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(The Oatmeal)   "(Christopher Columbus) discovered the New World much like a meteorite discovered the dinosaurs"   (theoatmeal.com) divider line 117
    More: Misc, dinosaurs, Meteorite, Howard Zinn, primary sources, Christopher Columbus  
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4180 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Oct 2013 at 11:12 AM (41 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-10 10:38:01 AM
Is any of this new to anyone?  I thought at least by the end of high school everyone basically knew that the whole Columbus legend was total bunk.
 
2013-10-10 10:58:45 AM
Columbus was the beginning of widespread knowledge of the New World, and the beginning of expansion into it.

The Vikings just fished nearby.  And the Native Americans just killed each other less efficiently than Europeans.  And the Chinese did not discover America.

I'm celebrating Columbus Day with pasta.  He brought tomatoes to Italy.  He is responsible for The Olive Garden.
 
2013-10-10 11:06:42 AM

I_C_Weener: He is responsible for The Olive Garden.


So we agree: history's greatest monster.
 
2013-10-10 11:24:37 AM
I understand why we teach young children a simplistic version of historic events and then later build on that knowledge with a deeper exploration of the events' complexity. What I don't get is why we teach them things that are outright lies and then if they do on to higher education, start correcting it. Wouldn't it be better to tell them the truth, even if a simplistic version, rather than needing to undo everything that was taught before? And for those who stop their education early, they wouldn't be saddled with so much BS.
 
2013-10-10 11:25:44 AM

I_C_Weener: Columbus was the beginning of widespread knowledge of the New World, and the beginning of expansion into it.


Was Columbus a gigantic asshole? Sure.

But people who work that old saw "Nobody thought the world was flat, Columbus didn't truly discover the Americas" forget that Columbus was the one who opened it up to European cultures... basically joining the world's landmasses into one set of history instead of several smaller parallel histories.

He doesn't take that trip, it's quite a while until the Americas are found and world history looks one whole hell of a lot different.

Besides, we can easily argue that Columbus Day isn't really a "real" holiday. If you don't work for the government or a bank, well, your ass is likely working that day. For most people it's just a day where bank deposits aren't recorded and your trip to the mailbox was in vain.
 
2013-10-10 11:30:45 AM

EngineerAU: I understand why we teach young children a simplistic version of historic events and then later build on that knowledge with a deeper exploration of the events' complexity. What I don't get is why we teach them things that are outright lies and then if they do on to higher education, start correcting it. Wouldn't it be better to tell them the truth, even if a simplistic version, rather than needing to undo everything that was taught before? And for those who stop their education early, they wouldn't be saddled with so much BS.


How do you put "Essentially, it was a genocide" into something that children are capable of taking in?  I don't recall learning about the horrors of the holocaust in grade school either.
 
2013-10-10 11:31:31 AM
For anyone interested in how much a genius Bartolome las Casas was read his debates with Sepulveda over the crown policies in the Spanish colonies.

Despite being a priest this guy really comes off as a secret human secularist and was a brilliant defender of basic human rights.

/a true soldier of the Enlightenment
//Deserves to be placed next to the likes Norman Borlaug as a individual who saved millions of people and to whom 100's of millions owe their lives today
 
2013-10-10 11:34:15 AM
I've always hated the Columbus myth, specifically because everybody (except school teachers, apparently) know it's complete bunk. Making Columbus into a monster is not entirely fair, either, he was just as ignorant as any other entitled noble of the time, but I'm now interested in the Bartolome guy, who I've never heard of before.
 
2013-10-10 11:36:33 AM

nekom: How do you put "Essentially, it was a genocide" into something that children are capable of taking in? I don't recall learning about the horrors of the holocaust in grade school either.


There were other consequences/outcomes of Columbus' voyage (that don't necessarily feed your righteous self-loathing) that grade-school kids can understand.
 
2013-10-10 11:38:07 AM

EngineerAU: I understand why we teach young children a simplistic version of historic events and then later build on that knowledge with a deeper exploration of the events' complexity. What I don't get is why we teach them things that are outright lies and then if they do on to higher education, start correcting it. Wouldn't it be better to tell them the truth, even if a simplistic version, rather than needing to undo everything that was taught before? And for those who stop their education early, they wouldn't be saddled with so much BS.


ecx.images-amazon.com
 
2013-10-10 11:40:08 AM
Bumretch, Nebrahoma sounds charming.
 
