Thursday 13 October 2016

Straight Talk About Christopher Columbus

Oscar Wilde said,
"America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up."
"America has never quite forgiven Europe for having been discovered somewhat earlier in history than itself."
Columbus Day is the day when American countries celebrate what used to be the discovery of America but is now the European discovery of America.

It was not a festival that I mark and so I missed it a few days ago, but this article by historian David Tucker in the Wall St. Journal on the subject of the European conquest of the Americas is very worth reading. He points out:

"... a rel­atively small num­ber of Spaniards were able to con­quer the Aztec em­pire in part be­cause many of the in­dige­nous peo­ple the Aztecs had con­quered—and of­ten sac­ri­ficed to their gods—hated the Aztecs and joined with the Span­ish to fight them."
Mexicans had long believed in a saviour who would come to them from the East and identified stout Cortez with this saviour. About this they were right. 

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, terrible article. One only has to look at the brutality of the Portuguese upon arrival in the Indian Ocean - where they tore into long-established and peaceful trading patterns and massacred entire shiploads of merchants for one instance of just how European violence had a particularly disruptive impact rather than just being one war after another. The idea that equality or coexistence or criticism of colonialism are exclusively European inventions is very silly, the idea that that retroactively justifies the vast brutalities of the 19th century is even sillier.