Wednesday, November 3, 2021

"Genoan Monk Mentioned America" or "Italians Knew About America 150 Years Before Columbus" Debunked

It is sad how many people share “news” links based on the headline, without taking the time to read the article. Many times the article contradicts the headline because it is just clickbait, or as in this case, a reflection of the ignorance of the publisher. This year (2021) we have several headlines circulating the news claiming that “Italians knew about America long before Columbus...” NY Post

Another headline was “Ancient Documents Suggest Italian Sailors Knew of America 150 Years Before Christopher Columbus.” SciTechDaily

Or that “The First Mention of America” was made in 1340. (Taylor & Francis Online). Taylor & Francis Online

The headlines above are a reference to an unfinished unpublished book by a Genoan monk named Galvaneus Flamma (14th century) where Markland (Marckalada) is mentioned. Markland is supposed to be somewhere in North America. This document was “recently” found (2015) by a professor of Medieval history named Paolo Chiesa.

Here are the reasons why the headlines are ALL incorrect: America is NOT mentioned by the monk in 1340, nor by anyone else before him, because Amerigo Vespucci (where the name “America” comes from) was a contemporary of Columbus and not of Galvaneus. 

If by America what they mean is Markland, then the headline is incorrect since Markland is not the “old” name for America. The name of Markland was not new either since it was mentioned in several sagas, like the “Saga of Erik the Red” (written in the 13th century).

If what they mean by “America” is the knowledge that there is a continent in between Europe and Asia, then the headline is incorrect again, since Galvaneus did not make such a claim. 

All this is evidence that people don’t understand Columbus’ discoveries, so let me explain. But first, let’s take a look at the claims made by Galvaneus, the Genoan monk. 

I’m writing the following under the premise and assumption that there is no forgery on this Genoan document. The reason for mentioning this is because many elaborate hoaxes have been used in the past (and in recent years), trying to discredit Columbus. I wrote an entire chapter on this subject in my third book “Christopher Columbus and the Christian Church” titled, “Hoaxes, Forgeries and Crimes.”

One of the articles above, written by Taylor and Francis Online, contains excerpts from Galvaneus’ account known as “Cronica universalis.”  The account doesn’t contradict Columbus at all, but confirms what we already knew about the subject. For example, the Cronica mentions Marco Polo, whom Columbus was inspired after. Marco Polo’s accounts are about the Indies, or Asia, the east side of the world. Then the Cronica talks about the west side of the globe, when it mentions Yslandia (Iceland) and Grolandia (Greenland). The Cronica does not mention anything of another continent in between Asia and Europe. Though it mentions “Marckalada” [Markland], which it’s believed to be in North America today, the article acknowledges “the news about” it was vague, nothing “for sure.” In fact, the ancient cosmographers did not know that there was a continent in between Asia and Europe. Maps ended with Iceland and Greenland which they called “Tile” or “Thule.” Cartographers added imaginary islands on maps in this area because, as stated and confirmed by Galvaneus, “no sailor was ever able to know anything for sure about this land or about its features.”

Columbus himself had visited Tile (Iceland) 15 years before his discoveries. He wrote, “In the month of February, 1477, I sailed one hundred leagues beyond the island of Tile [Iceland]...” Source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, Chapter 4, p. 11.

The only “new” thing here is that Markland is mentioned in the Cronica. But even that is not new either, since the article acknowledges Markland was mentioned by the aforementioned Icelandic sagas. What the article finds “exceptional” is that Markland is mentioned here, outside a Nordic saga.

Though I discussed it many times before (in books, blogs and videos), I’m forced to repeat myself here to explain the difference between Columbus and the “Vikings,” or Norsemen (the explorers of the Nordic sagas):

The Norsemen were not trying to reach the Indies, or Asia, as Columbus intended. When one looks at a world map, one will see that on the north side of the globe there are many lands in between Europe and America. That includes England, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland. People believed that after Thule (Iceland/ Greenland) there was nothing but water. All the Norsemen did was what everyone else had done before them: Sail from land to land. Land that is close to each other. They sailed from the continent to England, to Ireland, to Iceland, till one day one of them, Erik the Red, found Greenland, which is next to Iceland. They lived there, which was where the maps ended. Later, as some of them were returning to Greenland, the waves took them further to the lands next door, which are part of North America. Source: The Saga of Eirik the Red, pp. 23-24.

They never thought they were on the Indies or in a continent in between. According to scholar Paolo Emilio Taviani, “Greenland and lands beyond were for them simply other lands of Europe.” Source: The Grand Design by Taviani, p. 90.

As for Columbus, he intended to pass Thule until he reached the Indies (Asia). But unlike the Norsemen, he left from the center/ south side of the globe, where there are no close lands to make stops, as one can do on the north. He literally sailed into the unknown. The sea route was known as “the Sea of Darkness.” His sailors initially rigged twice one of the ships; they wept when they could not see the land anymore; they complained every day; they threatened Columbus’ life a few times, but in the end they reached land because he was right. 

If sailors knew that America was close, why did they give Columbus a hard time? 

