What does this movie have to do with Columbus? The answer is, a lot. Columbus was looking to evangelize Cipangu (Japan), but it wasn't until later when the Jesuits did. The Jesuits (or The Society of Jesus) were co-founded by Spanish Catholic priest, Ignacio de Loyola, who was born in 1491. However, this movie is hard to watch and might not be for everyone. The movie is about the many missionaries who died as martyrs while others, like Liam Neeson's character, denied the faith. The movie is R rated.
This book is NOT a full biography about Columbus. Rather, it is the insights of the author (Morison) as a sailor, who went with an expedition to recreate the voyages of Columbus. He tells the readers what Columbus got right or wrong, as a sailor, and how he was indeed the greatest sailor of his era. Sadly, Morison (incorrectly) linked Columbus with Indigenous genocide and modern-day revisionists gleefully repeat his statements, knowing that Morison contradictorily believed Columbus was a hero. I covered this subject in great depth in my book "Columbus Day vs Indigenous Peoples' Day" (chapter 26), if you are interested in learning more about it. In spite of it all, Morison's work is still one of the most important non-primary sources books on Columbus.
If you wonder where we get our information from, here are some of our references. The same book list was used for our Columbus book series (plus more).
Primary sources from or about Columbus:
The Voyage of Christopher Columbus, Columbus’ Own Journal of Discovery. Newly Restored and Translated by John Cummins. St. Martin’s Press New York, 1992.
The Journal of Christopher Columbus (During his First Voyage 1492-1493) and Documents Relating to the Voyages of John Cabot and Gaspar Corte Real, Works Issued by The Hakluyt Society, London. No. LXXXVI.
Writings of Christopher Columbus, Descriptive of the Discovery and Occupation of the New World. Charles L. Webster & Co. New York, 1890.
Select Letters of Christopher Columbus, With Other Original Documents Related to His Four Voyages to the New World. Second Edition. Works Issued by The Hakluyt Society, London. M, DCCC.LXX.
The Book of Prophecies Edited by Christopher Columbus. Wipf & Stock Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1997.
Colección de los Viajes y Descubrimientos que Hicieron por Mar los Españoles Desde Fines del Siglo XV by Martín Fernández de Navarrette. Tomo I. Madrid, En La Imprenta Nacional. 1858.
Colección de los Viajes y Descubrimientos que Hicieron por Mar los Españoles Desde Fines del Siglo XV by Martín Fernández de Navarrette. Tomo II. Madrid, En La Imprenta Nacional. 1859.
Journals and Other Documents on the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. Translated and Edited by Samuel Eliot Morison. Illustrated by Lima De Freitas.
The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by his son Ferdinand. Translated and Annotated by Benjamin Keen. Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick, New Jersey 1992.
De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr D'Anghera. Volume One. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York and London. The Knickerbocker Press. 1912.
De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr D'Anghera. Volume Two. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York and London. The Knickerbocker Press. 1912.
Historia de los Reyes Católicos, Crónica inédita del siglo XV, por El Bachiller Andrés Bernáldez. Tomo I. Imprenta y librería de D. José Alaria Zamora, 1856.
Historia General y Natural de las Indias, Isla y Tierra-Firme del Mar Océano por El Capitán Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés. Primer Cronista del Nuevo Mundo. Imprenta de la Real Academia de la Historia, Madrid, 1851.
Historia General de las Indias by López de Gómara. Calpe, Madrid. 1922.
Historia General de los Hechos de los Castellanos, en las Islas, y Tierra-Firme de el Mar Oceano. Escrita por Antonio de Herrera. *Note- Most of these primary historical sources are available for free on Google Books.
Pre-Columbian primary sources:
Brendaniana, St. Brendan the Voyager in Story and Legend by the Rev. Denis O'Donoghue. Dublin: Browne & Nolan, LTD. 1895.
Groenlendinga Saga. The Saga of the Greenlanders.
The Saga of Eirik the Red. A Translation of a Work by Dr. Gudbrand Vigfusson. D. Marples & Co. Limited. Liverpool. 1880.
