Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Debunking Lies About Columbus: The Story of Francisco de Bobadilla

 

Editor’s Note: Every year on Columbus Day we see a surge in traffic to this post, originally authored by Tommy De Seno for the 2010 holiday. When we saw a similar bump this morning, we decided to feature it here on the Main Feed for all who haven’t read it before.

I’m sure it’s happened to you, as it did to me again last night: Some starry-eyed collegian told me Christopher Columbus shouldn’t be celebrated because of his treatment of Indians, armed with nothing more than her University professor’s insistence.

If Mark Twain was right that a lie can travel halfway around the world before truth has a chance to put on its shoes, imagine the damage a lie can do over 500 years.

Let me introduce you to Francisco de Bobadilla – liar and Columbus usurper. The criticism of Columbus today comes from de Bobadilla. Who was he? The man who wanted Columbus’ job as Governor of Hispaniola.

In 1500, the King and Queen sent him here to investigate claims that Columbus wasn’t being fair to the European settlers (which means Columbus was protecting the Indians). So de Bobedilla came here, and in just a few short days investigated (with no telephones or motorized vehicles to help him), then arrested Columbus and his brothers for Indian mistreatment and sent them back to Spain, sans a trial. Oh yeah, he appointed himself Governor. Coup de Coeur for power lead to Coup d’ etat, as usual.

The King and Queen called shenanigans and sent for de Bobadilla two years later, but he drowned on the trip home. Columbus was reinstated as Admiral. So what we know of Columbian malfeasance comes from a defrocked liar, de Bobadilla.

Nor was Columbus involved in the slave trade, as America haters like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky have asserted. One of his boats crashed in Haiti. He had no room for 39 men, so he started a colony there. Columbus came back a year later to find the Taino Indians killed all of them and left them where they fell. Columbus went to war with the Tainos and took 500 POWs, not slaves. They were released after the war. Big difference.

Also wrong is blaming Columbus for bringing genocidal microbes to kill the Indians. His detractors make fun of him for thinking he was in the East. So was his evil plan then to bring disease to wipe out the East?

Europeans didn’t know of germs until Italian physicist Girolamo Fracastoro proposed the theory 40 years after Columbus died. Also, had an Indian built a boat and traveled to Europe and back, he would have contaminated the Indians too. Trans-continental contamination was going to happen at some point, making the first carriers irrelevant.

Brown University recently changed the name of the holiday from Columbus Day to “Fall Weekend” due to the Columbus slave allegations. Hypocrisy alert: Brown University was founded with slave trade money, according to their own report. But they didn’t vote to change the name of their college! Hypocrites.

Happy Columbus Day!

There are 18 comments.

  1. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    You mean Indigenous People’s Day

    • #1
    • October 13, 2014, at 11:16 AM PST
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  2. AIG Inactive
    AIG

    Thanks. That was interesting info.

    I wonder, did the European settlers also not get diseases from the natives?

    • #2
    • October 13, 2014, at 12:04 PM PST
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  3. :thinking: no superfluity of n… Member

    AIG: I wonder, did the European settlers also not get diseases from the natives?

    Syphilis is thought to have been brought from the Americas to Europe by Columbus himself (well, his sailors, not himself himself).

    • #3
    • October 13, 2014, at 12:23 PM PST
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  4. Seawriter Member

    AIG: I wonder, did the European settlers also not get diseases from the natives?

    For a long time syphilis was thought to have come from the New World. Nowadays, there are claims it did not. Unfortunately science and history research has become so politicized it is hard for me to evaluate the new claims.

    Generally disease tends to flow from high population areas to lower population areas. Plus, since Africa was the cradle of humans, more diseases tend to flow out of Africa than otherwise. Given the population densities of the Old World and the New World circa 1500, plus the New World’s isolation from Africa, I don’t find it strange that Old World diseases flooded the New World rather than vice versa.

    Seawriter

    • #4
    • October 13, 2014, at 12:25 PM PST
    • 1 like
  5. HeartofFLA Inactive

    Thank you…I learned something today.

    • #5
    • October 13, 2014, at 12:28 PM PST
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  6. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    AIG:Thanks. That was interesting info.

    I wonder, did the European settlers also not get diseases from the natives?

    The Europeans tended to have more resistance to germs. Diseases that would kill a small percentage of Europeans would absolutely wipe out whole Indian villages. The Indians (at least in South America) tended to have much greater resistance to parasites than the Europeans, though. Malaria seemed to be about equally bad for Europeans and Indians, but Africans were somewhat more resistant, which is why colonists preferred them as slaves, especially in the tropics.

