Published October 11, 2010
I’m sure it’s happened to you, as it did to me, again, last night: Some starry-eyed collegian told me that Christopher Columbus shouldn’t be celebrated because of his treatment of native Americans. Oh, and surprise, surprise, she was armed with nothing more than her university professor’s insistence.
If Mark Twain was right that a lie can travel halfway around the world before truth has a chance to put on its shoes, imagine the damage a lie can do over 500 years.
Let me introduce you to Francisco de Bobadilla – liar and Columbus usurper. The criticism of Columbus today comes from de Bobadilla. Who was he? The man who wanted Columbus’s job as governor of Hispaniola.
In 1500 the King and Queen sent him to North America to investigate claims that Columbus wasn’t being fair to the European settlers (which means Columbus was protecting the Indians). So de Bobedilla came here, and in just a few short days did his investigation (with no telephones or motorized vehicles to help him), and promptly arrested Columbus and his brothers for Indian mistreatment and sent them back to Spain, sans a trial. Oh and, he also appointed himself governor. Coup de coeur for power lead to coup d’ etat, as usual.
The King and Queen out these shenanigans and sent for be Bobadilla two years later, but he drowned on the trip home. Columbus was reinstated as admiral.
But what we know of Columbian malfeasance comes from a defrocked liar, de Bobadilla.
Columbus came back a year later to find that the Taino Indians killed all of them and left them where they fell. Columbus went to war with the Tainos and took 500 of them as prisoners of war, not slaves. They were released after the war.
Big difference, of course.
It is also wrong to blame Columbus for bringing genocidal microbes to kill native Americans. His detractors make fun of him for thinking he was in the East. So was his evil plan then to bring disease to wipe out the East?
Europeans didn’t know anything about germs until Italian physicist Girolamo Fracastoro proposed the theory 40 years after Columbus died.
Also, had an Indian built a boat and traveled to Europe and back, he would have contaminated the Indians too. Transcontinental contamination was going to happen at some point, making the first carriers irrelevant.
Brown University recently changed the name of the Columbus Day holiday to “Fall Weekend” due to the Columbus slave allegations. Hypocrisy alert: Brown University was partly founded with slave trade money, according to the university's own reports. But they didn’t vote to change the name of their college!
Happy Columbus Day!
Tommy De Seno is a writer and an attorney. Read more from Tommy De Seno at JustifiedRight.com.