Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Columbus

 

Five scary Christopher Columbus quotes that let you celebrate the holiday the right way

Katie Halper

 posted this 13 Oct 2014

You’ve probably heard lots of great things about Christopher Columbus and tons of inspiring quotes from him about hard work, god, the sea etc.

But those don’t really capture what Columbus and the colonial expansion of which he was part were all about.

So, without further ado, allow me to present these quotes that you may not have heard, from or about Christopher Columbus. 

YOUR HIGHNESSES, as Catholic Christians and Princes who love the holy Christian faith, and the propagation of it, and who are enemies to the sect of Mahoma [Islam] and to all idolatries and heresies, resolved to send me, Cristóbal Colon, to the said parts of India to see the said princes …

with a view that they might be converted to our holy faith ….

Thus, after having turned out all the Jews from all your kingdoms and lordships

your Highnesses gave orders to me that with a sufficient fleet I should go to the said parts of India ….

I shall forget sleep, and shall work at the business of navigation, so that the service is performed.

I was right about how easy that whole subjugation thing would be!

In another letter to King Ferdinand, Columbus wrote 

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.

And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.

These Natives are so nice, we’d be crazy not to enslave them! 

This excerpt from Columbus’ diary describes the Arawak people who greeted him and his men:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… .

They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features….

They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… .

They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

 Rape! Columbus was such a mensch, he would let his men do whatever they wanted with the natives they captured. One of his men and a childhood friend of Columbus, Michele da Cuneo, describes in a letter how he raped a native woman:

While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked—as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire.

She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But—to cut a long story short—I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears.

Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores.

 But the anecdote captured above was not some isolated incident of cruelty.

Ironically, but in no way surprisingly, the Spanish who came to save the “heathens” from their idolatry, weren’t very Christ-like in their behavior.

In his book The Devastation of the IndiesBartolome de las Casas, the priest who accompanied Columbus on his conquest of Cuba, detailed the abuse and murder of the native population:

Endless testimonies . .. prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives…. But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy…

And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house.

They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike.

They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them head first against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!

Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim’s feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire.

With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim’s neck, saying, “Go now, carry the message,” meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains.

They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them….

 

 

 

Any knowledge of “History of Geography” or world maps?

Do you know that the Chinese cartographers oriented the southern hemisphere to be on the top of maps? Why?

The northern hemisphere (close to where they lived), was very cold and foggy, and the Moguls invaded China from there, thus, devaluing this northern hemisphere and relegating it to the bottom part of a map.

The Arab cartographers adopted the Chinese orientation.

For example, in 1157, Al Idrisi sent a most complete map of 70 double pages to King Roger II of Sicily.  The map detailed the Mediterranean Sea basin.

Obviously, you have to turn the map upside down to visualize it as we currently see it.  For example, if the concept of civilized and barbaric countries were prevalent in these ancient times, as it is now, the southern countries will boast to belong to the southern civilized hemisphere!

In Medieval Europe, top of maps represented the eastern side of the world. Why?

According to the Bible, East was the Eden because Cain was chased eastward toward the void.  Additionally, a belt of fire cordoned off the East portion, not to be accessible to entrance.  Christopher Columbus described the Antilles Islands (East of Asia in his mind) as Eden where people roamed completely naked and rich in exotic fruits.

Mercator, a Dutch cartographer (1512-1594), re-oriented the maps, on the ground that the southern hemisphere is “heavier” than the northern counterpart according to the Greek tradition. Europe was to be located in the center of the world.

Do you know that continents were categorized in two major groups and intermediate regions?

For example, you had the “solid regions” (Sub-Sahara Africa, Northern America, Southern America, Asia, Europe, and Antarctica) and the malleable autonomous regions such as (India, Australia, Russia, and the island of Madagascar).  The other regions were shared portions such as (North Africa, Turkey, Mongolia, Middle East, Central Asia, Central Europe…).  You can guess the geopolitical theme for this division of the world.

Do you know that, even recently in the 60’s, the world was divided as solid geography, liquid geography, and gaseous geography?

For example solid geography (founded by Paul Vidal de la Blanche, 1923) relied on the material objects such as mountain chains, raw materials, types of rocks…in order to describe a country?

The Anglo-Saxon description of geography was of the “liquid kind”, emphasizing space and modeling…a flux representation.

In the 80’s, description of geography included the time-line or history of a region, and thus, gaseous geography!

Fernand Braudel demonstrated the interconnections between Time (history of a region) and the Space (land facts) in describing a region…

In this globalization period, the world is divided among the developed countries (West Europe, USA, Japan, China, Russia), the fast developing countries (Brasil, India, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia…supplying the cheap work force), and the third world supplying the raw materials and minerals.

