Monday "honors" a geographically inept and morally questionable voyager who stumbled on the so-called New World and proceeded to slaughter, pillage and expropriate all he found in what one witness called "these acts so foreign to human nature." In the face of a centuries-old and ongoing bloody legacy, leftist Spanish lawmakers have called for toppling Barcelona's Columbus statue and Native-Americans have called him out as "America's first terrorist."
It important to remember that while Columbus was in fact a terrorist a mass murderer and guilty of all of those crimes, there a litany of names in History honored today that were guilty of the same if not at the same scale.
A past Governer of California has a University (leland Stanford) named after him. While Governer he helped organize a campaign of extermination against the First Nations peoples of that State. Under California law of the time, No Native American could testify against a white in Court, the Whites were allowed to sieze Native American Children to use as slaves . If a white could not find enough laborers to work a mine or ranch he owned, he was allowed by law to seize natives at gunpoint and use them for the same. If the person siezed resisted they could shoot him.
They used then as they do today the claim of the right of “preemptive war” sending Militias and dragoons to slaughter entire Villages of First Nations peoples because they felt “they might one day become a threat”.
Another “American Hero” was one John C Fremont, another person who would willingly butcher Native Americans on sight and would take his Militias of men with Hawkens Rifles to slaughter Natives armed with bows and arrows. This was not in response to an attack by those natives but in Fremonts own words was intended to terrorize the natives to ensure they did not resist white expansion.
This just in the State of California. If there was a true reconciliation and acknowledgment of that history , towns, Universities, monuments and statues all across the Americas should by rights be torn down or renamed as far too many of them honor persons who committed genocide.
Ghengis Khan wasn’t very nice either.
Call Columbus what you like, but geographically he was no more inept than any other person in the 1490s.
Well Genghis Khan does not have a Holiday set aside in his name in the lands he conquered.
All this comes straight from The Bible’s Old Testament, which Europeans carried under their arms and in their hearts into The New World—There was only one Creation, ours (then called “Monogenesis”), and if “you people” are anything but animals, you’re there to be killed/removed as a test for us to show Yahweh how much we love Him (while plundering “His” planet). The “disappearing” Indian is, in one word, the total denial of genocidal responsibility, like the Palestinians who “left” Israel on their own (!). Well, take heart, because there have always been contemporary people who saw/knew better—the post-Minoan Philistines who built Palestine, and closer to us, America’s first poet in English and first “criminal exile” Thomas Morton of Merrymount—who wrote directly about Native American humanity and mocked the Puritans’ foolhardy Biblical arrogance in “New English Canaan.” His book is a rare laugh-out-loud that was kept out of American Lit for more imperial centuries. We need THEM to teach us as our honored ancestors if we’re ever going to break out of The Bible’s narcissistic, inevitably nihilistic loop. ANCIENTLIGHTS.ORG
While we are at it, lets cancel Thanksgiving…
Wow. Thanks for the history lesson. Perhaps it is good for the Republican Party that Fremont lost the 1856 election. Republicans can look back at their first President (Abe Lincoln) with pride, while Democrats are generally quite disgusted with their first President and founder of their party (Andrew Jackson).
From Vine Deloria, Jr., Custer Died for Your Sins:
As Indians we will never have the efficient organization that gains great concessions from society in the market place. We will never have a powerful lobby or be a smashing political force. But we will have the intangible unity which has carried us through four centuries of persecution. We are a people unified by our humanity–not a pressure group unified for conquest. And from our greater strength we shall wear down the white man and finally outlast him…WE SHALL ENDURE.
True, but I’ll bet the Mongolians don’t give a damn about how many nasty white men they killed and no doubt some Mongolians might even think he was a great leader (I’ll bet that there is a statue to him, somewhere), even though he probably didn’t consider that the world might be a sphere.Nor do modern Zulus regret the damage their antecedents caused to Africans across Africa before the Boers shot them.
