The Catholic Spirit of Christopher Columbus

what_we_can_oAs the sun set, the Salve Regina hymn rang out across the Atlantic. Ninety men stood on the decks of three boats, led in prayer by Christopher Columbus, the foreign captain they had come to trust. They had kept the same ritual of evening prayers since they left Spain months ago, but tonight was different. Tomorrow would be the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, Spain’s great patroness. Columbus had promised his men that had they not spotted land by her feast day, he would order the ships to turn back, a promise he intended to keep. He knew Our Lady would not abandon the enterprise he had worked so hard to bring about. The signs that they were near land were increasing by the day.

As Columbus climbed the steps to his cabin, his gaze fell instinctively to the western horizon. Off in the distance, he caught sight of a light, like a candle rising and falling on the waves. Quickly, he called another man, who confirmed the sighting. The crews on all three ships were alerted, each man was on deck, peering out for signs of land nearby. At 2 a.m., the cry came out, “Tierra!” Land! The excitement of the crew was such that they hardly noticed the many hours it took to navigate the treacherous reef that surrounded their new destination. As Columbus knelt on the beach to give thanks, the following prayer rose from his lips:
“O Lord, eternal and omnipotent God, Thou hast, by Thy holy word, created the heavens, the earth, and the sea; blessed and glorified be Thy name; praised be Thy majesty, who hast deigned that, by means of Thy unworthy servant, Thy sacred name should be acknowledged and made known in this new quarter of the world.”1

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San Salvador
The above prayer, recited in Latin and the first spoken in the Americas, was followed by the chanting of the Credo, the Te Deum, and many other prayers in thanksgiving. As the banners were unfurled, the admiral solemnly proclaimed, “In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ…” He proceeded to claim the new land for his sovereigns, but not before first claiming it for his Divine Master, giving it the name San Salvador (Holy Savior).


The details in the above account of the first landfall of Europeans in the Americas are rather unknown in modern times. Historians have typically shied away from the Catholic aspects of Columbus’ journeys, either making passing mention or ignoring them entirely. Yet a reading of the writings of Columbus himself, along with the testimonies of his contemporaries, shows that the Catholic spirit permeated all aspects of life and was central to the mission of exploration.

While a detailed retelling of the events of 1492 and afterward is far beyond the scope of this article, we will examine the Catholic inspirations for the discovery, which are essential to understanding Columbus himself. Contrary to the opinion of many modern historians, and far from being a minor aberration, Columbus’ militant Catholic faith was the source of his greatness and influenced his every action.
Catholic Piety
All evidence shows Columbus was a man of deep devotion who took his faith extremely seriously. One of his contemporaries, Bartolome de las Casas, described him as a man of righteousness and deep piety:
“He observed the fasts of the church most faithfully, confessed and made communion often, read the Divine Office like a churchman, hated blasphemy and profane swearing, and was most devoted to Our Lady and to the seraphic father St. Francis. . .”2
These two devotions had many manifestations. The full name of Columbus’ flagship on the first voyage was Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepción (Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception). During the return of the first voyage, when the ships were in danger of sinking, Columbus and his men vowed a pilgrimage to the first Marian church they came to, which they fulfilled in the Azores two weeks later. Upon his return to Spain, Columbus made a pilgrimage to the monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Extremadura as a solemn act of thanksgiving.

As a Third Order Franciscan, Columbus was often seen wearing the Franciscan habit.

As a Third Order Franciscan, Columbus was often seen wearing the Franciscan habit, particularly when in the presence of clergy or nobility. His close personal association with the Franciscans was instrumental in securing contacts in the royal court, and provided much needed encouragement when it seemed the enterprise would never get the support it required. His son Diego remained in the care of the Franciscans at the monastery of La Rabida near Palos during the first voyage, where the friars took charge of his education. Upon his return to Spain, Columbus spent the summer of 1493 at La Rabida, preparing spiritually for the second voyage later that year.

After Columbus’ death, his second son Fernando would write of his father’s piety:
“In matters of religion he was so strict that for fasting and saying all the canonical offices he might have been taken for a member of a religious order. And when he had to write anything, he would not try the pen without first writing these words, ‘Jesus cum Maria sit nobis in via.’”3
This inscription is found in the majority of Columbus’ letters still extant. The literal meaning, “May Jesus with Mary be with us on the way” is a fitting prayer for an explorer, and could rightly be considered his motto.

Missionary Zeal
Scholars have been quick to point to the influence of Marco Polo’s Book of the Marvels of the World upon Columbus and his contemporaries, and rightly so. Yet the chapter which most influenced Columbus himself was the introduction. In it, we read of Polo’s father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo Polo, travelling to the Orient while Marco was still an infant. Their extensive travels eventually put them into contact with Kublai Khan, referred to in the book as the Great Khan. The Great Khan questioned them about life in Western Europe and the Catholic Faith, in which he took an interest. Upon their departure, he entrusted them with a letter to the Pope requesting 100 missionaries to instruct his kingdom in the Catholic faith, along with oil from the lamp at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. On the return of the Polos to the West in 1268, they discovered Pope Clement IV had died, and the long interregnum which followed prevented the Khan’s requests from being fulfilled.4

In his petitions to Ferdinand and Isabella over a period of 7 years, it was Columbus’ desire to fulfill the Great Khan’s request which finally persuaded the sovereigns to approve the journey. Aboard his flagship was a letter to the Great Khan from the king and queen, and Columbus went to great lengths in order to deliver it. In the prologue to the report on the first voyage, Columbus directly addresses this evangelistic mission:
“I had given [a report] to Your Highnesses about the lands of India and about a prince who is called ‘Grand Khan,’. . .how he had sent to Rome to ask for men learned in our Holy Faith in order that they might instruct him in it, yet the Holy Father had never granted his request, and thus so many people were lost, falling into idolatry and accepting false and harmful religions; and Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians and Princes, lovers and promoters of the Holy Christian Faith. . .  thought of sending me, Cristobal Colon. . . to see how their conversion to our Holy Faith might be undertaken.”5

“He was extremely zealous for the honor and glory of God; he deeply yearned for
the evangelization of these peoples and for the planting and flourishing everywhere
of people’s faith in Jesus Christ.”

Yet the mission to complete the Khan’s request for missionaries was but one aspect of Columbus’ desire to spread the Gospel. As Bartolome de las Casas wrote, “He was extremely zealous for the honor and glory of God; he deeply yearned for the evangelization of these peoples and for the planting and flourishing everywhere of people’s faith in Jesus Christ.”6 Upon his first encounter with the natives on San Salvador, Columbus concludes, “I recognized that they were people who would be better freed [from error] and converted to our Holy Faith by love than by force.”7

On six separate occasions, Columbus wrote to the Holy Father requesting missionaries be sent to the recently discovered islands, a request which was fulfilled. On January 6, 1494, the Feast of the Epiphany, the first Mass in the Americas was offered by a Benedictine who had accompanied the second voyage.

Five centuries after the fact, American Jesuit Fr. John Hardon would remark, “It is one thing to say that Columbus discovered America. It is something else to realize that he opened the door to the most phenomenal spread of Christianity since the time of St. Paul.”8
Crusader Spirit
A question arises from the modern reader: “What about the quest for gold?” As Columbus makes clear in his log, the finding of gold, spices, and other valuables is central to his mission, but not for the reason most are taught.