2013-10-10 11:41:25 AM
In before "The Oatmeal is no good anymore, in fact The Oatmeal has NEVER been any good".
 
2013-10-10 11:42:36 AM

I_C_Weener: He is responsible for The Olive Garden.


And here I thought his legacy couldn't be more tarnished.
 
2013-10-10 11:51:56 AM
Call it Explorers Day and plaster Louis & Clark, Glenn, Armstrong and Buzz's face everywhere
 
2013-10-10 11:52:05 AM

nmrsnr: I've always hated the Columbus myth, specifically because everybody (except school teachers, apparently) know it's complete bunk. Making Columbus into a monster is not entirely fair, either, he was just as ignorant as any other entitled noble of the time, but I'm now interested in the Bartolome guy, who I've never heard of before.


What? He is a key founding father, when you get him all of your Indian converts switch to normal colonists, which is a major boost if you do it at the right time i.e. once you have lots of schools/colleges/universities to turn them into specialists relatively quickly to offset the lost bonus production you get for converts working land squares.
 
2013-10-10 11:54:15 AM

EngineerAU: I understand why we teach young children a simplistic version of historic events and then later build on that knowledge with a deeper exploration of the events' complexity. What I don't get is why we teach them things that are outright lies and then if they do on to higher education, start correcting it. Wouldn't it be better to tell them the truth, even if a simplistic version, rather than needing to undo everything that was taught before? And for those who stop their education early, they wouldn't be saddled with so much BS.


Richard Shenkman called it "the confusing method." Step one: tell them about how everyone thought the earth was flat, priests argued about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin, everyone was executed for witchcraft. Step two, tell them none of that stuff is true."
 
2013-10-10 11:58:51 AM
Wow, this comic is so much wrong LOL.

He says the Santa Maria wrecked in the Lucayas and then Columbus returned to Spain.

Weeeeeeeeeeell...NOPE.

After he went to the Lucayas, he reached Cuba and then an island he named the Hispaniola. That's where the Santa Maria wrecked and with the wood from the ship they made a fort called Fort Christmas in Spanish, because it was in December. He left a portion of the crew to hold the fort and went back to Spain in the other two ships.

And Columbus himself was a rather decent guy (I'm not going to speak on behalf of his personal morals or how he may have treated some natives. I wasn't there and it was a different world.) But Columbus isn't responsible for the genocide.

1.- Columbus wasn't given a real crew the first time around. He was given a bunch of guys who were in jail for murder, theft and other crimes. The King of Spain thought this journey was bogus so he refused to send his good men overthere. Gee. I wonder what happens when you send the antisocial garbage of your society to another. After Columbus returned and the King spit his cereal, he sent a real fleet of 17 ships and army lol.

2.- When he returned in the Second Journey, he found that the remaining crew on the island had gotten into skirmishes with the natives and the fort had been burned and some of the men killed.

3.- During the third journey, one of the things he did was get beat up, jailed and sent to Spain. There was some charges about Columbus engaging in slavery (as if...), but the real reason is that Columbus and the Kingdom of Spain had an agreement before the first journey. Columbus would be Viceroy of all the found lands and his family will keep that governing title forever as well as receive a percentage of the riches found. It's very clear that once the colonization was taking form, Spain didn't want to have to share their stuff with Columbus and threw him under the bus.

4.- After some years, he got pardoned and managed to make a fourth journey.  Discovering even more land. After that he went to Spain and died a couple of years later. By this time, the Spanish Crown had relented a bit and gave his family the control of Hispaniola, at least. Eventually they also were phased out.

So yeah, this Oatmeal guy just made a fool out of himself. Especially with that crap in the beginning about HE being the one to educate the public.

I love how that idiot says in big bold letters that "HE's going to dispel those ideas", then at the end of the article, puts a statement in some bullshiat microfont nobody can read saying "This article is based on the information found on these two books".

So you were repeating other's people work and giving yourself tons of credit? Good jorb, Oatmeal!
 
2013-10-10 12:01:32 PM

ShadowKamui: Call it Explorers Day and plaster Louis & Clark, Glenn, Armstrong and Buzz's face everywhere


Throw in some Cabot, De Soto, Ponce de Leon, Cook... yeah, I kinda like this idea. L&C don't get enough love, I agree.
 
