Happy Columbus Day America! Are you celebrating yet? Do you think Columbus is a great man or a mythological creation of history to support conquest?
I mean, if Columbus was alive today, would he be a Trump Supporter? I say let’s take a serious real historic look at the man and NOT the myth. And then we can decide if he would be a Trumpster.
First, Christopher Columbus never landed in the USA. That’s right, he never stepped foot on the land we know as the USA.
He actually likely landed in what is now known as the Bahamas. He called it San Salvador (meaning “Holy Savior”); the natives called it Guanahani.
The explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain: in 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502. He was determined to find a direct water route west from Europe to Asia, but he never did. Instead, he stumbled upon the Americas. Though he did not really “discover” the New World—millions of people already lived there—his journeys marked the beginning of centuries of exploration and colonization of North and South America.
Did you know? Christopher Columbus was not the first person to propose that a person could reach Asia by sailing west from Europe. In fact, scholars argue that the idea is almost as old as the idea that the Earth is round. (That is, it dates back to early Rome.)
Columbus wanted fame and fortune. Very Trump-esque indeed. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella wanted the same, along with the opportunity to export Catholicism to lands across the globe. (Columbus, a devout Catholic, was equally enthusiastic about this possibility.)
Columbus’s contract with the Spanish rulers promised that he could keep 10 percent of whatever riches he found, along with a noble title and the governorship of any lands he should encounter. So a religious nut and profiteer. Sounds like America’s evangelical right-wing Christians to me.
For months, Columbus sailed from island to island in what we now know as the Caribbean, looking for the “pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices, and other objects and merchandise whatsoever” that he had promised to his Spanish patrons, but he did not find much. In January 1493, leaving several dozen men behind in a makeshift settlement on Hispaniola (present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic), he left for Spain.
The settlement was called Isabella. When he returned on his 2nd voyage, all the men were gone, dead.
Anyways, Columbus kept a detailed diary during his first voyage. Christopher Columbus’s journal was written between August 3, 1492, and November 6, 1492, and mentions everything from the wildlife he encountered, like dolphins and birds, to the weather to the moods of his crew. More troublingly, it also recorded his initial impressions of the local people and his argument for why they should be enslaved.
“They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” he wrote. “They willingly traded everything they owned … They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features …They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron …They would make fine servants … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
Columbus gifted the journal to Isabella upon his return.
He was basically a slave creator, a slave master, a pro-slavery conqueror. Trump? Yes, I think Trump would approve. Trump is clearly a white supremacist and Aryan believer. His support for white supremacy is well documented and noted. So he would love Christopher Columbus; would probably say there are great people on both sides and award Mr. Columbus with a lovely supportive tweet.
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