    • #6
    • October 13, 2014, at 12:30 PM PST
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  7. Amy Schley Moderator

    AIG:Thanks. That was interesting info.

    I wonder, did the European settlers also not get diseases from the natives?

    Not really.* Most “civilization” diseases are versions of endemic animal diseases that mutated to attack humans because humans and animals lived in close quarters. As American Aboriginals only domesticated llamas and alpacas for livestock and a few small animals (e.g. guinea pigs) for food, and combined with the fact that only a few cultures (Aztecs, Inca) had large cities where diseases could become endemic, there simply wasn’t the same opportunity for America to create diseases as Europe and Asia could.

    I would also note that when the more agrarian Europeans went on crusades to the more urban Levant, they were felled by new Asian diseases just as the Americans were felled by European ones. (Obviously, not to the same extent.)

    *The only one I’m aware of is syphilis.

    • #7
    • October 13, 2014, at 12:35 PM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Thank you for reposting this. I really enjoyed it.

    Europeans did not have a special immunity to disease. The diseases that were endemic to Europe in the Fifteenth century had upon their original introduction been as virulent and deadly to Europeans as they eventually were to Native Americans. Centuries of exposure had simply made Europeans less vulnerable to those diseases. When Syphillis was brought to Europe it was horrendous causing terrible symptoms and death for many just as European diseases did to Native Americans. If, indeed, it came from one of the native cultures of the islands it likely was as relatively mild symptomatically among them as, say, measles was among Europeans. In the Americas measles itself was a killer. Diseases that become endemic gradually develop milder symptoms, and, eventually, in some cases, become childhood diseases.

    • #8
    • October 13, 2014, at 1:51 PM PST
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  9. Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Contributor

    I think it’s fair to point out that Columbus himself wrote something along the lines that if you caught an indian stealing from you you were to cut off his hand or nose, and that in general the administration of Hispaniola was a particularly brutal one, given the combination of communicable disease (to be fair, outside of the Europeans’ control) and conditions which they ultimately subjected the native population to.

    So brutal in fact was that administration that Hispaniola’s native population was essentially driven extinct and replaced by imported African slaves to work the plantations. Evidence of the completeness of this replacement resides in the fact that the racial stock which makes up the majority of Haiti and the Dominican Republic has very little indian heritage – it’s primarily black African.

    There are many things which can be laid at the feet of Christopher Columbus for which we westerners should celebrate, and I am under no illusion that the indians in the new world lived some idyllic life before the arrival of westerners, but that arrival wasn’t a boon for them either. It spelled the end of their civilization for all intents and purposes.

    • #9
    • October 13, 2014, at 4:31 PM PST
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  10. James Gawron Thatcher

    Tommy,

    By the ninth century Islam’s brutal conquest of territory had allowed it to expand. They sailed down the east coast of Africa and created the modern slave trade. They would take over the coastal areas and then raid inland to murder and capture slaves.

    Kenya was one of the countries that was on their list. It is interesting that in modern times there were two dominant tribes in Kenya. One that was on the coast and one that was inland. Obama’s father (the dreams from my father father) came from the inland dominant tribe. When the British colonialists were driven out the tribal rivalries resurfaced. Obama’s father was frozen out of the government because he was from the wrong tribe.

    Just for the fun of idle historical speculation, I’ve wondered whether the coastal tribe that took over were descendants of a slave collaborationist tribe and the inland tribe the resisters. Of course, Marxist idiots like Zinn and Chomsky aren’t much interested in finding this out.

    Too much of what would be uncovered would destroy their sick hate narrative against White Christendom.

    And so it goes.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
    • October 13, 2014, at 7:02 PM PST
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  11. Solon Inactive

    I say we start a conspiracy theory that Columbus was really a cross-dressing woman. Then the lefties will have to include him/her in their history books.

    • #11
    • October 13, 2014, at 10:47 PM PST
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  12. Profile Photo Member

    The queen also didn’t tell Columbus his ship would sail off the edge of the earth. Well versed in greek mathematics and familiar with Eratosthenes’ calculation, she declared that the earth (a sphere) had a radius too large and it was unrealistic, therefore, to expect to be able to sail to Asia. In a manner of speaking she was right about him not reaching Asia. I imagine Columbus realised it too, but the “Indian” bit was a gloss to save face. (But that’s a conjecture on my part, no evidence for it…)

    • #12
    • October 14, 2014, at 8:32 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Seawriter Member

    R. Craigen: In a manner of speaking she was right about him not reaching Asia. I imagine Columbus realised it too, but the “Indian” bit was a gloss to save face.

