Monday, January 6, 2020

Encounter- Children' Book Review



“Encounter” is a fictional (children’s) book about a fictional character and what the author imagines might have been the Taino perspective of Columbus’ arrival to the Americas. The book is short, the illustrations are well done, but the story directly or indirectly propagates the Spanish Black Legend and the Myth of the Noble Savage. That is, the myth that Spanish people were evil while the natives were angels. The book gives the impression the natives were strangers to conquest, war, and slavery, even though those practices were universal. 

In the book, the main character, a Taino kid, tries to warn his people about the Spaniards, due to a bad dream he had about them, but no one listens to him because he is just a kid. The book ends with the Taino kid years later, now an adult, reflecting how they lost their lands to strangers and gave their souls to their “gods,” even though we Christians believe in one God.

However, we don’t have to imagine the Taino’s perspective since we know what they thought about Columbus. In the real story of Columbus, the Tainos believed he came from Heaven to save them from the Caribs, who constantly raided them, killing the men, raping the women, castrating the young boys and sometimes cannibalizing entire islands. That part of the story is not in the book. Also, in the real story of Columbus, there was an actual Taino kid who was Columbus’ interpreter and became his godson when he got baptized in Spain as a Christian. (Source: Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem by Delaney, ch. 6, p.120. See also Oviedo’s Historia, Lib II, Cap. VII). Contrary to the suggested fiction by Encounter, the Tainos were Columbus’ allies and not his enemies. 

In the “Author’s Note” section, the author repeats many misconceptions made by modern authors about Columbus. For example, the author implies the natives received Columbus with gifts, but it was Columbus who gave them gifts first, and later they came to reciprocate. In addition, it was not Columbus who believed he was in the Indies, but everyone else in the Old World did. One of the reasons why we say “Columbus discovered America” is precisely because he was not in the Indies, but in another continent the Old World did not know to exist. The author also incorrectly claims that the handful of natives Columbus took with him to Spain (during his first voyage) were slaves. Not true. In fact, they were received and treated with great honor in Spain. 

The author repeats one of the fallacies revisionists usually use against Columbus: That he is to blame for the atrocities that happened to the natives 50 years after the discovery. The obvious problem with this false claim is that not even Columbus’ sons were alive 50 years after the discovery of 1492. Columbus died in 1506 and most of the time he was exploring. Furthermore, Columbus himself either reported or punished any Spaniard who mistreated the natives, as he was requested to do by the Queen of Spain. The atrocities that happened later, after he was out of office or dead, were illegal and denounced by the crown and by every primary historical source of the era. 

The sad thing is that someone used this fictional children’s book as a “source” for an elementary school, and now the school decided to renamed Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day for this year 2020. See the link below.

https://www.wwnytv.com/2019/12/02/columbus-day-replaced-by-indigenous-peoples-day-potsdam-schools/?outputType=amp&fbclid=IwAR1CEGLL51OIPQTr5ZoVv8bgLBmuJjrAUjeHb1q-rScDL6m4NnW_MG_5uAc



Friday, January 3, 2020

"Christopher Columbus: The Discovery" Movie Review


This movie was written by Mario Puzzo (from the Godfather movie series) and produced by Alexander and Ilya Salkind (producers of the Superman films with Christopher Reeve). Among the cast was Marlon Brandon as the Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada, Tom Selleck as King Ferdinand, Catherine Zeta-Jones as Beatriz Enriquez de Arana, Robert Davi as Martin Pinzon and Benicio del Toro as Alvaro Harana. It was released in 1992, celebrating the 500 years of Columbus’ discovery, but it flopped in the box office. The music score is beautiful and it was composed by Cliff Eidelman. 

I would say the movie is 70 % historically accurate. However, the movie is at times boring and at others a little bit cheesy as they tried to make it into a failed swashbuckler. Columbus is also portrayed as more worldly than he was. The movie contains some nudity (of the natives). The film is about Columbus’ first voyage. Overall, the movie is OK. I’ll give it 3 out of 5 stars. 



