Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Columbus: America's first slaver

Here. It’s long past time to end the Columbus myth-machine.

Columbus Day - As Rape Rules Africa and American Churches Embrace
Violent "Christian" Video Games
by Thom Hartmann

"Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it
does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to
-- Christopher Columbus, 1503 letter to the king and queen of Spain.

"Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but
also set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can
be accomplished through perseverance and faith."
--George H.W. Bush, 1989 speech

If you fly over the country of Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, the
island on which Columbus landed, it looks like somebody took a
blowtorch and burned away anything green. Even the ocean around the
port capital of Port au Prince is choked for miles with the brown of
human sewage and eroded topsoil. From the air, it looks like a lava
flow spilling out into the sea.

The history of this small island is, in many ways, a microcosm for
what's happening in the whole world.

When Columbus first landed on Hispaniola in 1492, virtually the
entire island was covered by lush forest. The Taino "Indians" who
loved there had an apparently idyllic life prior to Columbus, from
the reports left to us by literate members of Columbus's crew such as
Miguel Cuneo.

When Columbus and his crew arrived on their second visit to
Hispaniola, however, they took captive about two thousand local
villagers who had come out to greet them. Cuneo wrote: "When our
caravels. where to leave for Spain, we gathered.one thousand six
hundred male and female persons of those Indians, and these we
embarked in our caravels on February 17, 1495.For those who remained,
we let it be known (to the Spaniards who manned the island's fort) in
the vicinity that anyone who wanted to take some of them could do so,
to the amount desired, which was done."

Cuneo further notes that he himself took a beautiful teenage Carib
girl as his personal slave, a gift from Columbus himself, but that
when he attempted to have sex with her, she "resisted with all her
strength." So, in his own words, he "thrashed her mercilessly and
raped her."

While Columbus once referred to the Taino Indians as cannibals, a
story made up by Columbus - which is to this day still taught in some
US schools - to help justify his slaughter and enslavement of these
people. He wrote to the Spanish monarchs in 1493: "It is possible,
with the name of the Holy Trinity, to sell all the slaves which it is
possible to sell.Here there are so many of these slaves, and also
brazilwood, that although they are living things they are as good as

Columbus and his men also used the Taino as sex slaves: it was a
common reward for Columbus' men for him to present them with local
women to rape. As he began exporting Taino as slaves to other parts
of the world, the sex-slave trade became an important part of the
business, as Columbus wrote to a friend in 1500: "A hundred
castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as
for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers
who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old)
are now in demand."

However, the Taino turned out not to be particularly good workers in
the plantations that the Spaniards and later the French established

Hispaniola: they resented their lands and children being taken, and
attempted to fight back against the invaders. Since the Taino where
obviously standing in the way of Spain's progress, Columbus sought to
impose discipline on them. For even a minor offense, an Indian's nose
or ear was cut off, se he could go back to his village to impress the
people with the brutality the Spanish were capable of. Columbus
attacked them with dogs, skewered them with pikes, and shot them.

Eventually, life for the Taino became so unbearable that, as Pedro de
Cordoba wrote to King Ferdinand in a 1517 letter, "As a result of the
sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have
chosen suicide. Occasionally a hundred have committed mass suicide.
The women, exhausted by labor, have shunned conception and
childbirth. Many, when pregnant, have taken something to abort and
have aborted. Others after delivery have killed their children with
their own hands, so as not to leave them in such oppressive slavery."

Eventually, Columbus and later his brother Bartholomew Columbus who
he left in charge of the island, simply resorted to wiping out the
Taino altogether. Prior to Columbus' arrival, some scholars place the
population of Haiti/Hispaniola (now at 16 million) at around 1.5 to 3
million people. By 1496, it was down to 1.1 million, according to a
census done by Bartholomew Columbus. By 1516, the indigenous
population was 12,000, and according to Las Casas (who were there) by
1542 fewer than 200 natives were alive. By 1555, every single one was

This wasn't just the story of Hispaniola; the same has been done to
indigenous peoples worldwide. Slavery, apartheid, and the entire
concept of conservative Darwinian Economics, have been used to
justify continued suffering by masses of human beings.

Dr. Jack Forbes, Professor of Native American Studies at the
University of California at Davis and author of the brilliant
book "Columbus and Other Cannibals," uses the Native American word
wétiko (pronounced WET-ee-ko) to describe the collection of beliefs
that would produce behavior like that of Columbus. Wétiko literally
means "cannibal," and Forbes uses it quite intentionally to describe
these standards of culture: we "eat" (consume) other humans by
destroying them, destroying their lands, taking their natural
resources, and consuming their life-force by enslaving them either
physically or economically. The story of Columbus and the Taino is
just one example.

We live in a culture that includes the principle that if somebody
else has something we need, and they won't give it to us, and we have
the means to kill them to get it, it's not unreasonable to go get it,
using whatever force we need to.

In the United States, the first "Indian war" in New England was
the "Pequot War of 1636," in which colonists surrounded the largest
of the Pequot villages, set it afire as the sun began to rise, and
then performed their duty: they shot everybody-men, women, children,
and the elderly-who tried to escape. As Puritan colonist William
Bradford described the scene: "It was a fearful sight to see them
thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same,
and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed
a sweet sacrifice, and they [the colonists] gave praise therof to
God, who had wrought so wonderfully..."

The Narragansetts, up to that point "friends" of the colonists, were
so shocked by this example of European-style warfare that they
refused further alliances with the whites. Captain John Underhill
ridiculed the Narragansetts for their unwillingness to engage in
genocide, saying Narragansett wars with other tribes were "more for
pastime, than to conquer and subdue enemies."

In that, Underhill was correct: the Narragansett form of war, like
that of most indigenous Older Culture peoples, and almost all Native
American tribes, does not have extermination of the opponent as a
goal. After all, neighbors are necessary to trade with, to maintain a
strong gene pool through intermarriage, and to insure cultural
diversity. Most tribes wouldn't even want the lands of others,
because they would have concerns about violating or entering the
sacred or spirit-filled areas of the other tribes. Even the killing
of "enemies" is not most often the goal of tribal "wars": It's most
often to fight to some pre-determined measure of "victory" such as
seizing a staff, crossing a particular line, or the first wounding or
surrender of the opponent.

This wétiko type of theft and warfare is practiced daily by farmers
and ranchers worldwide against wolves, coyotes, insects, animals and
trees of the rainforest; and against indigenous tribes living in the
jungles and rainforests. It is our way of life. It comes out of our
foundational cultural notions.

So it should not surprise us that with the doubling of the world's
population over the past 37 years has come an explosion of violence
and brutality, and as the United States runs low on oil, we are now
fighting wars in oil-rich parts of the world. It shouldn't surprise
us that our churches are using violent "kill the infidels" video
games to lure in children, while in parts of Africa contaminated by
our culture and rich in oil (Congo) rape has become so widespread as
to make the front page of yesterday's New York Times.

These are all dimensions, after all, our history, which we celebrate
on Columbus Day. But if we wake up, and we help the world wake up, it
need not be our future.

Excerpted and slightly edited from "The Last Hours of Ancient
Sunlight: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It's Too
Late." Hartmann's most recent book is Cracking The Code: How to Win
Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision.



Apparantly, it was a very short-lived blog since it's already gone. Or do I smell a CONSPIRACY?!?!

It's really too bad. Many might never get the clear connection between Christopher Columbus, the Iraq War, the state of the world, pseudo-cannibalism and violent Christian video games in America today!

Cut-and-paste, I'm afraid.

Thanks for pointing out the defect.
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