2013-10-10 12:04:49 PM
Blaming Columbus for the deaths of people in North and South America is unfair on the level of Europeans holding their nose and pretending the Holocaust was solely perpetrated by Hitler.

Why yes, France handed over Jews faster than the Nazis could process them.
 
2013-10-10 12:10:44 PM

rocky_howard: I love how that idiot says in big bold letters that "HE's going to dispel those ideas", then at the end of the article, puts a statement in some bullshiat microfont nobody can read saying "This article is based on the information found on these two books".


That's called citing sources. Where did you get your information? Did you go to research libraries and study the primary sources yourself?

The shipwrecking in the Lucayas vs. Hispaniola is a discrepancy, but not one that is important to his "Columbus was the cause of much suffering" thesis, as for your other points, how do they contradict anything that Inman said? Columbus did set sail for gold (no Earth is round BS), did start the slave trade, and did cause the slaughter of millions of indigenous peoples, what does his power struggle with the King of Spain have to do with that?
 
2013-10-10 12:12:31 PM
Almost no drawings, very little text. Most of which is in Comic Sans.

Best. Internet. Cartoonist. EVAR
 
2013-10-10 12:13:42 PM
Rename it "Genocide Day" and honor him along with Hitler, Pol Pot, and George W. Bush.
 
2013-10-10 12:16:29 PM
Sure, Columbus was an ass.
But so is Inman. Not much has changed.
 
2013-10-10 12:17:07 PM

Mr_Fabulous: ShadowKamui: Call it Explorers Day and plaster Louis & Clark, Glenn, Armstrong and Buzz's face everywhere

Throw in some Cabot, De Soto, Ponce de Leon, Cook... yeah, I kinda like this idea. L&C don't get enough love, I agree.


I thought L&C got a TV show together... Something about the New Adventurers of Superman. And they got married near the end of the series and adopted a child.

Actually, when I was younger (no older then 10), I did not know about Louis and Clark.  I thought they meant Lois and Clark when I was at NASA taking the bus tour. That was the first time I can actually recall hearing their names.
 
2013-10-10 12:21:13 PM

Mr_Fabulous: ShadowKamui: Call it Explorers Day and plaster Louis & Clark, Glenn, Armstrong and Buzz's face everywhere

Throw in some Cabot, De Soto, Ponce de Leon, Cook... yeah, I kinda like this idea. L&C don't get enough love, I agree.


I'm willing to include Henry Hudson and Peter Puget in this Explorers' Day nomination.

As for the article itself, I have trouble trusting anyone who cites books of that nature, regardless of the author.  I understood the implication of Columbus laying the foundation for New World exploration in the 4th grade, but I don't know about the whole 'father of the transatlantic slave trade' line.
 
2013-10-10 12:26:50 PM

nmrsnr: That's called citing sources. Where did you get your information? Did you go to research libraries and study the primary sources yourself?


One of two of Oatmeals sources is "A Peoples History of the United States".  One of the major issues with the book is .... not citing sources.

/Oatmeal did the same with when he bashed Edison - getting many things wrong and not being ... lets see here ... objective
 
2013-10-10 12:35:18 PM

akula: He doesn't take that trip, it's quite a while

another couple of years until the Americas are found invaded by Europeans and world history looks one whole hell of a lot different pretty much the same.

FTFY

Columbus didn't do anything that others weren't thinking of doing. He just did it a little sooner.

gingerjet: Oatmeal did the same with when he bashed Edison - getting many things wrong and not being ... lets see here ... objective


What is there to be objective about? Edison was a complete douche-bag.
 
2013-10-10 12:35:29 PM
nmrsnr: That's called citing sources. Where did you get your information? Did you go to research libraries and study the primary sources yourself?


Missing the point, brah. He was being all bombastic about being the bringer of the light. Should have mentioned the books in the beginning instead of in a microfont-sized footer at the bottom of the whole thing.

The shipwrecking in the Lucayas vs. Hispaniola is a discrepancy, but not one that is important to his "Columbus was the cause of much suffering" thesis

It IS important. It's not just the shipwrecking. He also told the rest of the story as if it happened in Lucayas. If he was wrong/lying about that, what else couldn't he be wrong/lying about? It's even more jarring when he mentions Bartolomé and doesn't even mention that Bartolomé was in Hispaniola, not Lucayas. also that Bartolomé de Las Casas came to the Americas like 7 years after Columbus had died. So yeah, Oatmeal doesn't know what he's talking about. He read part of those books and rushed to make a shiatty article.

as for your other points, how do they contradict anything that Inman said? Columbus did set sail for gold (no Earth is round BS), did start the slave trade, and did cause the slaughter of millions of indigenous peoples, what does his power struggle with the King of Spain have to do with that?

