Preserve Columbus - The Hero

 

Coumbus-Civil Rights Leader

Coumbus-Civil Rights Leader

First, it bears reiterating that NONE of the atrocities committed against the tribal peoples of the Americas were committed or authorized by Columbus.  In fact, he actively fought against the conquistadors who committed atrocities against the tribal peoples of the West Indies.  This is clear from the primary sources, in particular, History of the West Indies (Historia de las Indias) by Bartolomé de las Casas, who wrote a first-hand account of the first sixty years of the settlement of the West Indies -- someone NO ONE ELSE has done.
 
 
The primary sources unequivocally demonstrate that Christopher Columbus: 
 
1. consistently and persistently advocated for granting the indigenes of the West Indies full rights and protections as Spanish citizens (Letter of Christopher Columbus dated February 15, 1493, stating that the Crown should give the tribal peoples of the Indies "the love and service of their Highnesses and of the whole Spanish nation"; History of the Indies, Columbus's Journal entry of October 14, 1492, where he suggest they be made "subjects" of the Crown, which would grant them all the rights attendant thereto);
 
2. sailed the Caribbean on his Second Voyage rescuing Tainos from capture and enslavement by the flesh-eating Carib and Canib tribes, thus creating the first "underground railroad" in the Americas (Epistolary account of Columbus's 2nd Voyage by Dr. Diego Chanca; Columbus's Journal entries describing his 2nd Voyage, dated 1493 through 1496);
 
3. actively fought the violence of the imperialist expansion of the Crown of Spain, at times going as far as to interpose his body between the swords of conquistadors and resistant indigenes (History of the Indies, Book I, Chapter 92, recounting Columbus's freeing of tribal people arrested and maimed by Alonso de Hojeda, saving their lives from Hojeda's bloodthirst);  
 
4. highly regarded the indigenous Tainos he found in the New World, characterizing them as “intelligent,” “trustworthy,” “beautiful” and the makings of “good Christians” (Columbus's letters to the Crown of Spain, passim); 
 
5. promoted peace in accordance with the Commandments and the Scriptures he held in such reverence (See all entries in his diary recording his contact with the tribes, all of which were peaceful and friendly -- the entries are too numerous to list here, but are corroborated in Book I of Historia de las Indias); 
 
6. intervened always as a pacifying force against the greedy and entitled Spanish nobles who defied his prohibitions against enslaving the indigenes, revolted against Columbus’s governance in response, and indulged in mutual hostilities with the indigenes against Columbus’s direct mandates for peace (Books I and II of Historia de las Indias); 
 
7. maintained friendly, peaceful, mutually beneficial relations with the indigenes of the Americas, the overwhelming majority of whom who considered Columbus a good friend and a welcome newcomer (Book I of Historia de las Indias; Columbus's journal entries recording first contact with various tribes during his 1st and 2nd Voyages);
 
8. provided testimony to the court of Spain resulting in the deposing of Francisco de Bobadilla, the real perpetrator of the atrocities in the West Indies (Historia de las Indias, Book II, Chapter 3);
 
9. spent the entirety of his fourth voyage working to depose Bobadilla's successor, Nicolás Ovando, who continued Bobadilla’s atrocities in Columbus’s absence (Historia de las Indias, Book II, Chapter 36, recounting how Governor Ovando prohibited Columbus from coming to Hispaniola, but Columbus came anyway to confront Ovando in his own court);
 
10. successfully petitioned the crown of Spain to enact the first civil rights legislation of the Americas, forever securing an impregnable decree from the highest authority protecting the indigenes from enslavement or any other mistreatment (Historia de las Indias, Book II, Chapter 3);  
 
11. inspired Friar Bartolomé de las Casas, Protector of the Indians, to petition the crown of Spain (successfully) to fund the formation of an order of Dominican friars who stationed themselves in the West Indies and enforced the civil rights legislation that Columbus got passed, forcing the Spanish nobles to end their mistreatment and slavery of the indigenes once and for all (Book III, Chapters 130 through 139); and
 
12. initiated more than five hundred years of cultural, economic, and political relations between the Old World and the New, commencing a perpetual exchange of science, technology, law, commerce, art, music, literature, and people, benefiting and enriching the globe from pole to pole (Historia de las Indias, passim; Journals and log books of Columbus, passim; "The Life of the Admiral" by Hernando Colón, passim).



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