October 08, 2007

Brutal, incompetent, and corrupt

Patrick Barkman:  Trail of Tears starts with Columbus“The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.”

— Genesis 13:14-15

Tomorrow, Oct. 8, is Columbus Day. As you might imagine, it’s not much of a holiday in my family. Kind of hard to get worked up about the life of a Genoese mercenary, slave-trader and pirate who stumbled onto the “New World,” and whose first dispatches to his financial backers consisted of cooing over how the friendly, curious Taino people he encountered would make excellent slaves.

Within a decade of Cristobol Colon’s arrival at Ayiti (which he renamed Hispaniola), virtually all the Tainos were wiped out through disease, murder and forced labor. Colon then turned to kidnapped Africans to replenish his supply of slaves. Within 150 years of Colon’s arrival, between 85 percent and 90 percent of the population of the Western Hemisphere was dead. Put in perspective, Colon is directly, personally responsible for the deaths of one-quarter of all the human beings on the planet Earth as they existed in the 15th century.

So brutal, incompetent and corrupt was he as governor that he was relieved of his duties and tossed in prison.
Comment:  Even put in perspective, I wouldn't say Columbus was directly and personally responsible for all the deaths. Responsible, yes, but not directly and personally responsible.

By the way, Barkman occasionally comments on this blog.


The Local Crank said...

Thanks for the link, amigo.

Anonymous said...

Tainos were not wiped out that was lie....most of us puerto ricans and cubans took MtDna test shown 61% Taino native in our bloods along mixed with spaniards and other basically some Taino people were hidden somewhere in cave or rainforest and most spanaird men raped or intermarried to Taino women...there was no white women on puerto rico island during that time.