Taking Back Our Stolen History
Italian Explorer Christopher Columbus Discovered the “New World” of the Americas on an Expedition ‘Led by Hand of God’
Italian Explorer Christopher Columbus Discovered the “New World” of the Americas on an Expedition ‘Led by Hand of God’

Italian Explorer Christopher Columbus Discovered the “New World” of the Americas on an Expedition ‘Led by Hand of God’

On several occasions Columbus gave credit to the Almighty. In writing to the Spanish leaders, he said, “Our Lord unlocked my mind, sent me upon the sea, and gave me fire for the deed. Who heard of my enterprise, called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but that the Holy Ghost inspired me?” (Jacob Wassermann, Columbus, Don Quixote of the Seas, trans. Eric Sutton, Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1930, p. 20.) During the voyage, after weeks of sailing with no land in sight, mutiny raised its head. Finally Columbus promised the captains of the two other ships that they would turn back if land was not sighted in 48 hours. Then he went to his cabin and in his words “prayed mightily to the Lord.” The next day, October 12, they sighted land. We know a land of liberty and religious freedom was a necessary ingredient in the plan of God. Thus, Columbus and others, particularly those seeking religious freedom, were led to the shores of America.

Why do some hate Columbus?

The second Monday in October marks Columbus Day — a federal holiday since 1937 — when Christopher Columbus first stepped ashore in the Western hemisphere. Sadly, in recent years it has become fashionable to trash the great “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” as one of history’s main villains.

Columbus Day, observed as the actual date of the great achievement of Columbus — October 12, 1492 — until President Richard Nixon designated the second Monday of October as the federal holiday (so federal workers could have a long weekend), is now what many celebrate as “Indigenous People’s Day.” Not surprisingly, the radical citadel of Berkeley, California, led the way in 1992 in downgrading the great explorer by changing the name of his day.

Katy Schumaker, a classics and letters professor at the University of Oklahoma, repeated the mantra that has become the left-wing template in recent years:

There are plenty of other people who came and “found” the Americas before Columbus did. I think that even if Columbus isn’t necessarily important as the person to discover the new world, his voyage, and then further, Spanish and Portuguese settlements, set up a chain reaction that made the Americas what they are today. Things like slavery, the decimation of native populations, all of those things were initiated by that first contact.

This sums up the smug academic attitude about Columbus found on most college campuses: (1) He did not accomplish anything of any importance; and (2) to whatever extent he did accomplish anything, it was something repugnant to all right-thinking people, as he was somehow responsible for the slavery of millions of black Africans and the deaths of millions of indigenous peoples.

South Dakota dropped Columbus Day back in 1990, in honor of Native American Day, and in 2014 Seattle and Minneapolis created Indigenous People’s Day. Since then, many other local governments have followed suit, including Multnomah County in Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; Olympia, Washington; Traverse City, Michigan; and Albuquerque, New Mexico. And, of course, many colleges also have concluded that Columbus must not be remembered — at least not in a positive way.

Oregon’s Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury issued a statement claiming that honoring of Columbus was a celebration of “genocide.”

Benjamin Harrison was the first American president to issue a proclamation which encouraged the celebration of Columbus Day in 1892, upon the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the explorer’s discovery of the New World. Harrison considered it appropriate for Americans to honor Columbus and to show “their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life.” After a lobbying campaign led by the Knights of Columbus, the Roman Catholic fraternal organization, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 of each year as a federal holiday.

Today, Americans of Italian ancestry are the most supportive of honoring Columbus, as he was an Italian from Genoa. In cities such as Buffalo, New York, with large populations of Americans of Italian ancestry, the day is still marked by parades and other celebrations. In Erie County, New York, Peter LoJacono of the Federation of Italian-American Societies in Western New York, told the Buffalo News, “This, for us, will always be Columbus Day. It’s a day we have always celebrated. We will continue to do so.”

So, the question is obvious. Is Columbus to be reviled or praised?

