanders (Boston: Little, Brown), 1978.
3. Bartolomeo de Las Casas, “Histories of the Indies”, quoted in “Documents of West Indian History”, by Eric Williams (Port-of-Spain, Trinidad: PNM), 1963.
4. “The Conquest of Paradise”, by Kirkpatrick Sale (New York, Alfred Knopf), 1990.
5. “They Came Before Columbus”, by Ivan Van Sertima, (Random House), 1976.
6. Works by and About Columbus:  SOURCE
REVISION: The above primary sources noted (1-5), are from the following book:
*
3.9 out of 5 stars (383)
 
 
Chapter 2: “1493: The True Importance of Columbus”, pgs. 29-65.
AUDIO/VIDEO LINKS:
 
 
REFERENCES:
 
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12 Comments

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12 responses to “IN 1492, COLUMBUS SAILED THE OCEAN BLUE

  1. star struck

    nice post

  2. topaz

    i love thisit is soooooooooooooooo true!

    WOW!

  3. Pingback: BLACK HISTORY MONTH: AFRO-MEXICANS « BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

  4. Cartier

    Good post…Thank you for the new knowledge.Thank you very much.

  5. Ian M. Stewart

    Excellent post.

    I am a high school teacher in the Bronx and make sure that my students are exposed to the whole spectrum of the Columbus mythology. For those who would like to learn more, the excellent book “Lies My Teacher Told Me” by James Loewen dedicates an entire chapter to this issue.

    The issue of the lies of history deserves everyone’s attention, but please cite the source you unknowingly omitted. The importance of your message deserves as much.

    • Ann

      Thank you bringing this to my attention. I cited the primary sources and through my error neglected to cite Mr. Loewen’s excellent book. I have revised and noted his book in my post.

  6. I stumbled upon this post and enjoyed reading your thoughts on this subject. I have never liked Columbus Day. I browsed through some of your other posts and I’m hoping a white girl from Utah is welcome to hear your point of view on life. :)

    • I AM ON FACEBOOK (HENRY VILLALOBOS) VISIT ME ON FB TO LEARN MORE! I HAVE A LOT OF HISTORY THAT GOES BACK 6000 YEARS AGO IN THE PRESENT-DAY AMERICAS! I WELCOME YOU ALL AS FRIENDS AND HUMAN BEINGS, WE ARE ALL THE SAME!!!!

  7. THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS AND THE CHINESE ARRIVED IN THE PRESENT-DAY AMERICAS THOUSANDS OF YEARS BEFORE THE EUROPEANS.

    WE CAN PROVE ALL THIS HISTORY IN FEDERAL COURT AND IN THE WORLD COURT.

    HENRY GUZMAN VILLALOBOS(AZTEC-YAQUI-CHINESE-JAPANESE) FREELANCE WRITER/RESEARCHER/FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF NATIVE AMERICAN INDIANS OF THE AMERICAS COMMITTEE.

    SOURCE: NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITY FROM THE U.S.A. & MEXICO, AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY, CHINESE-AMERICAN COMMUNITY, EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, JAPANESE-AMERICAN COMMUNITY, MEXICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY

  8. John Crowley

    Frankly, Christopher Columbus remains the hero he has always and rightfully been. An ever increasing number of people are rejecting the historical revisionism of contemporary American “academia”.

  9. HENRY GUZMAN VILLALOBOS

    THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT IN NORTH AMERICA LED MEXICO 173 YEARS AGO. HIS NAME WAS VICENTE GUERRERO- A DECORATED REVOLUTIONARY HERO-HELPED WRITE THE MEXICAN CONSTITUTION. THE DESCENDANTS OF THE AFRICANS IN MEXICO, ARE NOW CALLED AFRO-MEXICANS. MANY PEOPLE ARE NOT AWARE OF THE AFRO- MEXICANS IN MEXICO IN 2013. YES, SOME MEXICANS FROM MEXICO AND THE U.S.A., ARE PART AFRICANS!!!! WE OPEN-MINDED MEXICAN NATIVE AMERICANS, ARE REWRITING OUR HISTORY. WE DO NOT WANT THE EUROPEAN AMERICANS TO WRITE OUR HISTORY ANYMORE. WE KNOW OUR NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN ROOTS AND NATIVE HISTORY. ALSO, MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE PART NATIVE AMERICAN ‘INDIANS”!!!!

    HENRY GUZMAN VILLALOBOS(AZTEC YAQUI NATIVE AMERICAN) FREELANCE INTERNATIONAL WRITER.

  10. AT THE PRESENT-DAY, THE DESCENDANTS OF THE AFRICANS IN MEXICO, ARE CALLED AFRO- MEXICANS! THE FIRST “BLACK” PRESIDENT IN NORTH AMERICA LED MEXICO 173 YEARS AGO. HIS NAME WAS VICENTE GUERRERO. THE AFRICANS HAVE BEEN IN THE PRESENT-DAY MEXICO AND IN ALL THE AMERICAS FOR 6000 YEARS. MANY AFRO-MEXICANS AND AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE PART NATIVE AMERICAN “INDIANS”.

    HENRY GUZMAN VILLALOBOS(AZTEC NATIVE AMERICAN “INDIAN”.) FREELANCE INTERNATIONAL WRITER. 2013

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