On December 26, 1492, Columbus had established a makeshift settlement named La Navidad on the north end of the island of Hispaniola from the wreckage of the Santa Maria, run aground on a reef. Seeing the hand of Divine Providence, he then proceeded to write of his desired result:
“I hope to God that when I come back here from Castile. . . I will find a barrel of gold, for which these people have traded, and that they will have found the gold mine, and the spices, and in such quantities that within three years the Sovereigns will prepare for and undertake the reconquest of the Holy Land. I have already petitioned Your Highnesses to see that all the profits of my enterprise should be spent on the conquest of Jerusalem, and Your Highnesses smiled and said that. . . even without the expedition they had the inclination to do it.”9
Now that Spain was finally free from Muslim domination (Jan. 2, 1492), the great desire to take the fight to the enemy and complete the liberation of the Holy Land could finally be completed. By sailing west, Columbus was aiming to outflank Islam, gaining access to the riches of the East so as to finance the retaking of Jerusalem. Since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, while Columbus was still a child, calls had come from all corners of Europe to renew the Crusade. Columbus saw himself as the instrument to fulfill the longed-for end.

In a letter to Pope Alexander VI, Columbus reiterates the seriousness of his intentions:
“The enterprise must be undertaken in order to spend any profits therein for the redemption of the Sepulcher and the Temple Mount unto Holy Church.”10
Historian George Grant succinctly concludes, “Clearly, the motivations of Columbus were shaped by the eons long conflict between Christendom and Islam. The evidence is inescapable. He sailed, not to discover a new world, but to find a way to recover the old one.”11

 

Our Great Debt to Columbus
The events of 1492 and afterward could have transpired far differently. The richest nation in the world at the time was China, followed by the Islamic caliphates which stretched from Morocco to the edges of the Far East. Why didn’t the Chinese expand their empire to the east across the Pacific? Why was it not a Muslim who established lasting contact between the continents? For that matter, why was it not an Indian who discovered Europe?

Modern historians are at a loss to answer these questions, and conclude that it was simply by chance that events unfolded as they did. This hardly explains the fact that Spain was the poorest nation in Western Europe at the time, bankrupt from its completion of the Reconquista. Yet not only did Spain successfully go about colonizing and evangelizing the Americas, it also kept the Muslims out of the Americas. Had Islam spread to the Americas in place of Christianity, what we know today as the United States could very well have been the United Emirates.

Columbus believed he was specially chosen by God to bring the Gospel to a people who were living in darkness and the shadow of death. He believed his given name, Christopher, signified the mission he was destined to carry out, as his son Fernando would later explain: “Just as Saint Christopher bore Christ over the waters, so too was he to bear the light of the Gospel over the vast oceans.”12

In conclusion, spreading the Catholic faith and acquiring riches so as to finance the retaking of Jerusalem from the Muslims were at the heart of Columbus’ mission. Any hopes of personal rewards or honors were secondary. In writing the royal treasurer of Spain at the completion of the first journey, he gives the reason all people, present and future, should celebrate what would come to be known as Columbus Day:
“And now ought the King, Queen, Princes, and all their dominions, as well as the whole of Christians, to give thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ who has granted us such a victory and great success. Let processions be ordered, let solemn festivals be celebrated, let the temples be filled with boughs and flowers. Let Christ rejoice upon earth as he does in heaven, to witness the coming salvation of so many people, heretofore given over to perdition. Let us rejoice for the exaltation of our faith, as well as for the augmentation of our temporal prosperity, in which not only Spain but all Christendom shall participate.”13

 

Five Myths About Christopher Columbus

1.  MYTH: Columbus was sailing to prove the world was round.

FACT: Every educated person at the end of the fifteenth century knew the earth was a sphere, a fact known since antiquity. What was in dispute was the earth’s circumference, which Columbus underestimated by one-fourth.

2.  MYTH: Queen Isabella sold her crown jewels to finance the first journey.

FACT: The royal treasury of Spain was depleted after the completion of the conquest of Granada early in 1492. However, Luis de Santangel, the royal treasurer, was able to secure funding by reaching out to the Crusading societies throughout the Mediterranean, as well as other financial backers from Spain and elsewhere. The crown put up very little to finance the journey.

3.  MYTH: There was a priest on board the Santa Maria in 1492.

FACT: Because of the dangers involved, there were no priests or friars on the first voyage, despite the deep piety of Columbus. Many of the paintings of the first landfall in the new world on San Salvador show a priest with Columbus—contrary to the facts. There were five priests on the second voyage: Benedictine Father Buil; the Jeronymite Father Ramon Pane; and three Franciscans.

4.  MYTH: Columbus introduced slavery to the New World.

FACT: Slavery was already widespread among the native Indians when Columbus arrived. Columbus was insistent on the fair treatment of the Indians, a policy which gained him many enemies as governor of Hispaniola. Bartolome de las Casas, a Spanish friar who worked for the protection of the Indians, is quick to excoriate his fellow Spaniards in their grave abuses, but is filled with nothing but respect and admiration for Columbus. The mass subjugation and importation of Africans to the Americas did not begin until a generation after Columbus’ death.

5.  MYTH: Columbus died a pauper, in chains, in a Spanish prison.

FACT: Despite the fact that the Spanish crown retracted some of the privileges promised to Columbus, he was relatively wealthy at the time of his death. Although he returned to Spain in chains in 1500 after his third voyage, the King and Queen apologized for the misunderstanding and had them removed.

On May 20, 1506, the Vigil of the Ascension, Christopher Columbus lay on his deathbed in his apartment at Valladolid, surrounded by his fellow Franciscans and his sons. As the friars chanted Compline, his last words echoed those of Christ on the cross: In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum. (Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.)

Christopher Columbus on his death bed

Notes:
1. Irving, Washington. A history of the life and voyages of Christopher Columbus. Paris: A. and W. Galignani, 1828. 237.
2. Grant, George. The Last Crusader. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1992. 85.
3. Columbus, Ferdinand. The life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by his son Ferdinand. 1. Madrid: 1892. 14-15.
4. Polo, Marco. The Travels of Marco Polo. Project Gutenberg, 2004. 11-14. http://www. gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10636/pg10636.html.
5. Marckham, Clements Robert, ed. The Journal of Christopher Columbus. London: Chas. J. Clark, 1843. 16-17.
6. Miller, Kevin A. “Why Did Columbus Sail?” Christian History. Oct 1992: 6.
7. Marckham, Clements Robert, ed. The Journal of Christopher Columbus. London: Chas. J. Clark, 1843. 37.
8. Hardon, SJ, John. “Christopher Columbus, the Catholic.” Fr. Hardon Archives. Inter Mirifica, 2003. Web. 27 Jun 2012.
9. Markham, Clements Robert, ed. The Journal of Christopher Columbus. London: Chas. J. Clark, 1843. 139.
10. Grant, George. The Last Crusader. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1992. 67.
11. Grant, George. The Last Crusader. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1992. 69-70.
12. Columbus, Ferdinand. The life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by his son Ferdinand. Vol. 1. Madrid: 1892. 6.
13. Columbus, Christopher. The first letter of Christopher Columbus to the noble lord Raphael Sanchez announcing the discovery of America. Boston: Trustees of the Boston Public Library, 1891. 16.

 

 

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  • po

    Very interesting. Thank you.

  • Well written! It’s time the historical manipulators who wish to bad-mouth Columbus are proven wrong in their fallacies about him.

    • Mary

      I agree.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

        Columbus was NOT a good man.

        • Zealous Ezekiel Zaretsky

          As with many great historical figures such as Lincoln & Washington, etc…They are a mixture of good & bad, devil & angel & also need to be judged according to their times…..Colombus fits into that mold to me….I think one needs to not totally accept the PC versions of totally bad or the legendary mythic versions of totally good!

        • Arminius

          Your comments are filled with the hatred of God Almighty and obviously steeped in secularism, socialism/communism and degenerate progressivism.
          I say that because that ‘bunch’ are determined to ‘re-write’ history in their image of total worship of the god, STATE.
          Wake up and listen to God for his love engulfs you if you but open your heart and Soul to its whispers, it’s warmth and it’s strength.
          You can continue on your tirade but in the end, you and all your ‘fellow travelers’ shall fall to Lucifer and his fallen and disloyal angels’ intrigue.
          Trust me, you shall fall.