First, it should be noted that Columbus did not set out to “discover” America. Although popular culture now depicts him as being concerned primarily about gold and spices, this desire was actually part of a larger motivation. Columbus wanted to find enough wealth to finance a crusade to free the Holy Land from Islamic domination. Expecting to reach Asia by sailing west, he urged King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the Spanish sovereigns, “to spend all the profits from this enterprise on the conquest of Jerusalem.” (Emphasis added.)

The Muslims had conquered Constantinople a few years previously, completing their multigenerational conquest of the Christian world in the East, including the Byzantine Empire and the lands where Jesus had lived, died, and risen from the dead. Columbus, after a careful study of the Old and New Testaments, along with some readings in the works of the first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and the noted early church “father” Augustine, had concluded that the city of Jerusalem must be in Christian hands before Jesus would return.

While certainly the desire to reach the East by sailing west involved economics, Columbus did not set out from Spain to enslave American Indians. Indeed, he was ignorant of their very existence. After reading the travels of the Venetian Marco Polo, Columbus desired to reach the Gran Khan, the Mongol ruler of China. The Chinese monarchs had expressed an interest in the Christian faith. This created the idea within Columbus to convert China, and then with these combined Christian forces, proceed to drive the Muslims from the Holy Land.

Pre-Columbian America is pictured as a paradise by those who wish to denigrate Columbus. It was not. Slavery was hoary with age in America long before Columbus set sail from Spain. If Columbus is to be blamed for events which occurred long after his death, then he should be credited with certain achievements resulting from his voyages, as well. For instance, the Spanish Christians put a stop to the horrific human sacrifices and cannibalism practiced by the brutal Aztec empire.

Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish priest who advocated for better treatment of the native peoples, is often cited as the source of much of the alleged cruelties of Columbus. The truth is that las Casas was complimentary of Columbus in his Historia de las Indias. “He [Columbus] was a gentle man of great force and spirit, of lofty thoughts and naturally inclined to undertake worthy deeds and signal enterprises; patient and longsuffering, a forgiver of injustices who wished no more than that those who offended him should recognize their errors, and that the delinquents be reconciled to him.

Perhaps the most serious libel leveled against Columbus is that he committed genocide, and it is true that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of native peoples died in the decades after the Spanish invasion. But this charge is also easily refuted. The greatest cause of the deaths of the indigenous peoples of the Western hemisphere was disease, as the Spaniards introduced smallpox, plague, and measles into North and South America.

Tommy De Seno, writing in ‘The Truth About Columbus’, stated, “It is wrong also to blame Columbus for bringing genocidal microbes to kill native Americans.” He noted that the detractors “make fun of him thinking he was in the East. So was his evil plan to bring disease to wipe out the East?

As De Seno rightly contended, transcontinental contamination was inevitable at some point. While not as widespread a killer as smallpox was to the Indians, syphilis was introduced into Europe from the Americas, killing more than five million people.

But what did Columbus accomplish?

Although he was most likely not even the first person from Europe to make it to the Americas, none of these earlier “discoverers” changed the course of history. Columbus did. As Samuel Eliot Morrison wrote in his book Christopher Columbus, Mariner, “We now honor Columbus for doing something he never intended to do…. Yet we are right in so honoring him because no other sailor had the persistence, the knowledge, and the sheer guts to sail thousands of miles into the unknown ocean until he found land.”

Because of Columbus, millions of individual souls in the Western hemisphere were exposed to the Christian religion. While this is for some at best a non-issue, and for others an outright negative, it carried both eternal and temporal positive consequences for the indigenous peoples of America. Human sacrifice and cannibalism soon came to an end. In Europe, life was improved dramatically by the introduction of new foods such as okra, tomatoes, Indian corn (maize), squash, and more.

