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