Christopher Columbus: Legends & Folklore

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
26,282
Reaction score
40,963
Points
314
Location
Out of Bounds
I found this article very interesting. It explains how Columbus had largely faded from historical prominence until he was 'resurrected' and heavily mythologized in American culture of the late 1800's.

How Did Christopher Columbus Become a National Symbol?
Christopher Columbus was a narcissist.

He believed he was personally chosen by God for a mission that no one else could achieve. After 1493, he signed his name "xpo ferens" – "the Christbearer." His stated goal was to accumulate enough wealth to recapture Jerusalem. His arrogance led to his downfall, that of millions of Native Americans – and eventually fostered his resurrection as the most enduring icon of the Americas. ...

In 1496, Columbus was the governor of a colony based at Santo Domingo ... – a job he hated. He could not convince the other "colonists," especially those with noble titles, to follow his leadership.

They were not colonists in the traditional sense of the word. They had gone to the Indies to get rich quick. Because Columbus was unable to temper their lust, the Crown viewed him as an incompetent administrator. The colony was largely a social and economic failure. ...

By 1500, conditions in Hispaniola were so dire that the Crown sent Francisco de Bobadilla to investigate. Bobadilla's first sight, at the mouth of the Ozama River, was four Spanish "mutineers" hanging from gallows. Under authority from the king, Bobadilla arrested Columbus and his brothers for malfeasance and sent them to Spain in chains. Columbus waited seven months for an audience at the court. He refused to have his chains removed until the meeting, and even asked in his will to be buried with the chains.

Although the Spanish rulers wanted Columbus to disappear, he was allowed one final voyage from 1502 to 1504. He died in 1506, and went virtually unmentioned by historians until he was resurrected as a symbol of the United States. ...

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/63775-how-columbus-became-national-symbol.html
 

RyoHazuki

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Sep 24, 2013
Messages
406
Reaction score
445
Points
69
In a similar but briefer vein, here's a passage from the excellent At Home by Bill Bryson:

"Though an accomplished enough mariner, he was not terribly good at a great deal else, especially geography, the skill that would seem most vital in an explorer. It would be hard to name any figure in history who has achieved more lasting fame with less competence. He spent large parts of eight years bouncing around Caribbean islands and coastal South America convinced that he was in the heart of the Orient and that Japan and China were at the edge of every sunset. He never worked out that Cuba was an island and never once set foot on, or even suspected the existence of, the land mass to the north that everyone thinks he discovered: the United States. He filled his holds with valueless iron pyrite thinking it was gold and with what he confidently believed to be cinnamon and pepper. The first was a worthless tree bark and the second were not true peppers but chillies....."

Oh, and his crew brought syphilis back to Europe.
 

ramonmercado

CyberPunk
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
54,008
Reaction score
32,333
Points
314
Location
Eblana
So maybe the epidemic was homegrown.

Medieval DNA suggests Columbus didn’t trigger syphilis epidemic in Europe
By Charlotte HartleyAug. 13, 2020 , 11:00 AM

In the late 1400s, a terrifying disease erupted in Europe, leaving victims with bursting boils and rotting flesh. The syphilis epidemic raged across the continent, killing up to 5 million people. For centuries, historians, and archaeologists have debated the origin of the disease, with some blaming Christopher Columbus and his crew for bringing it back from the Americas. Now, using DNA of the pathogen extracted from the remains of nine Europeans, researchers have found evidence that the epidemic was homegrown: Diverse syphilis strains were circulating in Europe, perhaps decades before Columbus’s voyages.

Today, syphilis and other conditions caused by the same bacterium, Treponema pallidum, such as yaws and bejel, are making a comeback, with millions of people infected every year. “These diseases are not just a problem of the past,” says Verena Schuenemann, a paleogeneticist at the University of Zürich and co-author of the new study. By understanding when and where T. pallidum originated, and how it has evolved, she says, researchers can learn how it might behave in the future and be prepared to treat it. ...

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/202...umbus-didn-t-trigger-syphilis-epidemic-europe
 

ramonmercado

CyberPunk
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
54,008
Reaction score
32,333
Points
314
Location
Eblana
I wonder if they'll change the name of the country?

Anti-government protesters in Colombia have toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus in the coastal city of Barranquilla.

The figure of the European explorer, after whom Colombia is named, was dragged from its plinth with ropes and vandalised. The demonstration marked two months since the start of a nationwide protest movement calling for social reform.

Indigenous activists see Columbus as a symbol of colonialism and oppression.
The mayor of Barranquilla said those responsible would be brought to justice.
The Columbus statue is the latest to be pulled from its pedestal as part of the anti-government protests which have been sweeping through the country.

One of the first to fall was that of the 16th Century Spanish conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar in the south-western city of Popayán in September.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-57651833
 
Top