It is difficult to imagine how any person could wish upon the indigenous peoples of America the life that existed before Columbus, with human sacrifice and cannibalism. Indeed, if one were to make a “short list” of the persons in history who had done the most to improve the lives of more human beings, a name that would have to be on that list would be that of Christopher Columbus.

The effort to demonize Columbus is part of the larger campaign to attack the foundations of Western civilization. It is the same as the motivation for attacking the historical reputation of men such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Because once these men are set aside as objects of admiration, they can be replaced with leftist icons, for the purpose of advancing a secular and socialist agenda.

In the end, Columbus is hated for his greatest virtue: He brought the Christian faith and western civilization to the New World.


Columbus and the Hand of God

By De Lamar Jensen

What do we know of the real Columbus? What were his motives in pursuing his world-changing enterprise? Perhaps the greatest motivating feature of his life was his faith. His writings and the records kept by his contemporaries indicate that Columbus had unshakable faith that he was an instrument in God’s hands.

Born in or near Genoa in the fall of 1451, Columbus was the son of a master wool weaver who also became warden of one of the city gates.

But young Christopher’s first love was the sea, and as an adult, he became an experienced mariner and a practical businessman.

We learn from his son Ferdinand that Columbus “was well-built, of more than average stature, the face long, the cheeks somewhat high, his body neither fat nor lean. He had an aquiline nose and light-colored eyes; his complexion too was light and tending to bright red. In youth his hair was blonde, but when he reached the age of thirty, it all turned white. In eating and drinking, and in the adornment of his person, he was very moderate and modest. He was affable in conversation with strangers and very pleasant to members of his household, though with a certain gravity. 2 His contemporary biographer, Bartolomé de Las Casas, adds that he was a “tall, imposing, good-natured, kind, daring, courageous, and pious man. … He observed the fasts of the church most faithfully, confessed and took the Sacrament often, read the canonical offices like a member of a religious order and hated blasphemy and profane swearing. 3

Fernández de Oviedo called him “a man of honest life, … fair in speech, tactful and of a great creative talent; a good Latinist and most learned cosmographer; gracious when he wished to be, irascible when annoyed. 4

There is no doubt that Columbus wanted to climb socially, but he thought it necessary in order to realize his goals. He also revealed an exasperating stubbornness and had a strong tendency not only to exaggerate but to reorder reality in his mind to make it fit his preconceptions.

Columbus had little formal education, but he became highly competent in languages, cosmography, and nautical science, attributing all his skills to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “For the execution of the enterprise of the Indies, I made use of neither reason nor mathematics, nor world maps,” he wrote. 5

Perhaps nothing irked his contemporaries more than Columbus’s frank assertion that he was divinely chosen. “God made me the messenger of the new heaven and the new earth, of which He spoke in the Apocalypse of St. John after having spoken of it by the mouth of Isaiah,” Columbus wrote to a friend and confidant of the queen, “and he showed me where to find it.” 6

Columbus was convinced that the key to his enterprise was the spiritual gifts given him by the Lord: “He bestowed the arts of seamanship upon me in abundance, and has given me what was necessary from [astronomy], geometry, and arithmetic; and has given me adequate inventiveness in my soul.” Columbus was certain that God provided these gifts to be used in His service, “encouraging me to go forward, and without ceasing they inflame me with a sense of great urgency. 7

We have no way of knowing how or when “the Spirit of God … wrought upon the man.” Perhaps it came in his youth in Genoa, or during his early voyages in the Mediterranean. Maybe his enthusiasm developed after he came to the busy port of Lisbon as a young man of twenty-five and met his future wife, the noble Portuguese lady Dona Felipa Perestrelo. Perhaps inspiration came while he and his bride lived in the Madeira Islands, some four hundred miles out in the Atlantic. Or it might even have been while on trading expeditions, north as far as Iceland and south along the Guinea coast of Africa. We only know that by the time he presented his project to the king of Portugal in 1484 he was obsessed with the idea of finding a western route across the Atlantic to the Indies.

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