  • gespin3549

    This will prove very useful in combating ignorance and nefarious revisionism.

  • Marcello1099

    Enough with the politically correct bilge that passes for history in this country. I was blessed to grow up in this country in the 1950s when Columbus was celebrated as a hero. What a tragedy that the quincentennial of the discovery of the New World in 1992 was hardly noticed, or if was, then in derision only. Bravo, for the admiral of the ocean seas!

    • PatriotGal

      Marcello, now, they want to totally do away with Columbus Day and call it indigenous persons day. Can you believe that PC garbage?

      • DRF

        That’s not new. This day has been Dia de la Raza (Day of Hispanics/Latinos) in Latin America for a very long time already.

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      But Columbus was shown to be into slavery for the Natives whom he said were innocent and kind. So we ignore what he did that to a people whom HE said he was there to evangelize because we want to prove something? Lying is a sin.

      • mhardin

        Was shown by whom? Back up inflammatory statements with proof…not some thoughts like…I learned it in middle school. Show us some manifestos from Columbus’ return to Spain that lists slaves as cargo. Besides that canard was addressed in the article.

      • Karl Leinfelder

        Dear Disqus-BK etc. Whether you realize it or not there are quite a few people who have been exposed to your factless comments and derogative approach. It would interesting to know where you are coming from (background, credo, etc.).

      • Arminius

        Did I read the same article?
        Please, re-read the article.
        Colon did NOT bring slavery it was already practiced by the Indigenous who had come from Mongolia, China, et al.

  • steve

    How did these truths get buried by America-hating revisionist liars??????

  • Cristina Valdes Colon de Carva

    First of all as a Catholic, second as a Spaniard and third as a descendant of Cristobal Colon, I want to thank you for puting history inits place.

    • enrique

      Cristina, Colon was not from Spain, he was Genovese from Geneva, he was Italian

      • Mike

        My grandparents came from Italy but have descendants in New York. Just to put your thoughts into perspective.

      • ad

        True, but he sailed for Castile.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        Yup

      • mhardin

        Yes but only Spain would underwrite the cost of the voyage, and many of Columbus’ descendants invariably call Spain home to this day. Thus God used Italy and Spain to save the new world!

      • Patricia Last

        Enrique,
        But his ships and his entire endeavor were financed by Spain. It was the flag of Spain that he planted on the newly discovered lands.

  • WILLIAM

    This proves, as I already knew, that Christopher Columbus was a pious man and only want to prove a direct route to the Indies. His discovery of “The New World.”. Opened the door for other nations to begin their voyages. It is heartfelt to hear that Columbus was NOT responsible for the introduction of slavery to the Americas. That honor goes to the Arabs and Ghanian Kings who sold blacks to the Portuguese. Spain imported African slaves after the island indigenous people died out. Disease was the factor. Liberals can castigate the fine man but he was pious and well meaning.

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      Pious??????
      His letters prove that he thought he would bring back 50 or so slaves back to Spain. HE wrote that. Is that the way we spread the Gospel?

      Hmmmm

      • WILLIAM

        You called them slaves, however Columbus brought back indigenous people so Queen Isabella could let them learn about Christ and then return to help instruct their people.

      • mhardin

        Hmmm…let me guess…Protestant? Atheist? Troll for the Democratic (let’s rewrite history) party?

        • Karl Leinfelder

          Cool, clever and to the point. I like your sense of humor and realism. Stay active!

  • disqus_BK27FkoO65

    Is THIS true? They seem to be quoting from Columbus’ own writings…

    The Enslavement of Native People

    On October 12, 1492 (the first day he encountered the native people of the Americas), Columbus wrote in his journal: “They should be good servants …. I, our Lord being pleased, will take hence, at the time of my departure, six natives for your Highnesses.” These captives were later paraded through the streets of Barcelona and Seville when Columbus returned to Spain. [4]

    From his very first contact with native people, Columbus had their domination in mind. For example, on October 14, 1492, Columbus wrote in his journal, “with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.”[5] These were not mere words: after his second voyage, Columbus sent back a consignment of natives to be sold as slaves. [6]

    Yet in an April, 1493, letter to Luis de Santangel (a patron who helped fund the first voyage), Columbus made clear that the people he encountered had done nothing to deserve ill treatment. According to Columbus:

    “they are artless and generous with what they have, to such a degree as no one would believe but him who had seen it. Of anything they have, if it be asked for, they never say no, but do rather invite the person to accept it, and show as much lovingness as though they would give their hearts.” [7]

    Nonetheless, later in the letter Columbus went on to say:

    “their Highnesses may see that I shall give them as much gold as they need …. and slaves as many as they shall order to be shipped.” [8]

    Can someone tell me whether the author rebuts this historical evidence?

    • L. J.

      As with the above excerpt on the history of slavery – hope you get a response too.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        I hope so too. Truth is truth. Las Casas is up for sainthood. I don’t think he made up what he saw:

        Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas

        Also known as

        Apostle of the West Indies

        Bartolomé de las Casaus

        Protector of the Indians

        Profile

        Ordained in 1510. Dominican friar in 1523. First Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico, serving from 19 December 1543 to 11 September 1550. Historian and social reformer who recorded the history and condition of the peoples in his diocese and the West Indies. His Cause for Canonization has opened.

        • disqus_BK27FkoO65

          Why all this fuss for Columbus? Leif Erickson was a Christian too. HE didn’t take slaves when he went to America.

          One day, while playing chess with Leif, King Olaf told him of how he used to also worship the gods Leif did. He also told him of how a plague had struck Norway and how many people had died. Then he told Leif of how he turned away from those gods and began to worship the living Christ. He was baptized along with thousands of Norwegians, and then the plague stopped.

          Leif, not being very faithful to the Viking gods, became very interested in Christianity. He finally agreed to be baptized and accept this new faith. On his return voyage, he brought along a priest to spread the Christian faith to Greenland.
          http://www.mnc.net/norway/LeifErikson.htm

          The Norse used to keep slaves. They sailed around a lot more than the Spanish. But they didn’t run to America, claim someone else’s land for their own and take slaves. Why did Columbus do that?

          I think I will post this on my Coursera Class site. Here’s the description of the class:

          This course ‘Unethical decision making in organizations : A seminar on the dark side of the force’ will teach you how narrow frames and strong contexts can push good people towards unethical decisions and how you can protect yourself and your organization against such forces lurking in the dark.

          This whole dialogue is a great example of how nice and good people can be totally blind to evil. Long live Las Casas Day!

          • kuhnkat

            Disquat, when you have some documentation on the source of those writings you think were Columbus, do let us know.

          • disqus_BK27FkoO65

            No problem. That’s a great question. Let me share:

            Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas, in the multi-volume “History of the Indies” published in 1875, wrote, “… Slaves were the primary source of income for the Admiral (Columbus) with that income he intended to repay the money the Kings were spending in support of Spaniards on the Island. They provide profit and income to the Kings. (The Spaniards were driven by) insatiable greed … killing, terrorizing, afflicting, and torturing the native peoples … with the strangest and most varied new methods of cruelty.”

            History of the Indies (written between 1527 and 1562, published in 1875)

            Let me share a full portion of this text:

            The History of the Indiesby Bartolome de Las Casas

            The Spaniards entered the province of Camaguey, which is large and densely populated . . . and when they reached the villages, the inhabitants had prepared as well as they could cassava bread from their food; what they called guaminiquinajes from their hunting; and also fish, if they had caught any.