I never said the flat thing was wrong. It's rather dumb to even say that. How would Columbus plan to get to the other side if it was flat? And he couldn't just do it on "faith". Everybody knew it was round, his thesis was that it was shorter if they went his route rather than rounding Africa. What they were wrong about was the size of the planet and the Americas not being there.

And Columbus DID NOT set sail for gold. He only got interested in gold once he saw the natives being pimped the hell out with all manner of bracelets and necklaces.

The slave trade wasn't started by him either. The Portuguese were the ones who started the slave trade. Y'know "slave trade" refers to commerce with slaves, right?

If you're talking about the natives being made slaves... Well, Columbus didn't invent slavery, so that's another fail on your part...

Regarding his accusations, gee, it was made by people who hated him and wanted him out of power. I'm sure they never told a lie...

And how did he CAUSE the slaughter of millions of indigenous people? Save for a minor portion of his fourth journey, the guy never placed a foot in the continental Americas, LOL. Blame Pizarro, Cortés, Alvarado, De Cuellar, De Almagro, De Solís, the British and then the USA for that.
 
2013-10-10 12:39:17 PM
If it hadn't been Columbus it would have been some other European. The days of blissful isolation for the Native Americans were numbered in any case once the Portuguese invented deep ocean navigation. The Native American genocide was not deliberate; European diseases spread far in advance of actual European arrival and there are many European accounts of arriving at empty Indian settlements already bereft of life. Heck, Squanto attached himself to the Pilgrims because his native village had been wiped out by smallpox prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. As for enslavement, expulsion and forced conversion, those have been par for the course in every civilization that ever came into contact with its technological inferiors. The only difference is that we feel guilty about it.
 
2013-10-10 12:42:11 PM

gingerjet: One of two of Oatmeals sources is "A Peoples History of the United States".  One of the major issues with the book is .... not citing sources./Oatmeal did the same with when he bashed Edison - getting many things wrong and not being ... lets see here ... objective


He's a web comic, he has no duty to be objective. As for the sources he cites not citing sources, that's a fair objection, but again, while he may have been biased in his portrayal of Columbus (one could argue that he was only pointing out the dirt because school only points out the highlights, so there's no need to reiterate that), what in the portrayal was false to the point of undermining his thesis? Did Columbus not force the indigenous peoples to pay gold tribute? Did he not start using them as sex slaves? Did he not inadvertently start the trans-Atlantic slave trade? Did he not, kind of advertently, cause a genocide?

His point is Columbus was not a historical figure really worth celebrating. It'd be like having a Genghis Khan day. A momentous person in history, but not someone you want to be particularly happy about.
 
2013-10-10 12:44:13 PM
As a wise man once said, he only discovered that he was lost.
 
2013-10-10 12:51:23 PM

rocky_howard: Wow, this comic is so much wrong LOL.

He says the Santa Maria wrecked in the Lucayas and then Columbus returned to Spain.

Weeeeeeeeeeell...NOPE.

After he went to the Lucayas, he reached Cuba and then an island he named the Hispaniola. That's where the Santa Maria wrecked and with the wood from the ship they made a fort called Fort Christmas in Spanish, because it was in December. He left a portion of the crew to hold the fort and went back to Spain in the other two ships.

And Columbus himself was a rather decent guy (I'm not going to speak on behalf of his personal morals or how he may have treated some natives. I wasn't there and it was a different world.) But Columbus isn't responsible for the genocide.

1.- Columbus wasn't given a real crew the first time around. He was given a bunch of guys who were in jail for murder, theft and other crimes. The King of Spain thought this journey was bogus so he refused to send his good men overthere. Gee. I wonder what happens when you send the antisocial garbage of your society to another. After Columbus returned and the King spit his cereal, he sent a real fleet of 17 ships and army lol.

2.- When he returned in the Second Journey, he found that the remaining crew on the island had gotten into skirmishes with the natives and the fort had been burned and some of the men killed.