The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, The Version of the Cotton Manuscript in Modern Spelling, with Three Narratives, in Illustration of It, from Hakluyt's “Navigations, Voyages & Discoveries.” – Sir John Mandeville. Macmillan and Co., Limited. 1923. Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian, Concerning the Kingdoms & Marvels of the East. Translated, and Edited, with Notes, by Colonel Sir Henry Yule. Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1903.
Primary Sources About Other Explorers and the Spanish Conquest:
John Cabot, The Discoverer of North-America and Sebastian, His Son. A Chapter of the Maritime History of England Under the Tudors, 1496-1557 by Henry Harrisse. Benjamin Franklin Stevens. London. 1896.
The First Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci. London, Quaritch 15 Piccadilly, 1893.
Letters of Cortes. The Five Letters of Relation From Fernando Cortes to the Emperor Charles V by Hernán Cortés. In Two Volumes. Volume One. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York and London. The Knickerbocker Press. 1908.
Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España by Bernal Díaz del Castillo. Epublibre.
First Voyage Round the World, by Magellan. Translated From the Accounts of Antonio Pigafetta and Other Contemporary Writers. The Hakluyt Society. London. M.DCCC.LXXIV.
Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Disputa ó Controversia con Ginés de Sepúlveda Contendiendo Acerca la Licitud de las Conquistas de las Indias. Revista de Derecho Internacional y Política Exterior. Madrid. MCMVIII.
History of the Indies by Bartolome de las Casas. Translated and Edited by Andree M. Collard. Harper Torchbooks Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, Evanston, and London, 1971.
Historia de las Indias. Tomo I by Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Imprenta de Miguel Ginesta. Madrid. 1875.
Historia de las Indias. Tomo II by Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Imprenta de Miguel Ginesta. Madrid. 1875. Historia de las Indias. Tomo III by Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Imprenta de Miguel Ginesta. Madrid. 1875.
Historia de las Indias. Tomo IV by Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Imprenta de Miguel Ginesta. Madrid. 1876.
Historia de las Indias. Tomo V by Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Imprenta de Miguel Ginesta. Madrid. 1876.
A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas. The Project Gutenberg. 2007.
De las Antiguas Gentes del Perú by Bartolomé de las Casas. Madrid 1892.
Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España por el Fray Bernardino de Sahagún. Tomo Primero. Imprenta del Ciudadano Alejandro Valdés. 1829.
Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España por el Fray Bernardino de Sahagún. Tomo Segundo. Imprenta del Ciudadano Alejandro Valdés. 1829.
Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España por el Fray Bernardino de Sahagún. Tomo Tercero. Imprenta del Ciudadano Alejandro Valdés. 1830.
Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España por el Fray Bernardino de Sahagún. Tomo IV. Editorial Pedro Robredo. México. 1938.
History of the New World by Girolamo Benzoni, of Milan, Shewing His Travels in America from A.D. 1541 to 1556, with Some Particulars of the Island of Canary. Hakluyt Society. London. M.DCCC.LVII.
Historia Antigua de México y de su Conquista, Ilustrada con Disertaciones Sobre la Tierra, los Animales y los Habitantes de México by Francesco Saverio Clavigero. Tomo I. Jalapa. 1868. (This one is a secondary source from the 18th century). Letter of Hernando de Soto and Memoir of Hernando Escalante Fontaneda. Translated from the Spanish by Buckingham Smith. Washington. 1854.
Non-primary Sources Works About Columbus: A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus in Four Volumes by Washington Irving. Published by A. and W. Galignani, 1828.
Informe Sobre Los Retratos de Cristóbal Colón by Valentín Carderera y Solano. Imprenta de la Real Academia de la Historia. 1851.
Historia de Cristóbal Colon y de sus Viajes. Escrita en Francés Según Documentos Auténticos Sacados de España é Italia por Roselly de Lorgues. Tomo I. Cádiz. 1858.
Christopher Columbus and the Participation of the Jews in the Spanish and Portuguese Discoveries by Meyer Kayserling.
Christopher Columbus: His Life, His Works, His Remains, As Revealed by Original Printed and Manuscript Records, Together with an Essay on Peter Martyr of Anghera and Bartolomé de Las Casas, the First Historians of America by John Boyd Thacher. Volume I. The Knickerbocker Press. 1903.