            Immediately upon arriving at a village, the cleric Casas would have all the little children band together; taking two or three Spaniards to help him, along with some sagacious Indians of this island of Hispaniola, whom he had brought with him, and a certain servant of his, he would baptize the children he found in the village. He did this through out the island . . . and there were many for whom God provided holy baptism because He had predestined them to glory. God provided it at a fitting time, for none or almost none of those children remained alive after a few months….

            When the Spaniards arrived at a village and found the Indians at peace in their houses, they did not fail to injure and scandalize them. Not content with what the Indians freely gave, they took their wretched subsistence from them, and some, going further, chased after their wives and daughters, for this is and always has been the Spaniards’ common custom in these Indies. Because of this and at the urging of the said father, Captain Narvaez ordered that after the father had separated all the inhabitants of the village in half the houses, leaving the other half empty for the Spaniards’ lodging, no one should dare go to the Indians’ section. For this purpose, the father would go ahead with three or four men and reach a village early; by the time the Spaniards came, he had already gathered the Indians in one part and cleared the other.

            Thus, because the Indians saw that the father did things for them, defending and comforting them, and also baptizing their children, in which affairs he seemed to have more command and authority than
            others, he received much respect and credit throughout the island among the Indians. Further, they honored him as they did their priests, magicians, prophets, or physicians, who were all one and the same.

            Because of this … it became unnecessary to go ahead of the Spaniards. He had only to send an Indian with an old piece of paper on a stick, informing them through the messenger that those letters said thus and so. That is, that they should all be calm, that no one should absent himself because he would do them no harm, that they should have food prepared for the Christians and their children ready for baptism, or that they should gather in one part of the village, and anything else that it seemed good to counsel them—and that if they did not carry these things out, the father would be angry, which was the greatest threat that could be sent them….

            They [Spaniards] arrived at the town of Caonao in the evening. Here they found many people, who had prepared a great deal of food consisting of cassava bread and fish, because they have a large river close by and also were near the sea. In a little square were two thousand Indians, all squatting because they have this custom, all staring, frightened, at the mares. Nearby was a large bohio, or large house, in which were more than five hundred other Indians, close-packed and fearful, who did not dare come out.

            When some of the domestic Indians the Spaniards were taking with them as servants (who were more than one thousand souls . . . ) wished to enter the large house, the Cuban Indians had chickens ready and said to them: “Take these—do not enter here.” For they already knew that the Indians who served the Spaniards were not apt to perform any other deeds than those of their masters.

            There was a custom among the Spaniards that one person, appointed by the captain, should be in charge of distributing to each Spaniard the food and other things the Indians gave. And while the captain was thus on his mare and the others mounted on theirs, and the father himself was observing how the bread and fish were distributed, a Spaniard, in whom the devil is thought to have clothed himself, suddenly drew his sword. Then the whole hundred drew theirs and began to rip open the bellies, to cut and kill those lambs—men, women, children, and old folk, all of whom were seated, off guard and frightened, watching the mares and the Spaniards. And within two credos, not a man of all of them there remains alive.

            The Spaniards enter the large house nearby, for this was happening at its door, and in the same way, with cuts and stabs, begin to kill as many as they found there, so that a stream of blood was running, as if a great number of cows had perished. Some of the Indians who could make haste climbed up the poles and woodwork of the house to the top, and thus escaped.

            The cleric had withdrawn shortly before this massacre to where an other small square of the town was formed, near where they had lodged him. This was in a large house where all the Spaniards also had to stay, and here about forty of the Indians who had carried the Spaniards’ baggage from the provinces farther back were stretched out on the ground, resting. And five Spaniards chanced to be with the cleric. When these heard the blows of the swords and knew that the Spaniards were killing the Indians—without seeing anything, because there were certain houses between—they put hands to their swords and are about to kill the forty Indians . . . to pay them their commission.

            The cleric, moved to wrath, opposes and rebukes them harshly to prevent them, and having some respect for him, they stopped what they were going to do, so the forty were left alive. The five go to kill where the others were killing. And as the cleric had been detained in hindering the slaying of the forty carriers, when he went he found a heap of dead, which the Spaniards had made among the Indians, which was certainly a horrible sight.

            When Narvaez, the captain, saw him he said: “How does your Honor like what these our Spaniards have done?”

            Seeing so many cut to pieces before him, and very upset at such a cruel event, the cleric replied: “That I commend you and them to the devil! ”

            The heedless Narvaez remained, still watching the slaughter as it took place, without speaking, acting, or moving any more than if he had been marble. For if he had wished, being on horseback and with a lance in his hands, he could have prevented the Spaniards from killing even ten persons.

            Then the cleric leaves him, and goes elsewhere through some groves seeking Spaniards to stop them from killing. For they were passing through the groves looking for someone to kill, sparing neither boy, child, woman, nor old person. And they did more, in that certain Spaniards went to the road to the river, which was nearby. Then all the Indians who had escaped with wounds, stabs, and cuts—all who could flee to throw themselves into the river to save themselves—met with the Spaniards who finished them.

            Another outrage occurred which should not be left untold, so that the deeds of our Christians in these regions may be observed. When the cleric entered the large house where I said there were about five hundred souls—or whatever the number, which was great—and saw with horror the dead there and those who had escaped above by the poles or woodwork, he said to them: “No more, no more. Do not be afraid. There will be no more, there will be no more.”

            With this assurance, believing that it would be thus, an Indian descended, a well-disposed young man of twenty-five or thirty years, weeping. And as the cleric did not rest but went everywhere to stop the killing, the cleric then left the house. And just as the young man came down, a Spaniard who was there drew a cutlass or half sword and gives him a cut through the loins, so that his intestines fall out….

            The Indian, moaning, takes his intestines in his hands and comes fleeing out of the house. He encounters the cleric . . . and the cleric tells him some things about the faith, as much as the time and anguish permitted, explaining to him that if he wished to be baptized he would go to heaven to live with God. The sad one, weeping and showing pain as if he were burning in flames, said yes, and with this the cleric baptized him. He then fell dead on the ground….

            https://www2.stetson.edu/secure/history/hy10430/lascasashistory.html

            Read it for yourself.Share it with others. LasCasas is up for sainthood. Columbus is not. Read what La Casas wrote and you will see why.

          • Johnny

            In any case, dear friends, Columbus did not discover America, as so many people proudly claim. That was done by the Vikings, the Chinese to the west, and the Olmecs in Mexico, at various epochs in history. Columbus discovered the islands of the West Indies, and never even set foot in what was to become America. So let’s get the story straight, ok?

          • disqus_BK27FkoO65

            Yep and Leif who was Christian did NOT come back and take slaves. GO VIKINGS!!!!!!!

          • kev

            Diquis, you must be getting a kick-back every time you write Leif Erickson and Las Casas. You only quote one person and take that as truth. It is sad. There are so many people in this world who say things and make them truths. Why? Because you believe they are? I could do the same to your worlds, twist them and call them truth because I say so.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        Well, you saw the responses I have gotten so far. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

  • disqus_BK27FkoO65

    I found this written by a priest of his time:

    In Book Two of his History of the Indies, Las Casas (who at first urged replacing Indians by black slaves, thinking they were stronger and would survive, but later relented when he saw the effects on blacks) tells about the treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards. It is a unique account and deserves to be quoted at length:

    Endless testimonies . .. prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives…. But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then…. The admiral, it is true, was blind as those who came after him, and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians….

    Bartolome Las Casas tells how the Spaniards “grew more conceited every day” and after a while refused to walk any distance. They “rode the backs of Indians if they were in a hurry” or were carried on hammocks by Indians running in relays. “In this case they also had Indians carry large leaves to shade them from the sun and others to fan them with goose wings.”

    Total control led to total cruelty. The Spaniards “thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades.” Las Casas tells how “two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys.”

