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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Christopher Columbus Being Slandered?

While watching the TV show “Yellowstone”, in the season 2 episode entitled New Beginnings, the character, Monica Dutton, is given the following lines wherein she is talking about Columbus (based on his diary) when she says:
“When Christopher Columbus first came in contact with Native Americans, it was the Arawak people in the Bahamas. (pause) I'll read to you from Columbus's journal: "They willingly traded us everything they owned. 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 will make fine slaves. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

Read more: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=yellowstone-2018&episode=s02e02

When I heard this (having majored in history and taken the History of Mexico courses), part of it didn’t ring true. So, I searched online using the parameter ‘Christopher Columbus Diary’ and found that the TV misquote stemmed from the entry dated October 12, 1492 where Columbus said:
“I that we might form great friendship, for I knew that they were a people who could more easily (be) freed and converted to our holy faith by love than by force.” 
Yes, before that he did say,"They willingly traded us everything they owned. 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.” 
But, he said nothing about forcefully enslaving the Native Americans.
http://www.americanjourneys.org/pdf/AJ-062.pdf

Note: Other online sources of his diary ‘conveniently’ left out the October 12thentry, which is an example of dishonesty and bias. So, I googled ‘Christopher Columbus slandered’.
The top choice link was:
http://www.kofc.org/en/columbia/detail/christopher-columbus-fake-history.html

Were the Indians enslaved and decimated by disease? Yes, most certainly. But, understand that Columbus, the man, was but one piece of the colonization machinery. The Spanish had just barely driven the Moors out of the Iberian peninsula  and were on a testosterone high. 

Note: Many people have an idealized image of the Indian as being the noble savage and that the European was the evil conqueror. It’s not as simple as that. Indians had been conquering each other long before the Europeans arrived. The Europeans, however, took it to a whole new level (and the diseases they brought weakened the tribal groups and made them much easier to conquer).