We all know that Spain helped Columbus with his enterprise. But most people don’t know he had lived in Portugal and made his first request to fund his enterprise there. Portugal denied his request and ridiculed him. Columbus moved to Spain where he was ridiculed again. Some people think he also requested Genoa for assistance, but they also said “no” to him. Columbus sent his brother Bartholomew to lobby for him in England. After waiting for seven years for a response, Spain denied Columbus as well, so he made his way to France when the Queen of Spain had a change of heart and sent for him to return. 

The point here is that if people knew about “America,” why then did Columbus have a hard time getting support and received so much ridicule instead? Why did Portugal deny him help when Portugal was the leading force of discovery during Columbus’ residence there? Why did England not respond to his brother right away? If “Italian sailors knew about America” before Columbus, why did Genoa not help him? If people knew about America, why then did the Spanish council mock Columbus and tell him there was no land (or people) where he wanted to go?

Someone might say that “perhaps Columbus knew about America because of the Genoan monk and his Cronica.” That would be a conspiracy theory and not history. Besides, Galvaneus’ Cronica was unfinished and unpublished. Again, that is assuming the Cronica is not a hoax. As for the Nordic sagas, Columbus never mentioned them, nor did he need them since they never claimed the Norsemen were trying to reach the Indies, nor that they did, or that they found a “new” continent. Columbus’ ideas were based on the great cosmographers of the past, including Ptolemy, Pliny, Marinus, Aristotle, Strabo, Pierre d’Ailly, Capitolinus, etc. They all either believed that the Earth was smaller than it is, and/ or that Indies were not far from Spain or Europe. There was also a contemporary cosmographer named Toscanelli who had written to Columbus saying the same. Source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, Chapters 6-8. 

The “professionals” who made fun of Columbus seem not to be aware of this kind of information. They also have their share of myths and unproven hypotheses. It was Columbus who took the risk against all odds. Once he proved that it was safe to sail west, other explorers followed and finished the maps he started. This eventually led to the realization that Columbus’ discoveries were bigger than anyone thought; and here we are today.

Before someone makes the usual snarky comment that “Columbus discovered an insignificant island in the Caribbean:” He actually explored most, if not all, of the Caribbean, and he later reached and explored the continent in Central and South America. North America was reached due to him, when England heard of his success. In addition, one of his men (Juan Ponce de Leon) explored Florida in North America.

I would suggest the readers to read Columbus’ primary sources to see and understand more of what people believed about cosmography at the time. “The Life of the Admiral” by Ferdinand Columbus is a good start. My books go into great depth on this subject as well. 

As we can see, real history is more complex than people may think today. Many people are not reading history,  but guessing “history,” making conclusions based on modern-day perceptions. 

In summary, there is no document claiming or proving that people knew that “America” existed before Columbus. That is fake news. It is just clickbait rooted in misunderstanding, error, and sensationalism.

#GenoanMonk #GalvaneusFlamma #Markland #AmericaBeforeColumbus

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Book Review on the Bobadilla's Report


If you haven’t read any of my blogs, you should read this one, since it’s about the book of the so-called "lost document" from the 16th century that historians found claiming Columbus was a "tyrant" toward the Spanish colonists. This news went viral and it is the “source” used by many mainstream historical, biographical and educational websites to support that claim. The book is titled La Caída de Cristóbal Colón: El juicio de Bobadilla ("The fall of Christopher Columbus: The Judgement of Bobadilla") by Consuelo Varela. The book is divided into two parts. The first one, the author gives some context on the circumstances where the document was written, and the author tells us what’s in it. The second part of the book is the transcription (made by Isabel Aguirre) of the actual report. 

The original report, or document, was written by Francisco de Bobadilla, whom the King and Queen of Spain had sent to Hispaniola to investigate complaints that Spanish colonists were making against Columbus and his brothers during the third voyage. The report is a copy of the original, and it’s 25 "folios" or pages long. The first page is missing. 

Twenty-two "witnesses" answered the questions by Bobadilla, which were divided into three questions: 

1. Did Columbus plan to attack the investigator (Bobadilla) when he arrived, with an army of Spaniard colonists and natives?  

2. Did Columbus and his brothers stop the evangelization of the natives? 

3. Was Columbus and his brothers unjust toward the colonists?

There is a second part to the report at the end, which is ten pages long, and it’s a summary of the last question.

Though it’s fascinating to read a historical document, this one is no different than if someone found a historical document authored by those who hated and aimed to smear Jesus Christ. We know the story, and we know the accusations are false, but it would be an interesting read. So, it is with Columbus: We know the story, we know the accusations are false, we know Bobadilla arrested Columbus and his brothers without due process and sent them in chains to Spain. We also know the King and the Queen of Spain cleared Columbus and his brothers of the charges because they did not believe the accusations. Instead, they sent another investigator to investigate Bobadilla, who then was justly removed from the governorship’s office. As for the "witnesses," who were engaged in rebellion, they were sentenced for mutiny. Source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, Ch. 86.

I can’t believe that the author, being a historian who had read the very same Spanish primary sources that I have read, believes the report. Even though she acknowledges that the accusations by the colonists were fueled by malice, hate, and envy. She even admitted that Bobadilla was excessive in his behavior and that most of the colonists were cheats and hoodlums. 

Now, let’s take a quick look at the three questions on the Bobadilla report: 

Question 1. Did Columbus plan to attack Bobadilla when he arrived in Hispaniola? 