    If any of this is true then the author of this article should be ashamed of himself.

    • L. J.

      I really hope someone can clarify your posted excerpt.. rather disheartening.
      People do forget that slavery was accepted, and alive and well thru out the known world, even the civilized countries had indentured servants – many were poorly treated. Slavery, for all intents and purposes was in the bible. No human being should be ghastly mistreated or killed for pleasure. It is the wages of sin that cause people to treat others unfairly.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher

      BK27Fk065,

      My that is a strange name. Are you afraid to identify yourself on this Site?

      Why do you chose to believe one source and completely discard the other?

      Why is it that I was taught differently before this sick age of political correctness by non pc teachers?

      May God have Mercy on an amoral Amerika and His Church!
      Viva Cristo Rey!
      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
      Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        My Name is Trimelda Concepcion McDaniels.

        I believe what Bartolemeo Las Casas wrote because he was there and is being considered for canonization by the Roman Catholic Church.

        Ordained in 1510. Dominican friar in 1523. First Bishop of Chiapas, Mexico, serving from 19 December 1543 to 11 September 1550. Historian and social reformer who recorded the history and condition of the peoples in his diocese and the West Indies. His Cause for Canonization has opened.

        Bartolome De Las Casas, as a former slave owner who became Bishop of Chiapas, described these exploits. “Such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight as no age can parallel,” he wrote. “My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.”

        Do you not believe what your own church’s holy man said on this subject?

        • kuhnkat

          Why do you blame what happened later on Columbus?!?!

          I would suggest that the later Spaniards were also taking hints from the way the natives treated each other…

          • disqus_BK27FkoO65

            Oh, so the Christian Spanish who knew and loved God and were supposed to be there to spread the Holy Faith suddenly were corrupted by the mean ole Indians into being monsters?

            Let’s see what Columbus said about these mean ole Indians:

            “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

            Now let’s see what Father Las Casas said that COLUMBUS did to these Natives?

            Las Casas records, “They spared no one, erecting especially wide gibbets on which they could string their victims up with their feet just off the ground and then burned them alive thirteen at a time, in honour of our Saviour and the twelve Apostles.”

            https://www2.stetson.edu/secure/history/hy10430/lascasashistory.html

          • kuhnkat

            Look Disquat, here is what YOUR link says:

            “One of the most effective of these critics was Bartolome de Las Casas (1474-1566). Las Casas was nineteen years old when he witnessed Columbus’s triumphal return to Spain in 1493 and twenty eight when he sailed to Hispaniola in 1502. ”

            This man did NOT personally witness ANYTHING you are telling us on the first THREE trips as he was not there.

            If he was with Columbus on the 4th voyage he would NOT have seen Columbus doing what you describe as Columbus was NOT in charge of Hispaniola and, in fact, was ordered around disastrously by the Governor and then went exploring with no atrocities committed. He was stranded on Jamaica where he HAD TO keep peace with the locals to survive!!

            So again, where is supporting documentation for what Columbus PERSONALLY did?!?!?! It would not be the first time a gullible young man was taken in by tall tales about an eccentric…

        • Sam

          You have given no context for the above quotes. Is the reference to Columbus himself, to Spanish soldiers, later explorers, other Spanish officials, or whom? Fr. de Las Casas’ evidence has been described by others as “unreliable,” some based on his own data, some based on third-party stories. Fact is, Isabel had prohibited enslaving the Indians; moreover, many Indians welcomed the Spaniards as liberators, protecting them from the Aztecs & Incas, who had enslaved them and cannibalized them. A summary:
          http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6625
          For more detail, see the book I mentioned in my earlier response, “Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader.”
          As for Fr. de Las Casas’ cause for canonization, I note that it was suggested and promoted by a group of “liberation theologians,” who are not the most dependable sources. Whether the cause proceeds remains to be seen; it will have to be determined, among other things, whether the Friar’s writings are true or exaggerated, perhaps to the point of slander and falsehood. His work is certainly used for radical leftist political purposes.

          • disqus_BK27FkoO65

            1) Have you read History of the Indies by Las Casas? He quoted a lot more people than just what he thought about what he saw. If you want to be honest about this subject, read that in detail.

            2) Also have you ever read what the other priests wrote about the Spanish treatment of the Natives? They all said the same thing. Are they all Liberation Theologists too?

            3) The Natives on the island that met Columbus were not Aztecs. They were not enslaved. So how did Columbus and the Spanish”help” those Natives?

            4) I don’t care who uses what writings to “prove” whatever and neither should you. The question is whether what they wrote was true or false.

            5) The fact that the Blessed Mother had to appear in Mexico to help the oppression of the Natives who were ready to revolt against the Spanish tells you a lot right then and there.

            My biggest problem that I have with this article and the book is that the arguments for this wicked behavior are based upon ignoring the clear evidence for the mistreatment of the Natives by Columbus and his people which comes not from a bunch of raving, rabid “liberals” but holy people.

            Was THIS man a “liberal” too?

            Antonio de Montesinos (? – 1545) was a Spanish Dominican Friar, one of the first in the New World. He is best remembered for a scathing sermon delivered on December 4, 1511, in which he delivered a blistering attack on the colonists, who had enslaved the people of the Caribbean. For his efforts, he was run out of Hispaniola, but he and his fellow Dominicans were eventually able to convince the King of the moral correctness of their point of view, thus paving the way for later laws which protected native rights in Spanish lands.

            I am a Republican just like Fredrick Douglass and most African Americans before JFK. I am a conservative pastor who has been busted for sitting in abortion clinics and fighting Planned Parenthood in the inner city of Chicago. So I am not a liberal or some wild eyed pagan.

            I have no problem with other explorers like Leif Erickson, (a Christian) Viking who landed in the New World years before Columbus and did not set a national policy of enslavement and brutality towards Natives. So this is not about white people coming to the Americas.

            This is about people lying about history. Why? TELL THE TRUTH AND SHAME THE DEVIL. That’s what my Mama told me. I am not saying that Columbus kicked puppies and stomped kittens. I am sure HE thought he was a good man. But his deeds recounted in his own words shows that he was not.
            I don’t think you understand how scandalous your stance is for people who have studied this issue. There are too many witnesses to support what he wrote to show that he treated the Natives like dirt and shamed the Faith and the Name of Jesus Christ among the Natives. To this day you have to wade through this mess to even get the Natives to listen and hear the Gospel.

            Jesus is the Truth. Let’s tell it and stop covering up what’s real.
            2 Peter 2:2
            Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

            and

            Romans 2…23You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.

    • Walt Grabowski

      I would be careful about dismissing accolades for Columbus’ discovery and the later founding of America based on the presence of slavery. As terrible an act as enslavement is, it was hardly unique to white Europeans and Americans. Nor was it a new invention. It has always been curious to me that even scripture, where one might expect to find some condemnation, is largely silent on the rightness or wrongness of slavery even while making reference to its existence. Enslavement of some by others seems to be a condition of human existence on earth irregardless of race, nationality, or time. There is plenty of blame for slavery to be spread around all past and present inhabitants of Earth. To single out white explorers and Americans as somehow unique and then suggest they are without any merit seems dishonest.

    • Sam

      Where did you find this “information”? Who and where are the quotes from? For a reliable history, which covers a good deal of Columbus’ voyages, including charges made against him, see William Thomas Walsh’s “Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader.” There were and are many fabrications made against Columbus; nothing new.

      • Marcello1099

        Yes, great book. Of course, there is a move toward her canonisation. A great deal of calumny against Columbus and Spanish colonisation is largely because of Protestant polemicists in spreading the black legend: Spanish and Catholic — evil, bad, backward; Northern Protestants — good, enlightened, progressive. It still explains a great deal of prejudice against Latin peoples today.