Columbus: His Life, His Works, His Remains, As Revealed by Original Printed and Manuscript Records, Together with an Essay on Peter Martyr of Anghera and Bartolomé de Las Casas, the First Historians of America by John Boyd Thacher. Volume II. The Knickerbocker Press. 1903.
Admiral of the Ocean Sea. A Life of Christopher Columbus by Samuel Eliot Morison. Little Brown and Company, Boston, Toronto, London, 1970.
The Grand Design by Paolo Emilio Taviani. Orbis Publishing Limited. 1985.
Columbus and the Conquest of Jerusalem. How Religion Drove the Voyages That Led to America, by Carol Delaney. Free Press. 2012.
Selected North American Primary Historical Sources:
Capt. John Smith Writings with Other Narratives of Roanoke, Jamestown, and the First English Settlement of America.
Travels and Works of Captain John Smith, Edited by Edward Arber. Published by Burt Franklin.
Mourt’s Relation Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth with an Introduction and Notes by Henry Martyn Dexter. Boston. John Kimball Wiggin.
Bradford’s History of the Plimoth Plantation. From the Original Manuscript. 1901.
Bradford’s History of the Plymouth Settlement. Rendered into Modern English by Harold Paget.
Bartholomew de Las Casas, His Life, Apostolate, and Writings by Francis Augustus MacNutt. Cleveland, U.S.A. The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1909.
Spanish Black Legend: Origins of Anti-Hispanic Stereotypes by Joseph Sanchez. A Black Knight Publication of the Spanish Colonial Research Center. 1990.
The Drama of American History Series by Christopher Collier.
Conquests And Cultures: An International History by Thomas Sowell.
Ethnic America: A History by Thomas Sowell.
The Enemies of Christopher Columbus by Thomas A. Bowden. Answers to Critical Questions About the Spread of Western Civilization. Revised Edition. The Paper Tiger, Inc. NY. 2007.
The Legacy of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. New Nations and a Transatlantic Discourse of Empire by Elise Bartosik-Vélez. Vanderbilt University Press. 2014.
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. (Only the chapter about Columbus).
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. (Only the chapters about Columbus and the Pilgrims).
Columbus: His Enterprise: Exploding the Myth by Hans Koning.
Columbus: The Four Voyages by Laurence Bergreen. (*Note- Bergreen is NOT the revisionist Zinn, Loewen and Koning are, but, he has his share of cheap shots and innuendos against Columbus that I don’t appreciate. #ColumbusPrimarySources
1. America includes the Caribbean, and Columbus did reach (South) America during his third voyage. 2. Columbus wasn't trying to prove the Earth, was round, but he made his voyages BECAUSE the Earth is round. 3. Columbus believed the Earth was smaller, not because he was bad at math, but because some respected SCHOLARS believed so. That includes people like Ptolemy, Pliny, Aristotle, even a contemporary of Columbus named Toscanelli. 4. People in the Old World didn't know there was another continent between Europe and Asia. That is (partially) what we mean when we say, "Columbus discovered America." 5. The shape of the Earth was not a settled argument, which is why Columbus, years later, during his third voyage (and not on his first, as the video incorrectly implied) believed the Earth was round, but as a pear, or as a woman's breast. Other people believed the Earth was round, but in the shape of an egg, a pineapple, like a disk, or like a winnowing basket that it’s hollow in the middle. 6. Columbus reached the New World in a few days (36 days) as he said he would, and not in many years, as the "professionals" told him it would take. 7. The reason why it took years for Columbus to get a "yes," from the king and queen, was not because it took him that long to convince them, but because Spain was in constant war with the Moors, and they didn't have the time or the money for another thing. 8. The USA is not America, but part of it. Columbus did not reach the USA, but the USA was reached because of him: Florida was discovered by Juan Ponce de Leon, who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage. Hernando de Soto was inspired after Leon and he explored many places in the USA. England sent their own explorers after they learned Columbus proved it was saved to cross the Atlantic. Amerigo Vespucci (whom America is named after) neither reached the USA. 9. Columbus was not the only one who believed he was in the Indies. Everyone in the Old World did. 10. There was gold. 11. Columbus did not come with 17 ships to enslaved the Tainos. They were his allies and not his enemies. 12. Columbus did not "bounce the Caribbean slaughtering" Tainos. That is fiction. 13. Columbus did not have a regime in 1542. He was out of office in 1499 and he died in 1506. On the other hand, the natives were killing one another through cannibalism and human sacrifices long before 1492. That part of the story is not mentioned in the video. 14. Washinton Irving did not create a myth of Columbus either. The myth is not that Columbus was a hero (he was), but that he was the villain. #DebunkingAdamRuinsEverythingColumbus Image is taken fromhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Adam_Ruins_Everything_logo.png