Answer: There is no primary source that says such a thing. In fact, Columbus and his brothers acted very civil with Bobadilla. (Source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, Ch. 86, pp. 222-223). But assuming this was true, it should not be surprising that Columbus would prepare a preemptive attack or a defense against a political coup. Prior to this episode, Columbus suffered several political coups and coup attempts from different people. The last agitator was Alonso de Hojeda, who made a stop at Hispaniola to harass Columbus telling him the queen was "at the point of death." Source: Select Letters of Christopher Columbus, p. 156.

The innuendo here was that Columbus’ only supporter in the court was about to die, thus he would be without any political protection of his titles and privileges. According to the Bobadilla report, Columbus’ Spanish servants compared Bobadilla to Hojeda. However, Columbus learned that the queen indeed had sent Bobadilla to meet with him. Columbus wrote, "When I heard this, I thought he [Bobadilla] must be like Hojeda, or one of the other rebels; but I held my peace, when I learned for certain, from the friars, that he had been sent by their Highness…" Select Letters, p. 161.

Whether this first claim was true or not (that Columbus planned an attack), we know Columbus received Bobadilla peacefully.

Question 2: Did Columbus stop the evangelization of the natives in Hispaniola? 

Answer: Anyone who has read Columbus’ letters or read from those who knew him, will see that he was a very devoted Christian. He is the reason why Christianity is here in the New World. It was one of his main goals for his journeys, therefore this claim is ridiculous. Also, the "witnesses'' contradicted themselves when they said Columbus required one to have a license to evangelize the natives. In other words, he was not stopping the spread of the gospel. What happened was that, according to the Bobadilla report, the natives wanted to "become Christians" in order to receive the gifts that Columbus often gave away to them. All that Columbus wanted was to make sure that the natives really understood what Christianity really meant.

Question 3: Were Columbus and his brothers unjust and cruel toward the colonists?

Answer: This is where we get that Columbus and his brothers were indiscriminately punishing colonists by cutting off their "ears and noses, parading women naked through the streets and selling them into slavery." That one "man caught stealing corn had his nose and ears cut off, was placed in shackles and was then auctioned off as a slave. A woman who dared to suggest that Columbus was of lowly birth was punished by his brother Bartolomé… was stripped naked and paraded around the colony on the back of a mule… Bartolomé ordered that her tongue be cut out… Christopher congratulated him for defending the family."

According to the Guardian (where the citations above comes from, quoting from Consuelo Varela’s book), "... the Spanish monarchs... became worried by growing rumours of Columbus’ barbarity and avarice." The irony is that neither Consuelo, nor the Guardian, said anything of the Spanish Inquisition. Was that barbaric too? Or is this a case of selective moral outrage?

One of the tactics that Columbus detractors often use is to remove him from the historical context he lived in. During this era some crimes were indeed punished with torture, cutting ears, noses, floggings, hangings. By the way, the natives used the same, similar, or worse punishments for their criminals. The question here is not if Columbus punished people, but if the people he punished were innocent or guilty of crimes. The claim from the colonists on the report was that Columbus was punishing them for "cosas livianas" or "little things." Was it? The answer is no.

This group of colonists were mutineers and rebels who disobeyed Columbus’ orders to respect their native neighbors, who were his allies. They harassed, assaulted, murdered and raped natives just because they could. The queen herself had ordered Columbus to severely punish any person or persons who would mistreat them. Source: Journals and Other Documents on the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus by Morison, p. 204. 

All Columbus did was to follow instructions. He punished them according to the laws of the time. According to the primary sources, some of them were flogged, others were hung for mutiny and high crimes. Source: Historia General de las Indias by Gómara, Cap. XX, p. 56. Historia General by Herrera, D. I, Lib. IV, Cap. VIII, p. 110.

No primary source says anything of women’s tongue being cut off by Columbus’ brother. This must be one of the charges Columbus referred to in a letter to a friend (Juana de las Torres) as "never invented in hell," meaning, not even hell would invent such accusations. Source: Select Letters, p. 163. 

The mutineers were just trying to minimize their own actions on the report by pleading a lesser crime, like stealing corn just because they were hungry, and so forth. If you have any doubts, this kind of abusive behavior intensified after Columbus was out of office, where many colonists commit all sorts of atrocities, marking a dark chapter in history. Just read A Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies by Fray Bartolome de las Casas and you will see. I would suggest as well reading my books Christopher Columbus The Hero and Christopher Columbus and the Christian Church since some people have and keep misusing Las Casas’ quotes for propaganda purposes.

In the meantime, I’m planning to write a book (2021?) on the Bobadilla report, with all the details that I can’t use here due to space; otherwise this post would be too long. Details like the specific names of the “witnesses,” their specific claims, contradictions, unintended admissions, since the more they talked, the more they incriminated themselves with non "cosas livianas." 
To conclude, the people who were cruel here, were the mutineer colonists and not Columbus or his brothers. Columbus and his brothers were just protecting their Taino allies and punishing those who mistreated them. The Bobadilla report is full of half-truths, innuendos, double-talking, slanders, lies, etc. As for Consuelo’s book, I will give it a three-star rating just because the transcription of the document carries great historical interest. 