  • Maria Elena Nelson

    This will be lost in Common Core.

    • Marcello1099

      More like Common Crap.

  • D25USMC

    Our Marxist dictators now call Columbus day, ” indigenous day “, Our school children, boys and girls, are now called “purple penguins”. Blame every democrat in the country.

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      Lying about history is WRONG. Here is what he wrote:

      “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

      • Marcello1099

        Human history is largely that of one people’s conquest of another. It is what it is.

  • Erin Fladmo

    This is an excellent article! Every American should read and ponder on it!

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      Ponder this:

      “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

      • Karl Leinfelder

        The color of your plumage is showing.

  • L. J.

    Italians can stay proud of their heritage with Christopher Columbus. Just the other day, my husband was repeating misrepresented facts about Columbus, for sure I am forwarding this article to him, as well as to my Italian family who has left the Catholic Church and to present Church friends so that they can get the facts straight should they be called to task. All the myths that were presented I was taught in school. I hope Catholic School and Home Schooled Children are being taught the truth…

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      Lying is a sin. The Gospel has been spat upon by Natives because everyone refuses to take seriously what Father Las Casas said about Columbus and what Columbus said about himself:

      “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

      • Arminius

        As you secular-socialist/communist-degenerate progressives say, If you believe it, it is true.

    • mhardin

      Not the Catholic school kids, I learned all the same claptrap in parochial schools 40+ years ago…But every homeschooled Catholic child probably is…

  • albertbryson

    October 12 is my birthday. I am very proud to be born on the true Columbus Day which should be celebrated on October 12. It a real shame some liberals want to get rid of that day.

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      I am a proud Pro Life Republican pastor who tells the truth about Rev Martin Luther King Jr who was a great leader who slept around as well as someone who embodied nonviolence. I do not lie about one of my culture’s leaders. Let’s look at the good and the bad. So why would I LIE about a man who wrote:

      “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

      Lying about history is sinful and scandalizes those who we want to reach for the Gospel.

  • Adam Miller

    Wonderful! For more great facts on Columbus and the Catholic expeditions and missionary work in America, check out the book: “Discovering a Lost Heritage: The Catholic Origins of America,” by Adam Miller. http://www.lulu.com/shop/adam-s-miller/discovering-a-lost-heritage-the-catholic-origins-of-america/paperback/product-6284036.html

  • Kenneth M. Fisher

    Steve, the answer to your excellent question is Masonry.

    If THEY haven’t removed it, our Founding Father, George Washington, had a beautiful picture of Our Blessed Mother hanging at the head of his bed, he probably died a Catholic!

    in a letter to a Masonic Protest-ant minister, he denied that he was a Mason; and when I was at Mt. Vernon, the young woman working at Mt. Vernon who was guiding our group, told us that he had a strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother.

    May God have Mercy on an amoral Amerika and His Church!
    Viva Cristo Rey!
    God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
    Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
    Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

    • Marcello1099

      There were always rumours of a deathbed conversion by Washington, but it’s probably something that can never be proven or another, this side of the grave anyway.

      • Kenneth M. Fisher

        Marcello,

        The picture that I saw hanging over George Washingon’s bed was no rumor!

        May God have Mercy on an amoral Amerika and His Church!
        Viva Cristo Rey!
        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,

        Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
        Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

        • Marcello1099

          I meant the conversion story was a rumour. If you saw the picture, then it was there, of course. But how to verify a deathbed conversion?

    • Mary

      I understand, Kenneth, the ‘Blessed Mother’ is the Patroness Saint of America.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        Yes, and she had to appear in Mexico to spread the Gospel after the Spanish exploited, raped and brutalized the Natives. Have you read what the priests wrote about the horrors the Spanish brought? Yes the Aztecs were horrible. But does that excuse what Columbus and his men did?

        “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

        • ITBWTW

          You do NOT know your history. Columbus never took 50 men and subjegated the indians. You quote is a BIG “So What?” The Indians had been enslaved and terrorized for hundreds of years before Columbus. The Aztec and Mayan Empires were full of slaves and demon sacrifices. In fact most ot the indians in South America EMBRACED the conqitadors as saviors and allies againt the Aztecs who were terroizing the small tribes, which explains how they wer aboel to conquere the entire continenet in such a short time. Mel did a great movie on those cultures.

        • mhardin

          I’ll bet if you write that 100 more times you can change… with 50 men we can conquer them all..to… We should take 50 of them as slaves to serve us…You know like our politicians do…just twist the truth repeatedly and people will start to believe you!

        • Arminius

          Your ‘circular’ argument proves nothing.

          Your lust for Lucifer and his fallen, disloyal angels’ claws by distorting facts with illusions of lies does not equal truth.

          When you grow up and live in the world and not in your cesspool mind, you shall see God’s Word.

          You fear God’s love because you’ve brutalized yourself fearing to expand your mental yearnings for God thus having to give up the illusion that there is a god and it’s name is STATE.

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      Oh so, Father Las Casas was a Mason when he denounced Columbus and what he and the other sailors did to the Natives?

      Columbus wrote:

      “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

      Leif Erickson didn’t take slaves of the Natives. Why is he given NO credit for what he discovered and Columbus who saw the Natives as slaves gets credit for discovering a place where millions of people already lived?

      Your denial shames Jesus and makes saintly men like Father Las Casas and St. John Paul II roll over in their graves.

      • Marcello1099

        Cotton balls and parrots! I can’t take it!

  • Marcello1099

    Facts that the PC revisionists won’t reveal is that the indigenous peoples already practised slavery when Columbus arrived, as well as ritual child sacrifice and cannibalism. I guess they were into “diversity” before it became fashionable!

    • DRF

      That’s because they’re not actually facts. Columbus never spoke of a “new quarter of the world.” Until his dying day, he swore that he’d made four trips to India, and we have his letters and journals to prove it.

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      Oh? Columbus didn’t see all these fine young cannibals:

      “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

      • Marcello1099

        Well, maybe not initially but those that came after sure did, i.e. Cortez, Pizarro, et al. Ask the indigenous peoples that the Incas subjugated how well they faired. Not so much fun turning your toddler over for her heart to be torn out while still living, eh? It was no wonder they turned on their rulers and joined with the Spaniards in overthrowing the ruling dynasty.

  • John

    What do you think that the Seattle City Council unanimously voted on Monday, October 6, 14 to proclaim the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a date previously celebrated as Columbus Day?

    • Mary

      That doesn’t even make sense.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        Oh? It is righteous to laud a man who didn’t discover America, (The Natives did) and who was not the first European to get to these shores (Leif Erickson did) and who saw the Natives as potential slaves?

        Wow,

        “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

        • Marcello1099

          The parrots and cotton balls again!!! Enough already!

    • DRF

      I think that “Columbus Day” shouldn’t still be a thing. I could get behind calling it New World Day or Two Worlds Day to acknowledge the effect that Columbus’s voyages had on history without lionizing the man himself. It’s already Dia de la Raza (“Day of the Race,” indicating the beginning of the Hispanic/Latino peoples) in Latin American countries. Seattle was just getting on board with that rather than making up their own new name for the holiday entirely.

      As Catholics, we should have full appreciation for renaming and re-imagining existing holidays to adapt to greater wisdom.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        That would be nice. Saint John Paul II wrote:

        he early encounter between your traditional cultures and the European way of life was an event of such significance and change that it profoundly influences your collective life even today. That encounter was a harsh and painful reality for your peoples. The cultural oppression, the injustices, the disruption of your life and of your traditional societies must be acknowledged.