For example, I tend to believe that major rivers, much more than mountain chains, are the determining dividing lines among autonomous countries and representing the character of people.

It is toward major water sources that mankind agglomerated and settled and founded urban centers.  Within two decades, water resources will be scarce and the most important element for survival.  Countries controlling the origin or sources of major rivers will enjoy huge leverage in the geopolitical tag of war. (Read link in note)

For example, China will never relinquish Tibet:  The Himalaya mountain chains are the sources of most of the major rivers flowing in China, South-East Asia, and even in the Ganges (India).

Turkey control the sources of the Euphrates and Tiger rivers flowing into Syria and Iraq.

Ethiopia control the Nile water source…

Note 1:  Article was inspired from an article in the French monthly Sciences Humaines, and written by Christian Grataloup

Note 2:  https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2008/09/19/lions-and-lionesses-along-the-fertile-crescent-ancient-empires/

The Essence of Wars and the Spice Wars (October 1, 2008)

 

If you cannot acquire cheaply what you badly want then, borrow money at high interest rates to set up a stealing operation.  Since time immemorial, wars were the most expensive alternatives in order to get what States wanted for refusing to purchase at fair market values.  This article will describe the Spice Wars which Stephen Swig introduced in his “Magellan, the vanquisher of the seas”. As it is known, Magellan is the first mariner to circumnavigate earth’s seas and oceans. 

Medieval Europe got hooked and addicted on all the varieties of spices and perfumes arriving through the Arab Moslem World; the aristocratic classes even added spices to their drinks and the values of spices were more expensive than silver and gold; people even sold lands in exchange of spices and perfumes because they were common currencies.

            Prices of spices and perfumes were extremely high because the sources of their production were found on remote lands in South-East Asia and by the time every port taxed the shipments and then traveling the deserts of Iraq and Syria and with the loss of one ship for every five in the seas due to the danger of sea faring and pirates then the prices skyrocketed through multi-levels of middlemen. 

The Arabic kingdoms knew well the sources of production in Malaysia but they didn’t reach the main islands that were rich in spices beyond the Malacca Straight.  Malacca Straight is still now the most strategic location for maritime commerce where all the ships coming from China, Japan, Viet Nam, Thailand, Burma and the south-east Asian countries and islands have to cross that straight westward and the reverse for the Nations doing commerce eastward. 

All the spices and perfumes had to cross the Arab kingdoms, one way or another, and most middlemen, before the shipments of spices reached Europe were Arabs. The European States decided to conquer the Near East under the pretense of a Holy War to re-conquer Jerusalem. 

 The main target of the crusading campaigns was Egypt as the shortest route to shipments arriving by the Red Sea.  Unfortunately for the European coalitions three targeted Crusading invasions of Egypt failed miserably and the whole business failed for lack of incentives to finance further campaigns. 

In the meantime, Venice vanquished Byzantium naval power and became the exclusive wholesaler of spices.  The English, Holland and German middlemen auctioned out the spices on the Rialto Square in Venice and then sold them throughout the main European markets.

            It happened that in 1415, one of the sons of the King of Portugal, Prince Henrick, started to doubt the theory and affirmations of Ptolemy which stated that there are no exits in the Atlantic Ocean when you sail west or south and that past the equator in Africa nobody can return alive because of the heat, fire and Evil emanations.  Ptolemy even said that past the equator Africa is not inhabited and is a desolate land. Henrick resumed his research and investigations and trained mariners and built ships to verify his new theories.  Henrick died before he experienced the successes of his endurance and far sightedness.

            Within a century, Portugal, the tiniest and poorest State in Europe, became the strongest and richest nation.  Portugal ships colonized the whole of Africa, India, and Malaysia and even reached China and Japan. King Juan II of Portugal had a meeting with Christopher Columbus but didn’t see any value of discovering another route to India going west the Atlantic since the southern route was completely discovered and known and the Pope had allotted Africa and India to the kingdom of Portugal.  The King of Spain invested in Columbus and the Pope had to divide the Atlantic Ocean into two zones; thus, lands discovered were distributed between these two kingdoms; Brazil was within the dividing line of Portugal.

            Magellan decided to tour around the world by seas going westward as Columbus: his closest mariner friend Francisco Srao convinced him that the route westward is far shorter in order to visit him in the spice islands of Ternate, Mulouk, Panda and Ambo Ana.  Francisco had been living the good life for nine years among the aborigines’ four islands; it seems that the Arabs had not reached yet these islands.

            The 15th century was most active in maritime discovery and the cruelest; the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors slaughtered the aborigines and brought in to the conquered lands all kinds of diseases that the natives were not immune at.  It was the century that started the wholesale colonial wars among the powerful European States for cheap produces and large markets. 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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