    According to Samuel Eliot Morison (Admiral of the Ocean Sea) Columbus believed he had reached some of the Japanese islands. Since Japan was already isolated from Asia, and Asia insulated from Europe, “Japan” was then a useful catch-all for “I know I am in Asia, but this isn’t India, China, or the Spice Islands.”

    Morison also states Columbus underestimated the diameter of the Earth. Since Columbus later figured out the Earth was not a sphere, but rather a prolate spheroid, he was a pretty sophisticated mathematician. I suspect the underestimation may have been an example of hope triumphing over Columbus’s experience. It just had to be smaller so the mission would be doable.

    Seawriter

    • #13
    • October 14, 2014, at 8:53 AM PST
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  14. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    Majestyk,

    It wasn’t the Columbian administration of Hispaniola that was brutal to the Indians. De Bobadilla was sent to the New World to address claims by the settlers that he wasn’t being fair to them.

    Later Governors were tough on the Indians. I simply object to the current shifting of that blame to Columbus by Hollywood, Academia, etc.

    • #14
    • October 14, 2014, at 8:55 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    R. Craigen:The queen also didn’t tell Columbus his ship would sail off the edge of the earth. Well versed in greek mathematics and familiar with Eratosthenes’ calculation, she declared that the earth (a sphere) had a radius too large and it was unrealistic, therefore, to expect to be able to sail to Asia. In a manner of speaking she was right about him not reaching Asia.

    As I recall, plenty of people had a very good idea of how big the Earth was but Columbus stubbornly thought it was smaller. If the Americas hadn’t been in the way, it’s doubtful that he could have made it all the way to the Far East.

    • #15
    • October 14, 2014, at 8:56 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Seawriter Member

    Randy Weivoda: If the Americas hadn’t been in the way, it’s doubtful that he could have made it all the way to the Far East.

    He could not have, and he knew it. The articles he signed with the sailors was the ships would sail west for 30 days. If there was no evidence of land near, they were to turn around and sail home. (Could they do that? Well, yeah. We are talking sailing ships, not rockets.)

    The “mutiny” late-19th century biographers like to talk about was really the crew approaching Columbus at the end of that period and saying, “Like, Chris. It’s been a few days past 30. It’s in the contract. Ya know man, if we don’t turn around soon, we are gonna be eating our shoes, ’cause we are gonna run outta food, man.”*

    This “mutiny” was quelled when Columbus responded “Guys. We have been seeing drifting trees and stuff you don’t see unless we are really close to land. Three more days. It won’t take longer than that. I’ll pay a gold coin to the first man-jack who actually sees land, too.”*

    The crew decided another three days would not have made that much difference and agreed to sail on a few more days. Next day they sighted land.

    * My very free translation of the dialog. I don’t speak Castillian, anyway.

    Seawriter

    • #16
    • October 14, 2014, at 9:15 AM PST
    • 1 like
  17. Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Contributor

    Tommy De Seno:Majestyk,

    It wasn’t the Columbian administration of Hispaniola that was brutal to the Indians. De Bobadilla was sent to the New World to address claims by the settlers that he wasn’t being fair to them.

    Later Governors were tough on the Indians. I simply object to the current shifting of that blame to Columbus by Hollywood, Academia, etc.

    As I said, I don’t lay the blame for the depopulation of the natives entirely at the feet of Columbus – the vast majority of the deaths occurring as the result of contagion – and certainly later administrations were extraordinarily cruel by comparison but if I were a 15th century Caribbean Indian, the last thing I want to see on the horizon is a sail.

    What hand-wringing lefties don’t like to admit is this: the native cultures of this hemisphere were always doomed. Once Europeans discovered this large, sparsely populated and naturally-resource rich continent the stage was set for a clash of cultures. Even if Columbus had been a Starfleet officer complete with Prime Directive the natives simply couldn’t compete with the guns, germs and steel that the Europeans had been developing for the previous 2 eons.

    • #17
    • October 14, 2014, at 2:21 PM PST
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  18. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    Majestyk:

    Even if Columbus had been a Starfleet officer complete with Prime Directive…

    I’m not sure what’s more awesome: You writing that or me understanding it.

    • #18
    • October 14, 2014, at 2:30 PM PST
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