#ConsueloVarela #IsabelAguirre #LaCaidaDeCristobalColon #BookReview #Debunking #FranciscoDeBobadilla


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Debunking Vox's Arguments Against Columbus

You can read "9 reasons Christopher Columbus was a murderer, tyrant, and scoundrel" right here:

Though it’s becoming tiresome, I felt the need to debunk Vox’s claims, even though some are the same arguments revisionists often use. Like the first point (Columbus kidnapped a Carib woman and gave her to a crew member to rape), which I won’t address here because I already wrote about it in another article which you can read here:

Vox uses the claims from non-primary sources, or they use selected quotes from primary sources, but quoted by non-primary sources. This is no different than an atheist activist misquoting the Bible to Christians to prove there is no God. As usual, one of their “sources” is Howard Zinn, but this time they upgraded to include people like Laurence Bergreen, Benjamin Keen, and websites like the Oatmeal and Jacobin. Still, none of them are primary sources.

Vox’ second point (On Hispaniola, a member of Columbus's crew publicly cut off an Indian's ears to shock others into submission) is totally distorted. First of all, the “attack by more than 2,000 Indians” is vague. Second, though Columbus sentenced three natives to death, he ended up not killing them, but instead, he gave them a pardon. Funny how that was omitted. Also, the reason why Ojeda cut the ear of one of them was not because he, or the other two, refused to help them “fording a stream,” but because they stole some items, refused to return them, and their chief refused to punish them. Instead, the chief kept the stolen items to himself. Primary source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, ch. 53.

Cutting ears was the way theft was punished back then in different cultures. In the case of these Tainos, they punished theft, even petty theft, by impaling the thief. Another detail omitted by Vox. Primary source: Historia General by Oviedo, Lib. V, Cap. III, p. 139.

Point number 3 (Columbus kidnapped and enslaved more than a thousand people on Hispaniola) is false and convoluted. Columbus did not kidnap natives to enslave them. Enslaving people for no reason (as Vox is implying) was unlawful. Columbus made a treaty with a chief (Guacanagari) in Hispaniola to protect him from his enemies, including the Caribs. The Caribs were cannibals who were terrorizing the Caribbean, enslaving, killing, and sometimes wiping out entire islands of its inhabitants. Primary source: The Life of the Admiral, Chapter 24 through the end of the book.

These, and the enemies of his ally chief, were the only ones he was allowed to enslaved, and the slavery was temporary and suspended when Columbus was out of office. Not to mention that slavery was common and universal during this era and the natives were no exception to the rule.

Point number 4, goes together with the aforementioned. The payment of gold was a tribute, and paying tribute during this era was common as well. The “token” they were to wear was not a “symbol of shame” either, but rather their receipt that proved they paid the tribute. Fray Las Casas, who was the defender of the natives' rights, said the punishment for not paying the tribute was a “moderate” one. If the punishment was death, he would have not called it “moderate.” Primary source: Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Tomo II, Libro I, Capítulo CV, p. 102.

Point number 5 (About 50,000 Indians committed mass suicide rather than comply with the Spanish) is false. Some of the enemies of chief Guacanagari, Columbus’ ally, destroyed the fields of Hispaniola so they could kill the Spaniards with starvation. As primary source, Peter Martyr says, this was “foolish” because though it killed many Spaniards, it also killed many natives. Martyr is the primary source. Not Bergreen. Primary source: De Orbe Novo by Martyr, p. 108.

Vox’s point number 6 is titled: 56 years after Columbus's first voyage, only 500 out of 300,000 Indians remained on Hispaniola. That is ridiculous. Notice how Vox magically increased the number of death, from 50,000 (in point 5 above) to 100,000. In addition, Columbus was out of office in Hispaniola in 1500 and he died 14 years after his discovery in 1492. The part that is true, is that some Spaniards abused many natives behind the backs of their Majesties in Spain AFTER Columbus was out of office. As long as Columbus lived, he was able to punish those who would abuse the natives in any way, as ordered by the queen herself. This goes together with Vox’s next point, number 7: Columbus was also horrible to the Spanish under his rule.

That accusation was made up by Columbus’ political enemies in order to remove him from office. Charges like Columbus torturing the Spaniards or punishing them for no reason were false. No one believed the charges. Not the king, or the queen. In fact, Columbus was never tried on any of these charges and his accusers were arrested for mutiny. Fray Las Casas even said that if the accusations were true (that Columbus was mistreating the Spaniards) they deserved those punishments since they were the ones mistreating the natives instead. Not the other way around. Primary source: Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Tomo II, Libro I, Capítulo CLXXXIII, pp. 513-514. 

Not only that, but Vox's reference (from Bergreen’s book) is incorrect. Bergreen’s quote is not from pages 315-316, but pages 284-285.


Point number 8 (Settlers under Columbus sold 9- and 10-year-old girls into sexual slavery) is debunked here:

Point number 9 (Indian slaves were beheaded when their Spanish captors couldn't be bothered to untie them) is one of the many false accusations revisionists attribute to Columbus when the act was done by someone else, and/ or Columbus was out of office or was already dead. 

Vox quotes from Benjamin Keen, a historian from the 20th century, on how the Spanish chained the natives by the neck. But even Bergreen (page 214) acknowledged (as he quotes from Fray Las Casas) that the natives were not that innocent since they were slaveholders (long before European contact) who branded their slaves or broke their teeth as a mark of ownership. Columbus himself witnessed the natives carrying their naked slaves with ropes around their necks. Vox is silent about it. Primary source: De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr, The Third Decade, Book IV, p. 317.

