Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dark side of Christopher Columbus

This is from a priest on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic) about when he arrived in 1508:

"there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this..."

"My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write..."

And this from the primary biographer of Columbus: "The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide."

By 1650, there were no Arawaks remaining on the island, having been anywhere from 1-3 million there when Columbus arrived. Suffice it to say, I will not be celebrating Columbus Day for a while.


::athada:: said...

how dare you! did not God deliver unto us the great land of the heathen, with a constitution descending from on high to boot?

i´ve yet to read Zinn´s ¨people´s history of the US¨ but apparently it starts with a scathing account of Columbus´¨missionary¨venture. many school teachers were shocked.

Ken Schenck said...

You've found my source :-)

I'm trying to read it with a critical eye, knowing that Zinn's been lambasted. So far, however, his prefatory remarks seem quite methodologically sound.

Anonymous said...

Yea, leave it to Schenck to read and promote a Anti-American & radical leftist perspective of history that builds the case that America is bad and evil. Most Marxists love this book and so will you!

Ken Schenck said...

If I keep reading and keep posting, I hope you'll help me see any blind spots I might have, Craig. I don't want to be fooled. That's why I stuck to primary quotes in the post. No one could argue the priest quoted here had a leftist agenda because Marxism didn't exist until 300 years later.

Christopher C. Schrock said...

Hold the phone...so you're saying anachronism is a bad thing?!

Ken Schenck said...

Only if you don't know you're doing it :-)

::athada:: said...

After reading, ¨You can´t be neutral on a moving train¨I think I could fairly characterize Zinn as a socialist, or at least big-gov´t supporter.

That has, of course, nothing to do with admitting our obvious history of Manifest Destiny, closely tied to racism, eviolence, and material gain at others´expense.

Ken, you did jar my brain for an observation: Europeans have spent more time in the Americas before the Declaration of Independence than since. There is a lot of history in those 280-some years, and sadly a lot of it ain´t pretty.