        At the same time, in order to be objective, history must record the deeply positive aspects of your people’s encounter with the culture that came from Europe. Among these positive aspects I wish to recall the work of the many missionaries who strenuously defended the rights of the original inhabitants of this land. They established missions throughout this southwestern part of the United States. They worked to improve living conditions and set up educational systems, learning your languages in order to do so. Above all, they proclaimed the Good News of salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ, an essential part of which is that all men and women are equally children of God and must be respected and loved as such. This Gospel of Jesus Christ is today, and will remain forever, the greatest pride and possession of your people.

        3. One priest who deserves special mention among the missionaries is the beloved Fray Junipero Serra, who travelled throughout Lower and Upper California. He had frequent clashes with the civil authorities over the treatment of Indians. In 1773 he presented to the Viceroy in Mexico City aRepresentación, which is sometimes termed a “Bill of Rights” for Indians. The Church had long been convinced of the need to protect them from exploitation. Already in 1537, my predecessorPope Paul III proclaimed the dignity and rights of the native peoples of the Americas by insisting that they not be deprived of their freedom or the possession of their property (Pauli III, Pastorale Officium, 29 maggio 1537: Denz.-S. 1495). In Spain the Dominican priest, Francisco de Vitoria, became the staunch advocate of the rights of the Indians and formulated the basis for international law regarding the rights of peoples.

  • David Hollingsworth

    Like you said, everyone agreed that the Earth was round. The main discussion was could you reach India by sailing west? Columbus was influenced by a map made by Marco Polo in which he showed the Cepangu and the Spice Islands and indications of another ocean. They say on this count he ran afoul of the Inquisition for his beliefs that he could reach India sailing in this direction. His final convincing statement to undertake this journey was his statement of the chance to carry the Message of Christ. This allegedly convinced Queen Isabella to speak for it. His identity and place of birth are subjects of speculation – Calvi,Corsica has a statue proclaiming this city as his his birth place. At that time Corsica was a part of the Citystate of Genova – thus the idea that he was Italian. There are also some towns in Catalonia,Spain that claim to be his birthplace. His name in Catalan is Colom. As for the Moslem thing, I’ll tell you a little story sometime at a later date about Suleyman the Lawgiver( the Magnificent ).

  • smokersodysseycom

    thank you!

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      Happy Take Credit For Someone Else’s Discovery Day

  • IrishEddieOHara

    Here is another account, posted on a website:

    “Oppression built slowly. Columbus’s initial voyage seized a few dozen Native men and women, some as slaves, others to present at the Royal Court. Then his goal was largely exploratory. After his second voyage he wrote to his King, “From here, in the name of the Blessed Trinity, we can send all the slaves that can be sold.” Spain’s rulers eagerly supplied him with 17 ships, a thousand soldiers, priests who would conduct mass conversions, and orders for a brutal colonization. He began an island to island search for gold and slaves that decimated families, villages and cities.

    Las Casas a Dominican Priest, was one of the first Spaniards to denounce his country’s invaders as “ravening wild beasts, wolves, tigers and lions” whose ultimate aim . . . is to acquire gold.” The “only true Christians in the Americans” he stated, were Native Americans. Indians, he found, had their own name for the Spain’s Christians – “Yares” or devils.

    Columbus did not “discover” anything but islands filled with people who greeted him with water, food and gifts. He repaid their generosity with treachery. He introduced two continents and many islands to a the most devastating and extended holocaust in human history. As a devout servant of God he relished his work and had no regrets or apologies.”

    Here is the full narrative, done by a historian:

    http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/10/11/christopher-columbus-driven-ill-winds

    Now I tend to be a little skeptical of this, simply because the Left is filled with Marxists who have no qualms about lying it if advances the Marxist cause. At the same time, there appears to be no rebuttal of what has been written. The writer claims to use letters from Columbus to ascertain his methods and motives.

    So….my point in posting this is to ask: where might one find a good, full (and I mean detailed!), and honest history of Columbus which is devoid of embellishments and politics, a history which will give us a true picture.

    Thank you.

    • DRLJR

      What are called “Progressives” have been distorting history for a long time. It is part of an agenda to control people. One such organization is the National Education Association. It started out as a utopian society in the late 1800s. As to your question one must go to the source material and look for schools that are not infected by the “Progressives” or “Left”.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        Read what Father Las Casas wrote. He is up for canonization as the “Defender of the Indians.” He was not a Leftist. He was a saint who repented of his sins against the Natives.

        Here is what Columbus wrote HIMSELF:

        “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

        • DRLJR

          Your comment is not relevant to my post. Consider, what we call Puritanism. A Puritan would laugh at the stupidity of it. It came out of the Victorian era, which is the era of the “Progressives” and the Utopian societies what to this day are doing their best to control people and distort actual history. Columbus was not perfect and people with an agenda will often carefully edit what is said or written to create a false image. One has to look at what the media presents as facts to see this. Which is why I said to look at the original sources and keep in mind even a person such as Father Las Casas writings are subject to editing.

          • disqus_BK27FkoO65

            My comment spoke directly to the idea that Columbus was more than just misguided and a man of his time. He was a slaver,

            1) Father Las Casas was a man of his time. Why did he denounce what Columbus did?
            2) You said that maybe it was taken out of context. Okay, then go read what he wrote. It’s online. I challenge you to read it and then honestly ask yourself whether it matters.
            3) And why are we celebrating the discover of a land that was already occupied by millions of people and had already been discovered by Leif Erickson who did not bring back slaves. Just fish.

        • Danny

          Stop being a cock.

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

      Finally someone actually questioned what other people of his time said about the EVIL Columbus did. Do the research yourself. Go read the History of the Indies by Father Las Casas.

  • Babu Bhatt

    This article is laughable. Just because Christopher Columbus was Catholic you want to glorify him. A little less romanticized research shows the man was a power hungry elitist who was only concerned about his own interest. You also act as if there was divine intervention in Chris’s journey to Hispaniola. Thy will be done…..but if He is going to do whatever he wants anyway why bother praying in the first place? Why wouldn’t he just rid the world of Muslims? His crusades were also a failure as well.

    • Lorraine

      Babu, His will be done is a prayer that we do His will, which is that our souls live with Him eternally. We believe evil is a person who hates us and God and who wants us dead to spite God – and we are wounded and tend to evil too. Without His help and Grace, we cannot accomplish it. God has made us free, it is the nature of Love to encourage, help and wait for the beloved. So we are free to choose the wrong one.
      God doesn’t destroy ever, loves all His creation and wants all Muslims converted, but He is not magic – we are free and must choose for ourselves to Love. This website has great articles about true love and freedom. http://www.chastitysf.com

      • Babu Bhatt

        So God “Makes us free” but then this article suggests that it was his divine intervention that brought Columbus to the Americas, which in turn spread Christianity. You can’t have it both ways, either God is responsible for the spread of Christianity in the West and lack their of in the Middle East. Perhaps with that logic God directly used Mohammed, Rashidun , and other caliphates to spread Islam in the middle east. Give credit where credit is due.

        • Marie

          The article about Christopher Columbus has nothing to do with giving credit to someone. Babu, why do you change the subject. We are simply citing ”History” and this piece of history is to talk about Christopher Columbus ‘ life. Period. Every one of us have a specific journey and that was his. Period.
          You cannot change history. Facts are facts. Period.

          • Babu Bhatt

            Correct, you cannot change history, however you can look at history from different perspectives. Just because Christopher Columbus was Catholic, some people want to glorify him with a romanticized version of his journey to the West.

          • disqus_BK27FkoO65

            No you can’t change history and Columbus wrote his intentions openly:
            “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

            Bad man. And he didn’t even “discover” America. The Natives Got Here First and the first European on the scene was Leif Erickson.

          • Marcello1099

            Enough with the frigging balls of cotton and parots already!