Sunday, November 17, 2019

Debunking Bad Empanada "Columbus Was Evil, Actually" Video




BadEmpanada does what he criticized from others, including distorting, omitting and denying historical facts. His video is mostly projection. He used “modern historians” and writers to support his assertions as if their words were gospel. He also used some primary sources quotes here and there, but without their proper context. He claims Columbus was a white supremacist, but without giving any primary source to support his claim. If Columbus was a white supremacist, why on earth the KKK hated him, and his statues, in the early 1900s? If he was a white supremacist, why on earth did he protected his Taino allies from the Caribs and Spaniard mutineers? Of course, that is not on the video because it won’t fit his false narrative. If he was a racist, why on earth he brought the gospel of Christ to them? If Spain was racist, why on earth their priests fought for the human rights of the natives? Where does Mr. Bad Empanada think we Hispanics came from if Columbus and the Spaniards were all bad and racists? 


BadEmpanada claims that it was not normal for others to invade foreign lands, subjugate them, make them pay tribute, enslave them, etc. 1:08: 24. Really? Has he ever read history? Is that history denialism? Has he ever heard of the Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Turks? Or maybe the Indigenous imperial kingdoms of the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans? Or is he also going to deny the Indigenous people have their share of imperialism, conquest, and slavery!? Does Bad Empanada know slavery was UNIVERSAL? Does he know slavery was practiced thousands of years before Columbus was born? 


BadEmpanada seems to deny that Columbus’ words have been twisted by revisionists, but that is a fact. 19:26. For example, when Columbus met the Tainos for the first time, he praised them as good and intelligent people who MUST BE good servants. “Servants,” as one who serves a king and not as one who is a slave. The natives had both servants and slaves. Columbus mentioned the native kings’ servants in the December 22, 1492 entry of his journal. But revisionists changed the phrase (MUST for WOULD MAKE) to insinuate Columbus was thinking about slavery from day one. Worse, they added the line “with 50 men we could subjugate them,” when he said that 3 days later, in another place, and under another context. Spanish is my mother language and I have read his journal, and he said “MUST BE” and not that “they would make good servants.” (“Ellos deben ser buenos servidores.” Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Libro I, Capítulo XL).


Columbus’ journal was written for the King and Queen of Spain. Columbus assured them that “with 50 men we could subjugate them” because he perceived the natives of the first islands he visited were not skillful in battle. That was not the case with the people of the bigger islands, where the natives tended to be more warlike. In turn, the Tainos believed Columbus came from Heaven to save them from the Caribs. 


So, who were the Caribs? The Caribs were a tribe of cannibals who raided the Tainos, kidnapping them, raping their women and castrating their men. They were cannibals who killed and ate the natives of entire islands. That sounds like genocide. Source? Every primary source of the era, including Fray Bartolome de las Casas.


So, what did Columbus do? He gave gifts to the Tainos, he traded with them and he made sure the Spaniards were fair in their businesses with them. At the end of this first voyage, Columbus ended in good terms with them and he made a treaty with one of the chiefs of Hispaniola, chief Guacanagari, promising him protection from the Caribs.  (Source- Columbus’ Own Journal translated by John Cummins). It was common back then for different peoples to ally with one another to fight a common enemy.


Columbus returned to Spain and he was received as a hero. He told the queen the Tainos were good people, and he was commanded, as governor, to harshly punish anyone who would mistreat them. The king and queen treated with great honor 7 Tainos Columbus brought with him as well. Source- Historia General by Oviedo, Lib. II, Cap. VII.


