The truth about Christopher Columbus


Sebastiano del Piombo via Wikimedia Commons

Collin Smith, Opinion Editor

Was Christopher Columbus a monster? This recently purported idea by the often-infuriated activists of twitter has been gaining ground across country.Politicians desperately seeking votes of city councils across the country have been changing Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day  and started the removal process of Columbus statues across the country. This issue best left to historians became politicized and now we must question why is it politicized? and what is true?

To answer the question of why this has become politicized, one must examine who Columbus was. A devout catholic who came from poverty, taught himself navigation and then took a risk which paid off. This risk he took resulted in an economic explosion in Europe. Christopher Columbus embodied the American Dream before there even was one. He embodies much of what the left hates. Nothing, not even history, is safe from the all-consuming swamp monster that is political correctness. There are definitely figures from history that are praised for the wrong reasons but Columbus is not one of them.

One example of this is Vox comparing Columbus to a New-World pimp.

“This one he admitted himself in a letter to Doña Juana de la Torre, a friend of the Spanish queen: “There are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand, and for all ages a good price must be paid.”

If the author of this article had as much a smidgen of intellectual honesty he would’ve included Columbus’ response to this, which occurs in the direct next sentence.

“I assert that the violence of the calumny of turbulent persons has injured me more than my services have profited me; which is a bad example for the present and for the future. I take my oath that a  number of men have gone to the Indies who did not deserve water in the sight of God and the world; and now they are returning thither, and leave is granted them.”

The Guardian called Columbus a “tyrant” citing a document from 2006 authored by Francisco de Bobadilla. The trend of sacrificing integrity for political continues here with that Francisco de Bobadilla was a rival of Columbus. We often hear about the dangers of fake news (sometimes even from The Guardian) and once again this source of malalignment of Columbus cannot be trusted due to the fact that Francisco de Bobadilla was a rival of Columbus. We would not trust what Trump says about Clinton much less trust what Clinton says about Trump, so why is this document an acceptable source?

When looking at primary sources, we can hope to find a more accurate truth about Christopher Columbus. Bartolemé de Las Casas, the Bishop of Chiapas and “protector of the Indians” admired Christopher Columbus and lauded him for his fair treatment of natives.

“A forgiver of injuries, [he] wished nothing more than that those who offended against him should recognize their errors, and that the delinquents be reconciled with him.”

If one believed the left, there would be many reasons to hate Christopher Columbus. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democratic New York Senator, put it best “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” History is something that ought to be respected and studied carefully and bias has no place in it. So instead of vandalizing statues of Columbus, let’s continue our tradition of celebrating this brave explorer who traveled into unknown lands, something we should all aspire to.