All this without mentioning how some Indigenous peoples, like the Aztecs, mutilated, tortured, dismembered, killed, and ate their slaves for human sacrifices to their gods.

Though Vox “upgraded” to use (mostly) Bergreen as a “source” for this article, they keep doing what revisionists always do: That is, to accuse Columbus of things he never committed, sometimes in places and timelines of history he did not live, or distorting the facts, or omitting important details and historical context with the intention to create false narratives. 

If you want to learn the real story of Columbus, I will suggest to read primary sources instead and skip the modern-day revisions. “The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by his son Ferdinand” is a good start.

#Vox #DebunkingVox #Columbus

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Cristóbal Colón Sí Descubrió América- Respondiendo a El Financiero

Este es mi primer artículo en español. No es necesariamente un ataque a "El Financiero” o a el autor de “Cristóbal Colón no descubrió América”.  Sino, una simple respuesta a las falacias que se encuentra en él.

No culpo al autor ni al website, porque este tipo de ataque anti colombino se encuentra por ahí en todas partes. Así que empecemos a aclarar y a poner algunas cosas en su sitio:

Primero que nada, la palabra “descubrimiento” nunca significó “la primera persona en encontrar tierra desolada” en el contexto histórico de Colón. Él ya sabía que había gente aquí porque su propósito era llevar el evangelio de Cristo y establecer una ruta nueva para el comercio entre naciones. En otras palabras, el verbo “descubrir,” en el contexto colombino, siempre incluyó las tierras con gente en ellas. 

Colón tampoco estaba buscando ser el primer europeo en alcanzar las Indias. Colón estaba inspirado por otro explorador europeo llamado Marco Polo, quien ya las había alcanzado. Una de las razones porque decimos que Colón descubrió América, es precisamente porque él no estaba en las Indias, sino en un continente que el Viejo Mundo no sabía que existía. 

No se llamaba “América” hasta algunos años después que fue descubierta por Colón. América está en los mapas hoy a causa de las exploraciones iniciadas por Colón. El descubrimiento no fue sólo para España, Europa o el Viejo Mundo, sino para el mundo y la historia, incluyendo la historia de los indígenas. La mayoría de los pueblos indígenas no tenían historia escrita. Bien pocos (como los aztecas) tenían algo similar a los jeroglíficos egipcios. Mucho de lo que sabemos hoy de ellos es porque los exploradores europeos escribieron de ellos. La razón por la que sabemos que había indígenas con “conocimientos de medicina, ingeniería hidráulica, agricultura, astronomía”, etc, es porque los exploradores europeos escribieron de esto para generaciones futuras.  

La humanidad de los indígenas tampoco fue ignorada. Si así hubiera sido, Colon no hubiera pensado en traerles el evangelio de Cristo. Nuestra raza hispana viene por causa de la union de europeos con indigenas y negros. Colón vino a unir, y no a dividir, como los propagandistas anti colombinos hacen.

El autor menciona de una campaña militar que Colón estuvo envuelto en La Española, donde alguno de los derrotados fueron vendidos como esclavos. Lo que el autor no menciona es que la pocas batallas que Colón estuvo envuelto, fueron a la solicitud de otras tribus que estaban aliados con él para derrotar tribus enemigas.

El autor concluye con los conquistadores que vinieron después de Colon, apropiandose de riquezas, cometiendo genocidio y difamando a los indigenas como “salvajes”. Pero eso es falso. Contrario a lo que algunos piensan, América antes de 1492 no era el “Jardín del Edén”. El autor omite que muchas de las batallas hechas por los conquistadores, y los europeos subsecuentes, fueron hechas a la solicitud y con la asistencia de tribus indígenas aliadas con los europeos. Muchos grupos indígenas también estaban envueltos en canibalismo y sacrificios humanos, lo cual está confirmado por los indígenas mismos, incluyendo evidencia arqueológica. Si eso no es salvajismo y genocidio, entonces no se lo que es. El problema que tenemos es que estos autores anti colombinos son bien parciales en como nos cuenta la historia. “Mira esto, pero no mires lo otro.” Se pasan quejándose de los sentimientos “eurocentristas” mientras escriben en español, lo cual es un idioma de Europa. Estos malagradecidos no saben que hoy están en América por causa de Cristóbal Colón y su descubrimiento en 1492.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Debunking Ted Ed's History v. Columbus YouTube Video


A few years ago Ted-Ed made a video about Columbus titled "History vs. Columbus" ( Above is our video response and here is the transcript of it:

