Let’s start by differentiating between real facts and personal opinion. When judging numbers from the past, we need to be sure to check all the facts and leave out the personal biases that often influence our thinking.
Those who want to directly blame the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus for all the suffering of the indigenous peoples who followed his landing in the Bahama Islands on October 12, 1492, ignore the facts of history. If we could only read primary historical sources like the writings of his contemporary, Brother BartolomÃ© de Las Casas, we would know that none of the atrocities attributed to Columbus are true. Modern scholars like Robert F. Petrone and Stanford Professor Emeritus Carol Delaney have spent years studying these original documents and other artifacts that prove that Columbus was in fact a civil rights activist.
Petrone, for example, read the original Spanish text of De Las Casas, Historia de las Indias (History of the Indies) and learned that these acts of cruelty were in fact committed by Columbus’ nemesis Francisco de Bobadilla, who blamed Columbus for attempting to oust him from the post of governor of the West Indies. Columbus successfully sued Bobadilla for libel in court. However, these debunked accusations were resurrected 500 years later by pseudo-historian Howard Zinn for his controversy. Popular history of the United States.
Professor Delaney, meanwhile, spent 10 years traveling and studying the artifacts of Columbus to write his own book, Columbus and the quest for Jerusalem. This world scholar agrees with true historians like Petrone who have made it clear that all the tired slander directed against Columbus is just a collection of lies.
Not only that, there is strong primary evidence that Columbus fought endemic racism, rape, murder, slavery and genocide committed by his political enemies like Bobadilla. He even successfully called on the widowed King of Spain to enact the first civil rights legislation in the Americas, explicitly prohibiting Spanish settlers from enslaving or mistreating the natives.
A vivid example of Columbus’ heroic concern for indigenous lives was on his second voyage when he sailed the Caribbean archipelago from island to island, saving the Tainos from capture and slavery by tribes cannibals Carib and Canib. Let me be clear. Christopher Columbus saved these people from the carnivorous natives. He even adopted the son of a Taino chief who had been killed in a tribal war.
As a descendant of Italian Americans and a lover of history, I am proud of my heritage and the proven fact that a native of Italy initiated more than 500 years of cultural, economic and political exchanges between the Ancient and the New World. I recognize that there was suffering among the native tribes – some due to their own practices – and others due to susceptibility to European diseases like smallpox. What I mean here is that Christopher Columbus did his best to protect these people from the mistreatment by settlers and others. He doesn’t deserve the blame for crimes he didn’t commit and tried to prevent.
– Gloria Cipollini Endres