Racist attacks are especially hateful this year. So far for Columbus Day, Leftists have beheaded a statue of Christopher Columbus in New York, and the city of Los Angeles erased Christopher Columbu’s name from the holiday because he was White.
This is supposed to be the day we celebrate the discovery of America. In 1492, this continent finally connected with the rest of the world, and became a shelter to the Pilgrims. Shouldn’t we all celebrate the discovery of America? Somehow, Columbus Day become a day for Leftists to talk all about race. Who could possibly be in favor of Columbus Day?”
An American Indian news site asks this question, and declares it is “wrong to honor someone who oppressed Indians, and who avoided catastrophe only by dumb luck of colliding with an unknown continent.” Is it wrong to celebrate someone for discovering a continent? Unfortunately, we see this kind of racial alienation getting worse. In an age when skin color and racial history should not matter, racial tensions are skyrocketing.
There is no question that Spain oppressed American Indians. Millions died as a result of their bloody conquest, foreign disease, and enslavement. But was Christopher Columbus involved in this? Why is he the symbol of this conquest?
When Columbus Day comes up, you start to see Leftist blogs take quotes from Columbus’ journal out of context: “With fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.” Leftists say this means Columbus started the “enslavement of the native people.” They also claim as historical fact that Columbus took “captives” to parade through the streets of Spain.
But let’s look at the entire quote from Columbus’ journal:
“It might be converted into an island in two days, though I do not see that it would be necessary, for these people are very simple as regards the use of arms, as your Highnesses will see from the seven that I caused to be taken, to bring home and learn our language and return; unless your Highnesses should order them all to be brought to Castile, or to be kept as captives on the same island; for with fifty men they can all be subjugated and made to do what is required of them.”
Columbus was inquiring whether the natives should be conquered or simply taught European languages and customs. He certainly had colonizing on his mind, but it sounds like he only wanted to make them a colony under Spanish government, not slaves. The seven that he “caused to be taken” do not sound like they were captives, but ambassadors, and they soon returned home. Leftists incorrectly claim they were slaves. They snip off the end of the quote–“that they may learn to speak our language”–to falsely imply that these six natives were taken as slaves.
But it’s true, Columbus did take some captives back to Spain, according to The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas:
“Determined to show some reason for his explorations, and with gold in short supply in the Caribbean, Columbus sent back from Santo Domingo… the first known cargo of slaves to cross the Atlantic… captives from other islands whom Columbus considered, merely because they resisted him, to be cannibals, though they ate the flesh of their captives merely in order to appropriate their valor to themselves, as they believed.”
So maybe they kinda were cannibals, Thomas said, but they only ate humans to appropriate valor; there was no reason to stop them! Uh huh. Fact is, Columbus did not consider them cannibals merely because they resisted him. Actually Columbus had good evidence that these captives were bad people, people who regularly inflicted misery on other tribes and needed to be stopped, based on what Columbus was told by various natives:
“I saw some with marks of wounds on their bodies, and made signs to ask what it was, and they gave me to understand that people from other adjacent islands came with the intention of seizing them, and that they defended themselves. I believed, and still believe, that they come here from the mainland to take them prisoners.”
Leftists make it sound like a peaceful village was ransacked by the Spanish–native tribes who “show as much lovingness as though they would give their hearts.” Not true. It was cannibals who frequently attacked peaceful villages that Columbus took back as prisoners to Spain. The Aztecs were famously conquered by Cortez for much the same reason. Cortez thought he was justified because the Aztecs had gone around killing people and the land would be better for everyone if they were gone
Spain’s queen decreed that all slaves taken by conquistadors after Columbus be released, and that only “a certain people called cannibals might be fairly fought and, if captured, enslaved.” Spain’s government initially made every effort to colonize the land peacefully.
Social Justice Warrior Conquistadors
Obviously the queen’s decree was not followed very well. Many peaceful natives were enslaved and killed. Entire civilizations were wiped out. The decree to conquer cannibals was abused by money-seeking conquistadors. There is no doubt about it.
But was their motivation only money? Leftists like to point out that the conquistadors spread the Christian religion with the point of a muzzle. Columbus said, “I knew that they were a people who could be more easily freed and converted to our holy faith by love than by force.” So Columbus clearly did not want to force them to convert. But what does he mean when he says he wanted to “free” them?
From my reading of conquistador writings, they wanted to free the natives in much the same way Leftist social justice warriors (SJWs) want to “free” racial minorities today. Spanish conquistadors displayed the same kind of self-righteousness moral supremacy that we find among SJW activists today. Calls for peaceful conversion to their ideology turn into compulsion, they seek to censor competing ideologies, they indoctrinate through schools, and they launch moral crusades. It wasn’t “Christianity” who oppressed the Natives, but the Jesuit wing of the church, the same Jesuit sect that directs globalism in the Catholic Church today.
Friar Landa, one of the first Catholic missionaries to the Americas, said:
“…but there has come to them, without payment, that which can neither be bought or deserved, which is justice and Christianity, and the peace in which they live. For these they owe more to Spain and the Spaniards, and chiefly to their very Catholic sovereigns, which with such continuous care and such great Christianity have provided and do provide them with these two things… Their first founders did not know what order to give them that they might evade the so many and so great errors in which they lived. Justice has taken them out from that through the preaching, and it must keep them from returning.”