As I said, one can say what one likes about Columbus’ morality, and one can tear down his statues for all I care, but he was no more geographically inept than any other person in 1492, and he did have the courage of his geographic convictions, which most other didn’t. Try sailing across the Atlantic in a crowded, leaky, smelly ship eating lousy salted food with no vitamin C and a crew of frightened superstitious thugs to support you, when you don’t really know if you will ever get anywhere.Anything we do these days is easy when compared with stepping off the edge of the known world in 1492. We KNOW where we are going, even if it is to Mars.
The Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, part of the Genghis Khan
Statue Complex is a 40-metre tall statue of Genghis Khan on horseback,
on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog, where according to
legend, he found a golden whip.
There you go. Wikipedia. As per above the Mongolians have built a Ghengis Khan Complex and 131feet high statue to presumably celebrate his slaughter of tens of millions (30 million?) people between Ulaan Bator and Warsaw. Had the Mongols been allowed to stay in the lands they conquered, you bet they would have had a National Holiday.
Columbus knew where he was going to also. He had a Chinese map showing the Americas. See: 1421 The voyages of Zeng He.
Columbus was not only inept, but ignorant of a very little thing called “Smallpox”, which destroyed two continents of people. See "1492 " by Charles Mann.
Could you provide a source for this? My understanding is that the Zheng He’s voyages were directed westwards along the Indian Ocean, before the Imperial Court turned more insular and ended his voyages. Claims of the remains of a chinese junk in America, to my understanding, were largely dismissed by archeologists as psuedosarcheology. Do you disagree with that assessment?
As far as smallpox is concerned, germ theory would not be invented by anyone until the 19th century.
But Columbus was quite innept, yes. He didn’t even realize he reached a new continent. Natives and vikings aside, to say therefore he discovered america is like saying the first caveman to be struck by lightning discovered electricity. Long live amerigo vespucci day.
Mann,s follow up “1493” documents the birth of Capitalism.
The book “1434, The year a magnificent Chinese fleet sailed to Italy and ignited the Renaissance”
Zheng He gave the Italians his world map, included were Australian coast and Antarctica.
Cannot agree or disagree re sunken junks, but Gavin Menzies research shows Zheng He in Cairo, Venice, and Florence in the year 1434. He set sail with over a thousand ships with four full admirals to hold the fleet together.
Obviously I can’t form a firm judgement of Menzie’s several books without reading it. Looking over its reviews though, it seems the academic community has generally dismissed Menzie’s books as psuedohistory, and I find their reasons for doing so plausible. Based on what I’m hearing, the evidence he puts forward is very circumstantial (Zheng’s giant fleet of treasure ships supposedly arrives in venice but, given the lack of widespread documentary evidence from chroncilers, has to extrapolate its existence from folklore and alleged allusions in a handful of letters), and conspiratorial (The Ming dynasty deliberately destroyed records of the voyage past the cape of africa despite keeping all the previous records, and Zheng he didn’t actually die in the year the records stated he died.)
What I find more interesting, though, is how afterwards China basically surrendered its maritime dominance and essentially let the Europeans take control of the Indian Ocean. Were the so isolationist as to not be alarmed when the Europeans circumnavigated the globe (assuming of course they were aware of it?)
It is definately a stretch to say that European control over the Indian Ocean was the decisive factor in surpassing China in the 18th and 19th centuries (aside from access to opium of course). Other factors were probably more important, including the vast amount of gold and silver from America, European development of an industrial economy, Chinese dynastic decay and naval neglect, and of course opium. But certainly is striking to me how Ming China blew (yet another) opportunity to dominate the world.
I’ve read his series and Charles Mann’s 1492 and 1493. I found a lot of corroboration that adds more credibility than their critics would like to admit. I’ve found corroboration in books on biochar
“The biochar Debate” by James Bruges .
As I had to remind someone last week who was going on and on about why the U.S. was so great, the United States was founded on the atrocities of:
Theft (Native Americans)
Apartheid (Native Americans)
Genocide (Native Americans)
So, yes, the historical greatness of the United States is absolutely legendary!