The Washington Post wrote an article titled "Columbus brought measles to the New World. It was a disaster for Native Americans." My response? The article is ridiculous! First of all, diseases existed before Columbus, during Columbus, and after Columbus, both in the Old and the New World. Second, COLUMBUS did not bring measles into the New World since he himself did not carry that disease. Third, the claim that there were no epidemic diseases in the New World before Columbus arrived is based on pure speculation. The natives themselves believed their gods (and goddesses) put sickness on them. Among the sicknesses they experienced before any European contact was scabies, hemorrhoids, pustule, boil, eye sickness, gout, paralysis, stiffness, mumps, dropsy, leprosy, syphilis (one of their gods had syphilis too), other (unspecified) sexually transmitted diseases, other (unspecified) contagious diseases, other (unspecified) incurable diseases, etc. Some of the diseases mentioned above are viral or bacterial, debunking the article’s premise.  The Post states that the “Indigenous peoples suffered from white brutality, alcoholism, the killing and driving off of game,” etc. ignoring the fact that the natives were destroying one another long before Columbus arrived. The Caribs depopulated entire islands in the Caribbean through raids for cannibalistic purposes, while South American natives were sacrificing thousands upon thousands of their own people to their gods. Does that count as genocide?  As for alcoholism, the Aztecs worshiped “Tezcatzoncatl,” who was the god of wine or “pulque.” The natives would get intoxicated with this drink and would kill themselves or kill others. One was not allowed to criticize the effects of the drink, because they attributed the consequences of it to the possession of the god itself, and not to the drunkenness of the individual. Murmuring against this wine was a sign of bad luck to the murmurer.  The Post also says that “we may never know the exact magnitudes of the depopulation,” but “it is estimated that upwards of 80–95 percent of the Native American population was decimated within the first 100–150 years following 1492.” First, they claim they don’t know, but then they throw out numbers. Secondly, Columbus died 14 years after his discovery, in 1492, and he was not “decimating” anyone anyway. How can he be responsible for things that he did not commit, or things that happened when he was no longer present? This business of percentages is also disingenuous. It wasn’t 80 % (more or less) of every native tribe of North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean who died due to epidemics; but rather 80 % (more or less) of natives who died in specific locations, in a specific year. One example is Mexico, where a great percentage of people died of smallpox in 1520, which by the way, was introduced by a black man.  Before Columbus, epidemics killed 30% of the populations of Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa, from 165 to 180 AD. It killed 40% of the populations of Europe, Egypt, and West Asia, from 541 to 542 (25 to 50 millions of people). It killed 30 to 60% of populations of Europe, Asia, and North Africa, with the Black Death, from 1346 to 1350 (75 to 200 millions of people). After Columbus’ death, epidemics kept killing people in every continent of the world. In other words, epidemics have been common throughout history. Trying to blame everything on Columbus is not just ignorant but plain stupid. References: 1. Historia by Sahagun. 2. De Orbe Novo by Martyr (or any historian of the era). 3. Historia by Sahagun tomo 1, p 40. 4. Historia by Sahagun, tomo 4, p 245. 5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics
“Columbus: His Enterprise, Exploding the Myth” by Hans Koning, is the book Hollywood, apparently, is planning to adapt for an upcoming Columbus movie. If that is the case, don’t expect anything positive about Columbus in it. As for the book: it is pure garbage. The book is make things up. It repeats the same revisionist script (no pun intended) of Columbus being this evil man, who was an idiot, who did not know anything, a genocidal maniac, a destroyer of worlds, etc. You know the drill. It would take a full book to debunk all the lies in this one, but fortunately, my first book (“Christopher Columbus The Hero-Defending Columbus from Modern Day Revisionism”) already addressed those distortions, since his book is a repetition of the same false talking points as other hysterical revisionists.
