Debunking Lies About Columbus: The Story Of Francisco de Bobadilla

 

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 be 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!

Members have made 16 comments.

  1. Profile photo of cdor Member

    Happy Columbus Day to you too, Tommy. I always knew Chris was getting a bad rap.

    Revisionist history…always revile yourself and your ancestors…if you are Caucasion.

    • #1
    • October 11, 2010 at 9:54 am
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  2. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive

    Tommy, you conveniently omit the fact that Columbus, on his first expedition, carried with him a cargo of smallpox-saturated trading blankets.

    Yeah, that was hundreds of years before Pasteur’s germ theory, but Columbus was a visionary genocidalist.

    • #2
    • October 11, 2010 at 10:54 am
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  3. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    Kenneth why would you even believe that a guy on a trading mission would bring such a weapon?

    You’re going to have to give me your source on smallpox blankets and Columbus.

    The “smallpox blanket” story that often gets confused with Columbus is Lord Amherst, who reportedly gave blankets to Indians surrounding his Fort (they weren’t exactly friendly Indians).

    But that was 250 years after Columbus died.

    • #3
    • October 11, 2010 at 11:10 am
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  4. Profile photo of Ross C Member

    I will try to do a little looking on Bobadilla but I think that much of the degradation of Columbus’ legacy comes from Zinn’s book.

    I have read Zinn’s account and can say (after checking) that Zinn credits Bartolome de las Casas as his primary source. To my very incomplete knowledge, Zinn is railing against the lionization of Columbus and the early explorers by highlighting de las Casas’ account of Spanish Cruelty (which I must admit is a pretty harrowing account if true). I would like to believe that de las Casas had some axe to grind but, if he did, I can find no one who makes that claim.

    • #4
    • October 11, 2010 at 11:14 am
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  5. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive
    Tommy De Seno: Kenneth why would you even believe that a guy on a trading mission would bring such a weapon?

    You’re going to have to give me your source on smallpox blankets and Columbus.

    The “smallpox blanket” story that often gets confused with Columbus is Lord Amherst, who reportedly gave blankets to Indians surrounding his Fort (they weren’t exactly friendly Indians).

    But that was 250 years after Columbus died. · Oct 11 at 11:10am

    Edited on Oct 11 at 11:11 am

    Look, anything I can possibly do to villify Columbus is a good thing, right?

    To heck with facts….

    • #5
    • October 11, 2010 at 11:20 am
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  6. Profile photo of Ross C Member

    One more thing that has never squared well with me is that this view of the Arawaks has a kind of Rousseu/Noble Savage vibe, naked, peaceful, generous. Which as I understand it has not been seen by more recent studies of the life of primative peoples as being more “nasty, brutish, and short”.

    • #6
    • October 11, 2010 at 11:24 am
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  7. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    Can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or serious in either post, so you’ll have to let me know, Kenneth!

    • #7
    • October 11, 2010 at 11:36 am
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  8. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive
    Tommy De Seno: Can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or serious in either post, so you’ll have to let me know, Kenneith! · Oct 11 at 11:36am

    Sarcastic.

    • #8
    • October 11, 2010 at 11:43 am
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  9. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    Kenneth guys like you and me need some sort of sarcasm symbol.

    • #9
    • October 11, 2010 at 11:45 am
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  10. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    Tommy De Seno: Kenneth guys like you and me need some sort of sarcasm symbol. · Oct 11 at 11:45am

    Kenneth is a walking sarcasm symbol.

