Let us forgo the celebration of Christopher Columbus today, with the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, he made an extraordinary crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, but with that being said we must recognize that Christopher Columbus was a monster.
He set out on his adventure and sailed in pursuit of his vanity, of wealth and titles. He sailed across the Atlantic four times and back; and he became wealthy, he earned those titles, but his vanity was never satisfied.
He was born in obscurity, an Italian from Genoa. As a boy he went to sea where he learned the skills and the knowledge that brought him to a captaincy.
In this aspect he was remarkable, and deserving of respect.
He became an adventurer in the service of the monarchs of Spain; Ferdinand and Isabella. He made his first voyage for them in 1492, as I learned by song, when I was a boy, that Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue.
He set sail on September 6th, and sighted land in what we now call the Islands of the Bahamas on October 12th. He named the island that he landed on San Salvador; exactly which island this was, is now lost to memory.
He expected to be in Asia, but to his surprise, and to the surprise of everyone back in the Spanish and European courts, there were other continents and other oceans they had yet to traverse in order to get to India.
They still wanted a westward route to India, but they were more than happy to discover the truth and learn the real shape of the world.
Columbus opened up these new continents and all of their peoples, to the incessant appetites and cruelties of the Europeans, to their hunger for gold, and for land and for war.
Columbus never sailed past the Islands of the Caribbean. He never set foot in what came to be known as the America’s, and his life was not without controversy.
He became wealthy and earned titles, but he was also arrested, jailed and relieved of his governance, before eventually being released.
His heirs did not inherit the titles he had earned, he never entered the true nobility. He died at the age of fifty four, a sailor from Genoa, Admiral of the Ocean Seas.
His coming to the West, was the beginning of the end for countless peoples, for tribes whose names history did not record, peaceful people who were captured and enslaved, and worked to death, the encommendero system began with him under the tyranny of Spanish rule.
We should note him for his historical significance, but the truth should be told and not celebrated.
Columbus was a harbinger of death.
Given 1st – 2018.10.08