"Ted-Ed should rename their video 'History vs. Columbus' as 'Propaganda vs. Columbus' since the information on their video is false. Indeed, Columbus convinced the King and Queen of Spain to send him on a mission to find a better trade route, but not to India, but to the Indies, which was another name at the time for east Asia. And yes, people mocked Columbus, believing in a number of myths, including, that it was impossible to reach the other side, or that it would take many years to do so. Others believed there was not inhabited land, while others believed if he was to reach the Indies he could not return because going west meant he would go downhill, out of the hemisphere, and he would have to return uphill, which is something ships could not do. Though most people believed the Earth was round, the shape of the planet was not settled either. 16th-century historian, López de Gómara, wrote that many people thought the Earth was round, but in the shape of an egg, pineapple, or, a pear. They also believed the Earth was the center of the universe. Contrary to what Ted-Ed claims, Columbus did not torture and mutilate natives for not bringing him enough gold, and he did not sell children into sexual slavery. Columbus wasn’t brutal with the colonists either, nor was he removed from office for that reason. Columbus was not “bad” by modern or old standards. In fact, the missionary Bartolome de las Casas, described Columbus as a hero, and he said Columbus “was a good Christian.” Las Casas also defended Columbus’ honor from those who wanted to discredit his discoveries. Columbus did not bring slavery and imperialism since slavery was universal and Indigenous groups like the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas were imperialistic. Columbus did not cause the suffering of today’s Indigenous peoples either. Poverty and discrimination existed everywhere before Columbus, during Columbus’ lifetime, and after Columbus was dead. Ted-Ed falsely claims Indigenous tribal warfare was “sporadic and limited,” and that “certainly did not wipe out 90% of the population.” Actually, the Caribs, who were the enemies of the Tainos, wiped out 100% of the natives of some islands in the Caribbean, and Indigenous peoples like the Aztecs, sacrificed thousands of their own people, including women, children, babies, elderly, and other innocent human beings, to their gods. Though some Hispanic countries celebrate “El Día de la Raza,” the Hispanic race came as a result of Columbus bringing two worlds together. In other words, no Columbus, no raza, or Hispanic race. In the USA Columbus Day is being renamed as Indigenous Peoples’ Day due to anti-Columbus propaganda even though there are already several Indigenous Peoples holiday dates on the calendar. First, in August, known as the “International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.” Second, in November, observed the Friday after Thanksgiving, known as “Native American Heritage Day.” In addition, November is known as “Native American Heritage Month.” If Columbus Day represents slavery, conquest and genocide, then by the same logic Indigenous Peoples’ Day represents the same, since they were doing the same, with the addition of cannibalism and human sacrifice. If Columbus is a “villain” today, it is not because “our historical knowledge expanded,” as Ted-Ed claims, but because people are lying and repeating lies about him. Finally, Ted-Ed stated that “traditions and holidays are important to ALL cultures.” But that is not true since they want to replace a tradition and a holiday by discriminating against the Italian American community who lobbied for the holiday.

#ColumbusDay #IndigenousPeoplesDay #BartolomeDeLasCasas #ItalianAmerican #TedEd #HistoryVsColumbus 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Debunking "Top 5 Atrocities Committed by Christopher Columbus"

This so-called Top 5 atrocities committed by Christopher Columbus is being used by some people on the internet. Apparently the article is affiliated with the Associated Press somehow. The first thing to notice is that the source for the article is Howard Zinn, who was not a primary historical source, but a history revisionist of the 20th century. Zinn’s arguments have gained popularity lately due to his connections with Hollywood celebrities and many mainstream media outlets before he died. 

When it comes to Columbus, Zinn had the bad habit of putting two or more sentences together that have nothing to do with each other, to make it say whatever he wanted you to think it says. That’s what he did for ALL the claims below. So let’s take a closer look at his arguments and then debunk them.

'We could subjugate them all'

Here is Zinn (mis)quoting Columbus:

“They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things ... They willingly traded everything they owned ... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane. ... They would make fine servants. ... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” Columbus would add: “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.”

Zinn wants to give the impression the natives received Columbus with presents (“They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things.”), but it was Columbus who gave them presents instead. Because of Columbus’s generosity, they later returned with gifts and things for trade. Here is the actual account:

“Soon many of the islanders gathered round us. I could see that they were people who would be more easily converted to our Holy Faith by love than by coercion, and wishing them to look on us with friendship I gave some of them red bonnets and glass beads which they hung round their necks, and many other things of small value, at which they were so delighted and so eager to please us that we could not believe it. Later they swam out to the boats to bring us parrots and balls of cotton thread and darts, and many other things, exchanging them for such objects as glass beads and hawk bells. They took anything, and gave willingly whatever they had.” Source: Columbus’ Own Journal translated by John Cummins, Friday, October 12, 1492, p. 94. (Emphases are mine).

When Columbus said the natives “do not bear arms,” he meant they did not have a European style of arms. But they did have weapons, and also “scars on their bodies” because “people from other islands nearby came to capture them and they defended themselves.” Source: Own Journal translated by John Cummins, Friday, October 12, 1492, p. 94.

Also, Columbus did not say the natives “would make good servants.” That’s a lie. Columbus said they “MUST BE good servants,” as one who served a king, and not one who is a slave. Here is the sentence: “They must be good servants, and intelligent, for I can see that they quickly repeat everything said to them. I believe they would readily become Christians.” Source: Columbus Own Journal translated by John Cummins, Friday, October 12, 1492, p. 94.

The natives had both servants and slaves.

As for the statement “With fifty men we could subjugate them all,” it was written 3 days later, on another island and under another context. Zinn added that sentence next to the “servants” quote to give the impression Columbus was thinking about slavery from the very first day he arrived to America. So, what does the “with fifty men” statement mean? Columbus perceived the natives of the first islands he visited were not skillful in battle, therefore he was assuring the queen, to whom his journal was addressed to, that he could defeat them or conquer them with just a few men IF he had to fight them. That’s all he meant. 