Let’s update a couple words to modern circumstances and see if this same line of thinking applies today:
“There has come to Southern conservatives, without payment, that which money can’t buy and which they don’t even deserve, which is social justice and Socialism, and the peace in which they now live. For these things they owe more to the Socialists, and chiefly to their very federal government leaders, which with such continuous care have provided great social justice, and do provide them with these two things… The founding fathers did not know quite what order to give them that they might evade the so many and so great errors in which they lived. Social justice has taken them out from that through the media platforms, and it must keep them from returning.”
See how the conquistadors were like Leftists today? Friar Landa went on:
“It is with reason then, that Spain can glorify God in that he elected her among the nations for the remedy for so many peoples, and for which they owe her much more than do their founders or progenitors… those were still greater vexations and aggravations which they perpetually inflicted on each other, killing, enslaving, and sacrificing them to demons. As to the bad example, if they have had such, or today have it from some, the King has remedied it, and daily does remedy it by his Justices.”
Land is saying Spain brought an ideology that civilized a backwards barbarian people, through social justice. You see this same attitude from today’s Left, whether it is overthrowing Qaddafi and instituting an Arab Spring, protecting gays in the “backwards” South, or just carving anti-religious slurs into cars at UC Davis. Today, who is it that spreads social justice to people they think are inferior? Is it Christians? No. It is secular Leftists.
The conquistadors tear down the statues of our founding fathers for the same reason they tore down symbols of the Native Americans’ founders and progenitors, because they consider their liberalism superior. They consider themselves the remedy for our ignorant and barbaric way of life. Friar Landa made it clear that the cause of “justice” made their attacks on the Native Americans good:
“I laid the charges and showed the Indians [had been] molested without fault… All this put the friars in great pain, knowing the wrong they had done, without order or justice, and thus they tried in every way to find faults in the Indians, to show that it had all been necessary.”
But hold on, Leftists today are anti-slavery aren’t they? How could they possibly be like the conquistadors? Well, consider how Leftists want to correct America’s “false narrative” about Columbus:
“Why was he like this? Because he was trying to “improve” the land through Catholic indoctrination and domination. Sure, Columbus didn’t know that pushing your religion on other isn’t cool. (Hell, we still have trouble with that one.) And, in his time, slavery seemed like a natural social organization. But now we know better. We know that enslaving people isn’t OK, and we know that conquering lands under the guise of “exploration” is not acceptable. And we know that horrid crimes against people are cause enough to strip someone of their celebration under a national holiday.”
In other words, social justice has evolved. It got a few things wrong in those days, like slavery; slavery is no longer okay. Colonizing as an explorer is outdated. Since “justice” is different today, we should no longer celebrate the old version of justice. We need to focus on our new updated justice, where Christians are ruined for refusing to bake gay wedding cakes and men are punished for hitting on girls in college who aren’t attracted to them. So really, the conquistador mindset is still there, it has just evolved to “modern” values.
The Left’s main gripe is that the Spaniards were spreading Christianity. How outdated! But I don’t see Bustle.com complain in their article about the destruction of indigenous language, religious writings, or the native ways of life. The left engendered a conquering ideology of social justice then, and while some values have changed, the ideology is still there.
Was Columbus Just Lucky?
Let’s go back to the claim that Columbus “avoided catastrophe only by dumb luck of colliding with an unknown continent.” What’s that all about? Firstly, America was not an unknown continent. What about Leif Erikson, Vespucci, or the Nordic people who explored upper Canada before Columbus? But I find it interesting that out of all the criticisms he could throw at Columbus, that journalist called him “lucky.” Why focus on his “luck?”
What if it wasn’t just “luck?” What if Columbus was guided by God? I know, crazy. That really blows their stacks, to think that God endorsed the Spaniards discovering America and going on to crush them. But as we have already seen, Columbus only took captive a few natives, those he observed behaving as violent criminals, and only later did Spaniards behave abusively and genocidal. But did God’s hand guide the connection between Europe and America?
“Despite the fact that, on his first voyage, Columbus left European waters during the Western Atlantic hurricane season, his fleet of three small ships experienced generally storm-free sailing weather as they cruised the West Indian Islands. Walter Henry has reconstructed possible weather situations from Columbus’ log book entries. Henry suggests that as Columbus approached the American waters, a cold front pushing off the Florida peninsula influenced his fleet’s course. Behind the front, northerly winds forced them to sail south, making landing first on San Salvador and then Cuba. Had the front not moved through the region, Henry believes, the Trade Winds would more likely have steered the fleet into the Gulf Stream and then northward up the US coast, making landfall in Florida or Carolina instead.”
He just happened to take the perfect route, and the weather just happened to be unusually good for him. That’s some real luck! But the left needs to make us believe that it was just simple luck, that the discovery and connection between Europe and America was simply an exploration voyage that got off track. This reinforces their narrative that social justice values are what’s important, and that we need their racially divisive ideology.