Sunday, September 12, 2010

Truth Behind Christopher Columbus

When you hear the name Christopher Columbus, you think of a splendid man who discovered America in 1492, but according to Bartolome de las Casas (pictured left) Columbus wasn't the man we all thought he was. Casas was a Dominican priest who just a few short years after Columbus came to the newly discovered lands. In de las Casas book, The Devastation of the Indies, he describes the horrid acts of violence Columbus and his men performed on the weak natives of the land. According to Bartolome the ultimate goal of the newcomers was to aquire gold and lots of it, and if these natives were unable to meet the needs of gold by the Spanish they would be slain. Some natives attempted to run away in order not to be killed, but Columbus' men were equiped to kill, with their horses, armor, lances, pikes, pifles, crossbows, and vicious dogs. The natives who stole from the Spanish were beheaded right on the spot with no warning. Does this seem like the great Columbus we grew up loving? Some women who would be taken prisoners would be raped and later become pregnant, these newborns were thrown into the jungle to die, some older children were given to the dogs for food. Screwed up I know, many other children would die of starvation because of there mothers being overworked and not being able to produce milk for their young. Finally, Columbus created about 340 gallows to be used for the killing of any native who couldn't deliver a certain amount of gold.(pictured right)


StevenG said...

Great post! It was very informing and I especially liked how you got a video that got the point of a public hanging without it being real. Great work!

A. Mattson said...

Nice work. de las Casas is the most powerful source you can read about the early years of the Spanish Conquest. He was a participant in his early years and a critic of the process in his later years. His views were not shared by the majority of the Spanish who occupied the Caribbean.

Even if he was a "voice crying out in the wilderness" it is still nice to know that there were a few people who were horrified at the nature of Spanish conquest and believed in respectng the basic humanity of the native peoples, if not their cultures.