As I will point out, Koning’s book is full of inaccuracies, speculations, innuendos, race baiting, etc. Here are a few of examples:
In chapter 2 the author claimed: “Many theories have been suggested: Columbus was a Jew, looking for the lost tribes of Israel, Columbus sailed because he had been in Iceland learning about the voyages of the Vikings; and so forth. These ideas are either unproven or downright silly…”
He is wrong, because those “downright silly” arguments have been proven false by documentation and by serious scholars like Paolo Emilio Taviani.
“Columbus did not go to school in Genoa...He learned to read and writemuch later and was self-taught. Indeed, it would have been most unusual for a weaver’s son to go to any formal school unless he was destined for the priesthood.”
That is incorrect. Though Columbus was mostly self-taught, the primary historical sources confirmed his parents sent him to school as a kid, to learn how to read and write.
“The notion that Columbus himself then wrote to Toscanelli” (an scholar who was his contemporary) “is probably” (more speculation) “a fantasy...”
Incorrect again. Las Casas confirmed the same story as Columbus’ son, and Las Casas even owned a chart Toscanelli sent to Columbus. Source: Columbus’ Journal translated by John Cummins, Tuesday, 25 September, 1492, page 89. Notes page 213.
Every time the author mentioned something Columbus succeeded in doing, he attributed it to luck.
In chapter 3 Koning claimed that Columbus blamed a local chief for the Santa Maria caravel shipwreck: “... he” (Columbus) “now tried to convince the Indian chieftain that it was his fault that the ship, on its way to the alleged gold fields, had run aground.” That is not true. Just read Columbus journal, entry December 25th, 1492. And I could go on and on.
Koning was very selective how he quoted Columbus’ letters and how he tells the story. He did not mention that war, conquest and slavery was practice by everyone back then, including, the natives.
Koning said: “Perhaps there is a danger of idealizing the life that these Indians;” but that is exactly what he did! Koning quoted Columbus saying the natives “would make fine servants,” which Columbus did not say; and then skipped the line where Columbus described the “peaceful” natives as with “wounds” (scars) “on their bodies” because “people from other adjacent islands came with the intention of seizing them...”
Koning spun the whole struggle of Columbus with Spaniards. He never mentioned that Bobadilla (the guy who put Columbus in prison) was full of it; that he was removed from office, and the accusations against Columbus (which are the ones repeated today by revisionists) were not true.
He gleefully stated that a pro-Columbus scholar, Samuel Eliot Morison, said Columbus indeed committed genocide. Except that is not true. It doesn’t matter if you are for or against Columbus, what matters are the facts, and Morison, nor the revisionists, are above historical facts.
Koning did not mention the Caribs depopulated entire islands long before 1492. Does that counts as genocide? Koning was also glad the New World is named “America” and not “Columbia.” In other words, he was fine with Amerigo Vespucci fighting and selling natives as slaves. It is only Columbus, he doesn’t like.
In chapter 10, Koning suggested (with a question) to change Columbus Day.
The book closed with an additional chapter written by another revisionist, who was trying to convince young students, that Columbus was a bad guy. He, “the teacher,” took away the purse of one of the students to teach them conquest was theft, and that was what Columbus was doing. Of course, he did not mention conquest was universal. I’ve found out that “the teacher” is a socialist, and socialism is a better example of someone stealing your purse. Not only that, but socialists committed genocide in recent history (the Nazis), and their cousins, the communists in Europe, Asia, etc, did the same. This teacher is a Hypocrite.
If we need anything, is most certainly not a movie bashing Columbus, but a movie or a documentary debunking the lies against his honor. Making a movie about Columbus based on Koning’s book is like Hollywood making a movie about Christ or Christianity based on a book written by Richard Dawkins. We’ll keep an eye of where Hollywood ultimately goes with this project.