Columbus was a “man of God” or a barbarous tyrant, depending on whos telling the story

There are a wide array of pictures of Christopher Columbus, some paint him as a saint with “superb faith in God” others as a genocidal maniac. Below are two of these portraits:

  • “He had his faults and his defects, but they were largely the defects of the qualities that made him great-his indomitable will, his superb faith in God and in his own mission as the Christ-bearer to lands beyond the seas, his stubborn persistence despite neglect, poverty and discouragement.” (1)
    (Samuel Morison, Harvard historian 1950’s)
  • “As soon as the 1493 expedition got to the Caribbean, before it even reached Haiti, Columbus was rewarding his lieutenants with native women to rape. Columbus himself wrote to a friend in 1500, “girls from 9-10…are in demand.” Bartolomé de las Casas who traveled with Columbus reported that he saw Columbus’s soldiers dismember, behead, or rape over 3,000 native people in a single day. Casas wrote “such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight as no age can parallel. My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write.” (2)
    (James Loewen, Harvard historian/sociologist, contemporary)

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