          • Jason DeRosa

            The land that Leif Erickson “discovered” was far different and no where near the land Columbus landed. It’s like if I went on vacation to Denver and said I’ve been all over North America. Secondly, even the “fact” the Leif Erickson was the first European to reach America is contested. There are many theories as to who made it to this continent first, including some from Asia and the Pacific Islands. Thirdly, Columbus was not a perfect man. Nobody claims he was. Slavery, while clearly wrong, has been, and is still accepted in much of the world. The Native Americans had been enslaving each other long before the arrival of Europeans. It was not a novel idea. My last point is that the majority of acts you wish to condemn Columbus for, were committed long after he returned to Spain. While yes, Columbus accepted slavery, he was kind and did not believe in cruel punishment or in mutililating people for pleasure.

        • Marcello1099

          Babu, you sound like a Calvinist. Do you believe in predestination?

          • Babu Bhatt

            I believe in Final Destination 1 & 2. 3, 4, and 5….not so much.

    • disqus_BK27FkoO65

      And this “story” is a LIE. Leif Erickson was the first European to get to the Americas. STOP Saying that he discovered America. That is like me coming to your house and planting my family crest on your lawn and saying I discovered your property.

      I think I am going to do that next year to “celebrate” Columbus Day.

  • Mary J. Charbonneau

    ‘Happy Columbus Day’! Everyone!

  • Adriana Medina

    No, he was not a hero. I am Catholic and I know what he wrote, in Spanish, and he blatantly wanted to subjugate the natives (and he did).

  • DRF

    People ignore this part of “history” because it is not history. Columbus NEVER spoke of a “new quarter of the world.” He maintained until the end of his life that he had reached India, and his letters and journals prove it. If this article didn’t get its facts right there, then all of its content is suspect. It is useless.

    • Marcello1099

      So he was a little confused, so what? The voyage remains a feat of phenomenal navigation

      • DRF

        Oh I’m not knocking the landing in the New World. That had an enormous impact on human history. I’m saying that if you want people to remember the real story of Columbus, as this author purports to, then you must check your basic facts to establish your credibility. This author got a very basic fact wrong, claiming that Columbus knew that he’d come to previously undiscovered (by Europeans) land. Religion probably DID play a role in Columbus’s voyages, but because this guest write has established a willingness to repeat falsehoods, I can’t trust anything else in the article. It’s useless as an education tool.

        • disqus_BK27FkoO65

          And the author ignores what Father Las Casas said about the wickedness of Columbus and the Spanish towards the Natives.

          • DRF

            The thing you have to remember about de las Casas was that he had no concept of the effects of disease. He saw densely populated cities depleted of their people and thought that the effect was ENTIRELY due to Spanish mistreatment. It was really both things.

      • disqus_BK27FkoO65

        And Leif Erickson is what, chopped liver? He was the first European to hit these shores and HE did not take slaves. Unlike Columbus:

        “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells,” Christopher Columbus wrote in his logbook in 1495. “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. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

      • Babu Bhatt

        Try navigating the Polynesian triangle with what is essentially a rowboat in 200 AD.

        • Marcello1099

          Babu,
          You are 100% right. I vacation often in Hawai`i and have been to Tahiti and Fiji. That the early Polynesians were able to navigate as you say is nothing short of miraculous. They used some innate sense or ability that did not depend on compasses and technology but probably relied to some extent on celestial navigation. I don’t think anyone understands it fully to this day. Of course, what Columbus did was miraculous for his cultural and technological milieu. This is not to denigrate either what the Norsemen accomplished. Unfortunately for them, they were militarily on the same level as the Indians. Had they had the use of gun powder, the history of North America would have been totally different. And that’s not even taking into account the very real possibility that ancient mariners crossed the Atlantic and visited South America in antiquity. The whole topic is utterly fascinating and has held my interest since childhood.

  • Keziah

    Thank you for refreshing my memory of the real history. I am an indigrnous and Roman Catholic, a celebration of my culture needs a day of its own not besmerching another’s just day of celebration.

  • Monica

    Who is the author called “guest writer”?

  • Dr. Robert Schwartz

    It would be difficult for me to reconcile the many disparate views expressed in the Comments here. The overriding purpose of Columbus’s daring voyage was to find an all-water route to the many spices that were flowing to Europe through Muslim traders in the Middle East. Thus, the religious theme was of paramount importance to Columbus as he studied the geographers that brought him to the conclusion that the world was round. That fact drove him to find a route to the wealth embodied in the spice trade, as well as the precious metals which had signaled at least some signs of their presence in the region. Perhaps the most valuable spices were pepper (a meat preservative in a refrigerator-free universe) and sugar (a much appreciated additive to a diet).

    Was Columbus authorized to treat the natives as he wished, i.e., as slaves? No. It was the colonists who flooded the New World’s shores in search of land who began to abuse the natives. This brought Father Las Casas to write the Crown, describing the abuses of the colonists. This resulted in the Crown’s issuing the New Laws of the Indies in A.D. 1532, forbidding the injustices perpetrated against the natives. “Where no laws exist to restrain human beings, men become degenerate toward their brothers.” The New Laws declared that the natives were unquestionably human beings and were to be taught Catholic doctrine and Spanish culture, which included the language and the customary laws governing people and their economies. In short, the natives were to be protected as human beings and were to be slowly introduced into the way of life of Spaniards of the era.

    As early as A.D. 1570 the new viceroy of Peru, Toledo, began his reforms to protect the natives of the former Inca Empire, as well as those who had never been incorporated into the Empire. His major reform was to establish restricted neighborhoods encompassing large areas of today’s Andean countries. There a Spanish official was to set up the new way of life, including Catholicism, landholding, agriculture and pastoral care, all this in a controlled environment without the presence of Spanish colonists. They had abused the natives after the fall of the Empire (1532-35), and it was the farsighted efforts and organizational skills of Viceroy Toledo that produced an orderly acculturation of the Andean natives. The system also allowed for the collection of a head tax for the Crown, churches and religious instruction, together with the introduction of academic classes and many more institutional changes that led to the orderly development of the Andean countries. It also broke down the ethnic identities of the many cultures, as the groupings were not based on cultures or bloodlines. The land itself was divided into individual plots, uinlike the generic holdings that preceded the Conquest Era.

    The best means of gaining a balanced view of the entire Conquest Era and its two- or three-sided motivations would be to read the early histories of the Franciscans, the Dominicans, the Jesuits, the Augustinians, and the many other religious men and women who came to the New World with a zeal for Christianizing and educating the Native Americans, for protecting and assisting them, moving them from their level of religion and its values to the religion, the value system, and the entirely different world view, i.e., way of life, enjoyed by the Spanish.

    The men whose hands played the major role in this effort never expected to return to their homelands to renew family bonds. Their zeal to spread their faith led them to a life of self-sacrifice that resulted in their torture and death in the name of the Catholic faith. Their names are best found in dusty books written during those times of upheaval as the natives of the Americas gradually transitioned into the countries and their peoples of today.

    Even today there remain pockets of Native Americans who retain their ancestral cultures. Some thirty-two tribes in Brazil’s Amazon remain “uncontacted” by the West. Many are to be found in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, as well, even as missionaries from the Christianized world continue to follow in the footsteps of their exemplars. In our contemporary time the soldiers of the Conquest have been replaced by today’s countrymen, who still seek to exploit, but now through natural resources, the land itself, with its forests and animals that form the very homes, watersheds and food sources of the First Americans.

  • woulddragon

    I am relieved that Christopher Columbus’ reputation is being saved from virulent anti-Catholic attack spawned by, of all people, Washington Irving. I regret only that my daddy-dearest (God knows that I love him) will, most likely, go to his grave still clinging tenaciously to these myths.

  • yters

    This article is a source of a lot of dislike of Columbus day:
    http://theoatmeal.com/comics/columbus_day