    • #10
    • October 11, 2010 at 11:47 am
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  11. Profile photo of Cas Balicki Inactive

    It is long past time to lay the infected blanket accusation to rest. Bacteria need a warm, dark, and moist environment to survive, and when germs do not enjoy such an environment their life expectancy can be measured in in minutes if not in seconds, smallpox is no different. In short, despite the Center for Disease Control’s warning that smallpox can be spread by infected blankets, the reality is that a healthy person would literally have to share a bed with an infected person in order to contract the disease from the infected person’s blankets. Most diseases are spread by the transfer of infected sputum, which is then either inhaled or transferred to the mouth or nasal passages by the hand of a healthy person. This is precisely why public health authorities consistently advertise frequent hand washing during flu season. There are other transmission vectors such as the eyes or sexual organs, but the majority of infections attack us by way of mouth and nose. Air borne diseases are so rare as to be considered an anomaly if not non-existent. The take-away from this post is that North American natives were not killef by blankets.

    • #11
    • October 12, 2010 at 1:19 am
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  12. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    Interesting, Cas.

    • #12
    • October 12, 2010 at 1:31 am
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  13. Profile photo of Cas Balicki Inactive

    ~Paules, North American natives were not immune to “European” diseases, because they did not have our history with domesticated animals. Animals are a breeding ground for disease, and because we, as farmers, domesticated animals we inherited from them diseases that we either acquired immunity to or learned to protect against by way of quarantine and other treatments. The reason that our diseases seem to come from the orient is that Asians have historically lived in close proximity to animals, and as a result became infected with more frequency than an urban Western populations. North America for most of its history was isolated from the rest of the world, whereas Europe and Asia share one land mass. Contact between Europe and Asia is difficult given the distances involved, but it is easy relative to the crossing uncharted oceans. Furthermore, Europeans maintained trading links between Europe and Asia, which is to say contact, the essential element in disease transmission. The more diseases one is infected by the better that persons immunity system is at resisting infections, small wonder that North American natives died of rather minor infections such as measles.

    • #13
    • October 12, 2010 at 1:38 am
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  14. Profile photo of Cas Balicki Inactive

    There is a case to be made for a mass die-off of North American natives before white settlement. From the instant European contact was made European diseases began attacking native populations. North American natives, among themselves, were both avid traders and conquerors, which would have them mingling along inter-tribal lines. Once European diseases found a beach head in the new world, the natives were toast, because they, by way of their natural social inclinations, spread diseases they neither knew they had nor could treat even by simple quarantine to prevent their spread. Some historians suggest that this native die-off after contact and before settlement could have reached seventy percent of the North American native population before the first settler arrived looking to setup his proverbial log cabin.

    • #14
    • October 12, 2010 at 1:53 am
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  15. Profile photo of Robert Dammers Thatcher
    ~Paules: The more interesting question is why Native Americans lacked immunity from European diseases. Actually, a better description would be “old world” diseases because Asians and Africans didn’t succumb to European germs.· Oct 11 at 12:58pm

    I cannot recommend Charles Mann’s “1491” enough to those interested in this. The last chapter discusses whether the great dying that followed first contact could have been avoided – Mann’s conclusion – it couldn’t unless there had been a rigorous quarantine until after the development of inoculation and antibiotics. A desperate tragedy that could not have been avoided.

    The situation arose because the American Indians were descended from a very limited population that had crossed the Bering land bridge. They developed new immunities to the parasitic diseases they found in the new environment, but had only limited natural immunity to the infectious diseases left behind. The survivors only acquired such immunity through inter-breeding with the newcomers.

    “1491” describes a devastating collapse in the population immediately following first contact – the death of anything from 80-95% of the human population. No later deliberate injury compares with this wholly accidental genocide. Do read it.

    • #15
    • October 12, 2010 at 3:53 am
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  16. Profile photo of The Mugwump Inactive

    The more interesting question is why Native Americans lacked immunity from European diseases. Actually, a better description would be “old world” diseases because Asians and Africans didn’t succumb to European germs. In fact, we should indict the Chinese for spreading their diseases worldwide. We know now that China is the world’s incubator for a good many nasty germs like bubonic plague and influenza. It would appear that dense populations living in close contact with domestic livestock is both the cause of disease and the source of immunity. Too bad Native Americans didn’t live in close association with domestic animals; they might have had a chance.

    • #16
    • October 12, 2010 at 12:58 pm
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