Though Columbus initially took six or seven natives against their will (to help him travel the uncharted waters), he almost immediately changed the approach, when one of them escaped. He decided to take a native aboard, give him gifts, and then let him go. That way he was telling them his intentions were good. Remember, Columbus did not know their language, and the natives did not know his. Here is the account:
 “By now another small almadia was approaching the Niña from a different headland with one man in it who had come to barter a ball of cotton. He did not want to come aboard, so some of the sailors jumped into the sea and captured him. I saw all this from the deck of the sterncastle, so I sent for him; I gave him a red bonnet and put a few little green glass beads on his arm and hung two bells from his ears. I had him put back in his almadia, which had also been taken aboard the ship's boat, and sent him back ashore. I then made sail to go to the other large island which I could see to the westward, and I ordered the other almadia which the Niña was towing astern to be set adrift. When the man to whom I had given gifts, refusing his ball of cotton, reached the shore I saw that all the others came up to him. He was amazed and thought that we were good people and that the other who had escaped was being taken with us because he had done us some harm. That was my purpose in giving him presents and letting him go: to make them think well of us, so that when Your Majesties send someone else here he may be well received.” Source: Columbus Own Journal translated by John Cummins, Monday, October 15, 1492, p. 98. 

From that point, Columbus was received as a hero everywhere he went in the Caribbean. The natives (Tainos) believed Columbus was sent by God to save them from the Caribs, a tribe of cannibals who constantly terrorized them. The Caribs would hunt the Tainos, raping their women, castrating the boys, and killing the men. They cannibalized entire islands before Columbus’ arrival. Ironically, Zinn omitted all that information. At the end of the first voyage, Columbus made a treaty with one of the Taino chiefs of Hispaniola island, named Guacanagari. Columbus promised the chief that he would protect him from the Caribs when he returns for a second voyage. This kind of alliance, where two different groups unite to fight a common enemy, was common back then. Source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, Chapters 24-34. See also the accounts by Martyr, Oviedo, Las Casas, Bernaldez, etc.

Slavery and gold


“Columbus had two goals in the Caribbean: to find gold and slaves. Columbus returned home to Spain and came back to the Caribbean with 17 ships and 1,200 men. His men traveled from island to island, taking Indians as captives. In 1495, in a large slave raid, Columbus and his men rounded up 1,500 Arawak men, women, and children, and put them in pens. They selected what they considered the best natives and loaded them onto ships back to Spain. Two hundred died en route. After the survivors were sold as slaves in Spain, Columbus later wrote: ‘Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.’ ”

Zinn’s statement above is false. Columbus’ goals were gold and spices. The Tainos were his allies, and Columbus was commanded by the queen to punish anyone, including Spaniards, who would mistreat them. When Columbus returned to the New World, he fulfilled his promise about the Caribs. He either destroyed their canoes, so they could not sail again to terrorize the Tainos, or would capture them and send them to Spain as prisoners of war. However, when Columbus arrived in Hispaniola, he found 39 of his men, he left there, dead. A rival chief to Guacanagari killed them. Columbus decided to settle in another part of the island and for almost a year, he did everything he could do to keep the peace between him and the rival chiefs. Columbus was forced to arrest some of them later because they started to kill more of his men again. A month later, chief Guacangari asked Columbus to help him fight the rival chiefs, because they killed and kidnapped some of his wives (chiefs were polygamous). Columbus agreed, since they had killed his men. Columbus fought them, defeated them and sent some of them (along with the cannibals) to Spain, as prisoners of war. That is the so-called “slave raid” Zinn claimed happened. When Columbus said, “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold,” he meant the cannibals or those who were rivals to his ally, chief Guacanagari, in Hispaniola. Though it is true, many of them died en route, it’s also true that many of the 1,200 people who came with Columbus died as well for a diverse number of reasons. Do you see how much of the story and context Zinn left out? Source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, Chapters 47-61.

Blood for gold

“But slaves weren’t enough for Columbus or the Spanish monarchy. Columbus needed to bring back gold. Columbus and his crew believed there were gold fields in the province of Cibao on Haiti. He and his men ordered all natives 14 years or older to collect a certain amount of gold every three months. Natives who didn’t collect enough gold had their hands cut off. But it was an impossible tasks. There was virtually no gold around; only a little dust in streams. Many natives fled and were consequently hunted down and killed by the Spaniards.”

That statement is false too. After Columbus defeated the rival chiefs in battle, sending some of them away to Spain, he made the rest to pay tribute. This was the norm during battles back then. Also, there was gold. EVERY primary source of this era says so. The claim that cutting their hands off was the punishment for not paying the tribute, is a lie as well. However, the tribute was hard to accomplish, which is why Columbus reduced the quota to half. Another important detail about the so-called “slavery” is that it was temporal. Columbus even told the chiefs he arrested, he would restore them back to power. Source: Historia de los Reyes Católicos by Andrés Bernáldez, Cap. CXXXI, p. 331

The reason for the tribute and the temporal slavery was to keep the chiefs from bickering with one another or keeping them from killing more Spaniards. Columbus obtained peace for a while, which was his goal. In the meantime, Columbus punished any Spaniard that mistreated a native, as he was commanded by the queen to do. Source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, Chapter 61.