When Columbus returned to the New World for his second voyage, he fulfilled his promise, either by destroying the canoes of the Caribs or by taking them as prisoners. Those are the slaves he was talking about in a letter, at 29:38 of the Bad Empanada’s video. See Letter to Luis de Santangel by Columbus. Columbus reached Hispaniola but his men were murdered by a rival chief of Guacanagari. For almost a year and a half, Columbus tried to keep the peace, until Guacanagari asked Columbus for help to fight his rivals. Why? Because the rival chiefs killed and kidnapped some of Guacanari’s wives (chiefs were polygamous). Columbus used the occasion to bring to justice those who had killed more of his men. Columbus fought them, defeated them, and sent some of them to Spain as prisoners of war, along with the Caribs he captured. He made the rest to pay tribute. All these were the rules of the day, during war, back then. The Life of the Admiral by Ferdinand Columbus, chapters 46-61.


Since the Tainos were seen as allies of Spain, Columbus was allowed to enslaved only those he might have to fight in battle in Hispaniola. The dirty little secret revisionists won’t tell you is, that the slavery on the island of Hispaniola was temporary. It was temporary because, again, the Tainos were their allies. All Columbus wanted was for the chiefs to stop bickering with one another and to stop killing his men. That was the purpose of the temporary slavery and tribute payments. In the meantime, Columbus harshly punished any Spaniard who mistreated them as he was told by the queen to do so. Do you see how much of the story and context was left out?


Another detail omitted out of the story is that the (very) few times Columbus (or his brothers) fought in battle against a Taino tribe, it was at the request of, or with the assistance of other tribes. 


Mutiny and political coups were very common during this era. Columbus’ power was usurped by a man named Roldan, during his third voyage. It was Roldan, and not Columbus (as Bad Empanada stated), who initiated the Repartimientos, later known as the Encomienda system under the Nicolas de Ovando administration. 24:23. 


Contrary to what some revisionists claim, Columbus wasn’t raping women, nor giving women over to be raped, either. In fact, the complaint of Roldan’s rebels was that the Columbus’ administration kept Roldan’s men from taking native women. It was Columbus who accused them of rape instead. Those who later slandered Columbus, accused him of anything but giving women away to be raped. Some people today use Michele de Cuneo’s rape story as evidence for the aforementioned accusation of Columbus, but they never tell you that the authenticity of Cuneo’s account was once doubted by scholars due to many inconsistencies. Giving women away was something practiced by some tribes back then. Where are the anti-Columbus people condemning them? If Columbus gave a woman to Cuneo, then it was for that reason, and also because Cuneo was not a Spaniard. But that is assuming his account is fully factual. 


Question: If rape was legal, why did Columbus report the Spaniards for raping native women? Or, why didn't they report Columbus for raping women?


During the third voyage, the rebels were making false accusations against Columbus, claiming he was mistreating Spaniards and natives alike. Spain sent a man named Bobadilla to investigate the charges, but Bobadilla arrested Columbus without due process, used the false accusations as “evidence,” and illegally took the governorship to himself. Bobadilla’s document was the one found in 2006, but BadEmpanada “forgot” to tell you the accusations in it were false. 41:15. 


As Columbus was shipped as a prisoner to Spain, he took the time to write a letter to a friend. That letter is the one revisionists claim Columbus was selling children for sex. 44:00. Except that is not true. Columbus was complaining in the letter against the rebels and how they usurped his authority. Nonetheless, the letter says nothing of people having sex with children, or children being sold for that purpose. That claim is a complete fabrication by revisionists. Also, Columbus wrote that letter to a WOMAN (Juana de las Torres) who was a friend of his and the Queen of Spain. So you’re are telling me, Columbus wrote an incriminating letter to a WOMAN (a mother) about how “he was selling children for sex”? Really? Besides, the mutineers who took over, did not need to buy or to sell anyone in order for them to have sex with them. They were acting lawlessly anyway. Source- Letter to Juana de las Torres. Writings of Christopher Columbus, p. 151 (The ebook is free on Google Books).

