Wednesday, June 22, 2022

“Conquistadores: Adventum” TV Series Review


                                                                                     Film Poster IMDB

                                                                                     YoutTube Tv Trailer

“Conquistadores: Adventum” was a 2017 Spanish TV Series about the first 30 years after America’s discovery by Christopher Columbus followed by other explorers and Conquistadors' exploits. It was one season long with 8 episodes in total. The following review is only on the first three episodes since they are about Columbus:

Episode 1 “Las Llaves del Mar” (The Keys of the Sea):

The show is in Spanish. The episodes are nonlinear, they don’t follow a chronological timeline. One moment the story is in 1492, the next moment it goes back to time, then back to 1492 or another year, or another place, etc.

The actor who played Columbus (Miguel Lago Casal) doesn’t look like Columbus at all. Columbus was tall. The actor is not. Columbus had grey hair. The actor has black hair.

The tone of the show is somber, of a slow pace and, boring. The music score sometimes sounds like one from a horror movie. The story is mostly narrated by an anonymous fictional character who seems to be present in everything we see, apparently all 30 years long the events took place. This character remained anonymous at least for the first three episodes I watched. I don’t know if the character ever revealed himself later. 

The only thing this anonymous “witness” narrator does throughout the show is to complain about everything and everybody. To him the sailors who sailed with Columbus were all “wretches” (“desgraciados”), while the Pinzon brothers were “pirates,” and Juan Niño (owner of La Niña ship) was just a “slave trader.” For some unexplained reason, he liked Juan de la Cosa, the owner of the Santa María ship.

Christopher Columbus speaks with a perfect Castilian accent, even though Queen Isabel called him “a Genoese.” However, our “Anonymous Narrator” commented he did not know if Columbus was a Spaniard or an Italian, nor did he care.

Here, Columbus is not an inspiring character, but one who is stoic and stern. In fact, no one shows much emotion, even in the scene where they arrived discovering America. 

Queen Isabel is boring. The priest at her court looks goofy. The Pope looked sick and died drinking blood. Whether that happened or not, I don’t know. 

At times some characters looked and acted disgustingly. One of them throws up.

Christianity is not sincere in the show; maybe in Columbus, but only to some extent. The “Anonymous Narrator” ends this episode by stating that “they (the Indians) took us for gods, while we took them as slaves.” 

Episode 2 “El Pequeño Capitán” (The Little Captain):

This episode begins with Columbus' second voyage, where “Anonymous Narrator” claims this time they came to conquer. At one time “Anonymous Narrator” complained that Columbus often made up the things he wrote in his journal and letters. Like talking about gold, sirens, cannibals, etc., even though there was a scene (in the first episode) where one of the natives told Columbus about the cannibals.

The Narrator insisted that Columbus was delusional in thinking he was in Asia (the Indies) when he was in a new continent. Except that it wasn’t Columbus who thought so, but everyone else. It took many years for everyone to realize Columbus indeed discovered a new world.

Ojeda, who was one of Columbus’ captains, traps and murders Chief Caonabo. It is true that Ojeda arrested him, but he did not murder him. Caonabo died in a shipwreck. 

As you can see, this show is full of historical errors.

Columbus’ brother (Bartolome) shortly appears here, as Governor of Hispaniola. Like a scene from “Schindler's List,” Bartolome shoots an Indian in the back with a gun for no reason whatsoever. Bartolome never did such a thing. Bartolome also burns Indians alive without any reason explained. In fact, most of this show is fictional, and the dialogues are based on the imagination of whoever wrote the script.

Amerigo Vespucci makes a short appearance as well. “Anonymous Narrator” calls him the “the greatest liar of all” for some of the claims he made about his explorations.

Episode 3 “La Caprichosa” (The Capricious):

Here Columbus is still in denial that he was not in the Indies, but another, land and is arguing with Amerigo Vespucci about it. Except that never happened. 