“If captivity and death weren’t enough, Columbus and his men had a particular reputation for cruelty. Bartolome de las Casas, a young priest who participated in the conquest of Cuba and wrote a history of the Indies, describes the treatment of the natives: ‘Endless testimonies ... prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives... But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then... The admiral, it is true, was blind as those who came after him, and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians …’ Las Casas describes how Spaniards rode on the backs of natives. How the Spaniards ‘thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades.’ Las Casas adds ‘two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys.’ ”

When Columbus returned to Hispaniola, for his third voyage, he found it in mutiny and revolt. Several Spanish political rivals tried to take over, but failed. They succeeded when they falsely accused Columbus as a cruel man toward both Spaniards and natives. They arrested Columbus without due process, and took the governorship upon themselves. When the king and queen heard about it, they immediately set Columbus free because they did not believe the accusations. In their own way, the king and queen apologized to him. They also arrested those who arrested Columbus first, for mutiny, and the temporal slavery on Hispaniola was suspended. As for Columbus, his titles were restored and he made one more voyage. Source: The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, Chapters 74-87

Zinn’s quote above, who in turn was quoting from Fray Las Casas, belongs to the timeline when the mutineers took over Hispaniola causing all sorts of trouble to the natives. Columbus himself reported to the queen the very same things Las Casas complained about. Las Casas did not believe the accusations that cost Columbus the governorship either. Las Casas even said that even if the accusations were true (that Columbus was cruel toward the Spaniards), then they deserved it, since they were the ones committing all sorts of atrocities. Source: Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Libro I, Tomo II, Capítulo CLXXXIII, pp. 513-514.

Las Casas' only disagreement with Columbus was about the few times he fought the natives. Las Casas labeled those battles “unjust wars,” even if justified. As a priest, he believed the natives would go to hell when they die fighting for not knowing the One true God. An “unjust war” was a crime to Las Casas. That’s why Las Casas said Columbus “committed irreparable crimes against the Indians.”

Zinn fails to explain that Las Casas was also the person responsible for creating or propagating the Spanish Black Legend and the Myth of the Noble Savage. That is, the idea that all Spaniards were evil, while all natives were angels. Source: History of the Indies by Las Casas, Introduction by A. Collard. 

Las Casas’ works were translated into other languages and were used as political propaganda against Spain. The problem with Las Casas was that he did not distinguish what was war and what was abuse. Eventually Las Casas books were banned by Spain and the Catholic church. The few times Columbus fought native tribes, he did it at the request or with the assistance of other tribes, who were allied with him. 

The irony is that Las Casas admired Columbus and he defended his honor against those who were trying to discredit him. In the very same book (History of the Indies), Las Casas described Columbus as: “imposing, good natured, kind, daring, courageous... a pious man… God had endowed him good judgment, a sound memory and eagerness to learn… a God fearing man… ” p. 15. “... the most outstanding sailor in the world, versed like no other in the art of navigation, for which divine Providence chose him to accomplish the most outstanding feat ever accomplished in the world until now.” p. 17. “... he was well-mannered, handsome man and a churchgoing Christian…” p. 19. “ .. well spoken, wise and prudent.” p. 29. “Many is the time I have wished that God would again inspire me and that I had Cicero’s gift of eloquence to extol the indescribable service to God and to the whole world which Christopher Columbus rendered at the cost of such pain and dangers, such skill and expertise, when he so courageously discovered the New World.” pp. 34-35. The last thing Las Casas said about Columbus was that “he was a good Christian.” p. 143.

Mass genocide

“Facing extermination, the Arawaks organized and attempted to fight back against the Spaniards. But they were little match against the armor, muskets, swords and horses of the Europeans. The Spaniards hung or burned Indians that they took captive. By this point, the Arawaks began committing mass suicides. They fed cassava poison to their infants to save them from the Spanish. In two years, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead, either through murder, mutilation or suicide. By 1550, there were 500 Indians. By 1650, the Arawaks had been wiped out from the island.”

After Columbus finished his fourth and last voyage, this time exploring Central and South America, he made a last stop on Hispaniola (before he returned to Spain) and noticed that many natives had died. He wrote (again) complaining about how they were mistreated under the Nicolas de Ovando administration. Source: Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Tomo III, Lib. II, Cap. XXXVII, p. 190. 

The reason why some Spaniards behaved so badly was because they were far away from Spain, where no one could see what they were doing. Source: De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr, Vol. Two, Book IV, p. 272.  

 As long as Columbus was alive and in charge, he would punish them, arrest them or report them. After Columbus died, the next group of people exposing this kind of corruption were the priests. The problem with Zinn’s quote is that they are about events that happened after Columbus was dead. Every primary source of this era condemned those evil acts, precisely because it was unlawful and against the policies of Spain. 

Another problem with Zinn and other revisionists is that they won’t mention that the native tribes were doing the same things they condemned others of doing. That includes wars, civil wars, political cuops, conquest, slavery, mutilations, and genocide (through cannibalism and human sacrifices). I think the Associated Press should label their article as fake news or rename it as the “Top 5 atrocities NOT committed by Christopher Columbus'' instead.

#Top5AtrocitiesCommittedByColumbus #Debunked