The closest thing I’ve seen about pedophilia comes from the natives of South America, who gave Columbus 2 girls, during his fourth voyage. One of the girls was 7 and the other one was 11. Columbus was very upset about it. He said they were acting as “whores.” So, what did Columbus do? He fed them, gave them some gifts (as it was his custom) and sent them back to their people. Columbus's Lettera Rarissima to the Sovereigns, Journal and Other Documents, Morison, page 381.


Who was involved in pedophilia again? 


Columbus arrived in Spain as a prisoner, but the king and queen immediately set for his release. In their own way they apologized to him, lamenting ever sending Bobadilla. The king and queen did not believe the accusations toward Columbus. Not even Bartolome de las Casas believed them! Las Casas even said that “punishments and damages that many claimed [Columbus] committed against them, they perhaps deserved, because of their crimes, insults, disobedience, and sins.” (“... quizás los castigos y daños hechos, que á muchos dicen que hizo, los merecían por sus delitos, insultos ó inobediencias y pecados…”) Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Libro I, Tomo II, Capítulo CLXXXIII, páginas 513-514.


In the meantime, Columbus was compensated, Bobadilla was removed from office, and the rebels (who made up the accusations) were arrested for mutiny. De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr, Vol. One, Book VII, p. 149. Do you see how much BadEmpanada omitted?


Columbus made one more voyage, while the queen suspended the slavery in Hispaniola. However, the new governor, Nicolas de Ovando, proposed the Encomiendas, because on paper it was not slavery, but Spanish protection to the natives in exchange of pay labor. The natives were to be paid as workers and not to be treated as slaves. That’s why the queen allowed it. De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr, Vol. Two, Book IV, p. 271 (The Seventh Decade). History of the Indies by Las Casas, Book Two, Chapter 11, pp. 103-104 and 106. 


But Hispaniola, being far away from Spain’s supervision, and Columbus being absent, they used the occasion to abuse the natives, till many of them died or committed mass suicides and abortions. It was the priests who reported all these abuses during this timeline. Every historian and primary source of this era strongly condemned the atrocities, precisely because they were illegal, and against Spanish values. De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr, Vol. Two, Book IV, p. 272 (The Seventh Decade).


The book, “A Brief History of the Destruction of the Indies” by Las Casas, was about the atrocities committed by the Ovando administration, and those who came afterward in other places. It was not about Columbus as BadEmpanada claims. 48:28. The only thing Bad Empanada got right is that Las Casas was not biased against Columbus. He was actually someone who admired Columbus greatly and defended him many times against those who attacked his honor. Las Casas’ only disagreement with Columbus was about the few times he was engaged in battles against the natives. He called them “unjust wars.” If Las Casas had believed the battles were “just,” then he would not have condemned Columbus for them, or the subsequent temporal slavery and tribute. Notice, Las Casas never condemned Spain for fighting the Moors, or Columbus for fighting corsairs, mutineers or rebels. Las Casas called them “unjust wars” because he believed the natives went to hell when they died fighting for not knowing the One true God. Las Casas did not “exonerate” Columbus’ behavior due to his “poor education and intelligence” either. 51:23. Columbus was described as a very intelligent and brilliant man by Las Casas anyway. History of the Indies by Las Casas, p. 15. When Las Casas said, Columbus was “ignorant,” he meant he did not know better when he fought the natives in those “unjust wars.” 


As for the Spanish Black Legend, Las Casas was indeed the perpetrator of it, along with the Legend of the Noble Savage. To say otherwise is to be in denial. Even Andre Collard, who translated “History of the Indies” into English, talks about it in the Introduction of the book (page xi) and he called Las Casas, “a mythmaker.” 


As mentioned before, every primary source of the era (including Columbus’) condemned the atrocities committed by the Spaniards. But Las Casas portrayed the Spaniards as all evil and the natives as all angels. He also made many contradictory and false claims as well. For example, he said the natives were “untouched by Adam’s sin,” but then he admitted that they practiced witchcraft and cannibalism. He claimed the natives were free from vice, even though he had said before, in the same book, they were the ones who introduced the vice of tobacco to the Europeans. Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Tomo III, Lib. Tercero, Cap. XXI, p. 464. Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Tomo III, Lib. Tercero, Cap. XXIII, p. 475.