At some point we see Columbus stranded in Jamaica during his fourth voyage. He requested help from Ovando, who was the new Governor of Hispaniola, but Ovando initially ignores the request as he is “busy” killing Anacaona, the female chief of the island. 

From here the show makes a transition from Columbus to other explorers and Conquistadors. First, we see Captain Ojeda, who is hanging natives (with no reason given) in the name of “the Holy Church.” Something he never said. Then we see short scenes involving Martín Fernández de Enciso, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Francisco Pizarro and Hernán Cortés.


Here was a great opportunity to bring history to the TV screen, but instead, what we get is a work of fiction written with a modern-day revisionist “perspective” with a lot of guessing. Though most of the show is boring, I did not fall asleep. The reason is because the production was excellent and so was the acting. That’s the only compliment I can give to the series, which is sad because it makes this production a waste of time, money and talent. This show is an anti-Spanish, anti-American, and anti-Christian propaganda film. Thank God it wasn’t dubbed in English and played in America in 2017, which is the year people vandalized and destroyed Columbus’ statues in United States.

If you want to learn the real story of the Conquistadors from a primary source, I would suggest to you, De Orbe Novo, Volume One and Two, written by Peter Martyr. His work begins with Columbus, followed by all the aforementioned explorers and Conquistadors, plus some extras. Martyr is the best primary source of the time in the sense that he brings everyone (Europeans and Indigenous) into its proper historical context. His letters (which were private) were written as the events were happening or close to the time it happened. 

The ebook version of Martyr’s work is available free on Google Books and other platforms. Skip the fictional film and read the real story.

#ConquistadoresAdventum #Conquistadors #Columbus #TvSeries #Spain #FilmReview #History #HernanCortez

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Salvador Brau's 19th Century Book Review "Puerto Rico and its History" (in Spanish)

Studying Columbus’ primary sources led me to go back and read some of the historians we studied or heard about in school when I was growing up in Puerto Rico. One of them is Salvador Brau and his work titled, “Puerto Rico y su Historia” (PR and its History- 1892). 

Brau’s Appendix at the end of the book includes a letter by Columbus (1493), a portion of Gomara’s Historia on the discovery of PR, a letter on how Ponce de Leon became the Governor, etc., However, I would suggest this work only to those who are already familiar with Columbus and other primary sources. The reason is that the book is not the story of Puerto Rico per se, but Brau’s insights and opinions on the subject, including the claims of many other historians who lived before him. 

He discusses the long-time debates on where Columbus exactly arrived in 1493 when he discovered the island. The same about the debates on how PR’s original name was supposed to be pronounced: Was it Buriquén, Boriquén, BoriNquén, or Boriquén?

Brau talks a little bit about the first Governors and bishops of PR during the16th century, along with the names of the first towns founded on the island. 

Brau informs the reader that there were many white Europeans who were slaves in the Americas. He debunks the claim that Spaniards exterminated the Taino race (in PR) since the number of Spaniards was small, to begin with. He discusses scientific evidence of Indigenous cannibalism (by the Caribs) and observes the importance of the word “Gua” often used by the natives. For example Guacanagari (the name of a chief Columbus met), Guanica (a place in PR), Guatios (a word meaning “friend”), etc. 

The most interesting thing to me was Brau’s interpretation of Columbus’ enigmatic signature: 


.S. A. .S.

X  M  Y 

Xpo Ferens .

According to him it means: Servus Supplex Altissimi Salvatoris. Jesus, Maria, Joseph, Christo ferens. Or Humble Servant of the Highest Savior. Jesus, Mary, Joseph. The Christ Bearer.

Salvador Brau was born in Puerto Rico in 1842 and died in 1912. He was a “journalist, poet, dramatist, novelist, historian, and sociologist.” [1]

“Puerto Rico y su Historia” ebook version is available free on Google books.

1. Wikipedia- Salvador Brau's Work

#SalvadorBrau #PuertoRico #History #Historia #CristobalColon #ChristopherColumbus #BookReview #19thCentury