He also minimized the human sacrifices, even though everyone else, including his peer clerics (and the archeological evidence), confirms that thousands of people were sacrificed every year. History of the Indies by Las Casas, Book Three, Ch. 117, p. 231. He also claimed the Spaniards were killing natives for no reason, even though they were engaged in war. Many times he did not distinguish what was war and what was abuse or he would mix both events. Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Tomo II, Lib. Primero, Cap. CV, p. 101.


When it comes to Columbus, Las Casas contradicted himself saying he was a “good Christian,” but then he linked him with genocide. He accused Columbus of things he never personally did, or things that happened decades later, after Columbus was dead. Not to mention the allegations were false. How can a man be a “good Christian” and be a genocidal maniac? Do you see the contradictions? The fact is that Columbus was a good man and he was the first to report and punish the Spaniards for their atrocities. In addition, Las Casas either omitted or ignored many details on his version. For example, he accused Columbus for the death of one-third of the people in Hispaniola, but he omitted that it was because the natives destroyed all their harvest in order to kill all the Spaniards with starvation. Historia de las Indias by Las Casas, Libro I, Tomo II, Capítulo CVI, página 106. In other words, many natives died by the famine that they themselves created. De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr, The First Decade, Book IV, p.108. 


Las Casas also omitted (or ignored) that most of the (few) battles Columbus, his brothers, and later other explorers fought, were done with the assistance of other tribes. Las Casas’ books were translated into other languages and they were used as political propaganda against Spain and the Catholic church. Eventually, the state and the church banned his books. 


If you are reading all this in disbelief, I will challenge you to do the following: Read The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by Ferdinand Columbus, which Las Casas used as a source. Then read History of the Indies by Las Casas, not once, but twice. The first time you will see Las Casas had a lot of good points, but I’ll guarantee you, you will start to notice his exaggerations and falsehoods (about the natives, how angelic they were, and the Spaniards, how evil they were) the second time you read it. Then after that, I would like you to read De Orbe Novo by Peter Martyr (volume one), which was another source used by Las Casas. Right now the ebook version is free on Google books. In De Orbe Novo you will see the natives were not angelic, but they were doing what everyone else was doing throughout history: conquest, war, civil wars, political coups, slavery, etc. but with the addition of rampant cannibalism and human sacrifices (genocide?).


Last point, though Columbus was admired during the times of American colonialism, he was also admired after nations in the Americas became independent. Columbus is not a symbol of oppression either, but a symbol of exploration, scientific curiosity, determination, boldness, and perseverance.

#badempanada #knowingbetter #history #christophercolumbus

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Review: "Isabel" TV Series


Isabel Tv series was a three-season Spanish mini-series about Queen Isabel of Spain, who sponsored Columbus' voyages to the New World. It was broadcast from 2012 to 2014. The script and acting were great, but the episodes were too long for my liking (more than an hour each). The first episodes contain very sexually explicit scenes, almost pornographic, so you are warned! As for Columbus, he is incorrectly portrayed as a sneaky person who was cutting backroom deals with the king of Portugal after he discovered America. Because of that, and many, many other inaccuracies about Columbus, I'll give the show 3 out of 5 stars. 



#IsabelTvSeries

Review: "Ethnic America" by Thomas Sowell


This is a great book explaining the history and the cultures that came to live in America. This book gave me some insights as I was writing my second book, "Columbus Day vs Indigenous Peoples' Day."


#EtnicAmericaThomasSowell

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Review: "Silence" Movie


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.

#SilenceTheMovie

Review: "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" by Samuel Eliot Morison



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.

#AdmiralOfTheOceanSea