3.- During the third journey, one of the things he did was get beat up, jailed and sent to Spain. There was some charges about Columbus engaging in slavery (as if...), but the real reason is that Columbus and the Kingdom of Spain had an agreement before the first journey. Columbus would be Viceroy of all the found lands and his family will keep that governing title forever as well as receive a percentage of the riches found. It's very clear that once the colonization was taking form, Spain didn't want to have to share their stuff with Columbus and threw him under the bus.

4.- After some years, he got pardoned and managed to make a fourth journey. ...


I do so enjoy your use of Ignoratio elenchi and red herrings to attempt to make this man seem any less terrible.  Just because the royal court of Spain was a jerk to Columbus does not justify his actions.

You are essentially defending a pedophile, slave trafficker, thief, murderer, and rapist.  And you do so out of some misplaced jingoist notion that if it were not for him then we wouldn't have big foam fingers with USA written on them.  Seriously, show some insight for once.
 
2013-10-10 12:52:40 PM

nmrsnr: He's a web comic, he has no duty to be objective.


Bullshiat. Especially when you're boasting of clearing people's ignorance...

As for the sources he cites not citing sources, that's a fair objection, but again, while he may have been biased in his portrayal of Columbus (one could argue that he was only pointing out the dirt because school only points out the highlights, so there's no need to reiterate that), what in the portrayal was false to the point of undermining his thesis?

That's a rather pedestrian way of talking about history. Reducing history to Internet memeification is just as harmful... Sure, you can make jokes about history and don't need to be correct. But when you make it a point to "educate" people and you just post a bunch of crap, it's not really educating...

Did Columbus not force the indigenous peoples to pay gold tribute?

Yes. And?

Did he not start using them as sex slaves?

Unlikely and debatable. Sounds like assassination of character.

Did he not inadvertently start the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

LOL, no. Portuguese did.

Did he not, kind of advertently, cause a genocide?

Eh...obviously not. Do you blame Einstein and Planck for Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl? Heck, you probably don't even blame Truman and he was the guy who ordered the bombs be dropped.

His point is Columbus was not a historical figure really worth celebrating. It'd be like having a Genghis Khan day. A momentous person in history, but not someone you want to be particularly happy about.

And I agree. Columbus shouldn't be celebrated and October 12th should be a memorial day for the biggest genocide in history. But blaming Columbus for it is rather idiotic and reductive. That just tells people that "if only Columbus hadn't existed, everything would be peachy" instead of telling them the ugly truth that it was going to happen anyway because we had little regard for human life back then. Especially when it was the lives of foreign people.
 
2013-10-10 12:53:34 PM

nmrsnr: gingerjet: One of two of Oatmeals sources is "A Peoples History of the United States".  One of the major issues with the book is .... not citing sources./Oatmeal did the same with when he bashed Edison - getting many things wrong and not being ... lets see here ... objective

He's a web comic, he has no duty to be objective. As for the sources he cites not citing sources, that's a fair objection, but again, while he may have been biased in his portrayal of Columbus (one could argue that he was only pointing out the dirt because school only points out the highlights, so there's no need to reiterate that), what in the portrayal was false to the point of undermining his thesis? Did Columbus not force the indigenous peoples to pay gold tribute? Did he not start using them as sex slaves? Did he not inadvertently start the trans-Atlantic slave trade? Did he not, kind of advertently, cause a genocide?

His point is Columbus was not a historical figure really worth celebrating. It'd be like having a Genghis Khan day. A momentous person in history, but not someone you want to be particularly happy about.


Actually, Genghis Khan Day probably is worth celebrating. First of all, if you're from territory that was once held by the Mongols, chances are excellent he's one of your ancestors. Approximately 8% of the male populace in those areas carries his DNA. Secondly, Genghis Khan did not like Muslims and his incursion into the Middle East brought an abrupt end to Arab expansion. Europe would probably be Muslim today were it not for ol' Genghis. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing, but if you're a Christian of one persuasion or another, Genghis Khan probably saved your ass.
 
2013-10-10 12:54:25 PM

rocky_howard: And how did he CAUSE the slaughter of millions of indigenous people? Save for a minor portion of his fourth journey, the guy never placed a foot in the continental Americas, LOL. Blame Pizarro, Cortés, Alvarado, De Cuellar, De Almagro, De Solís, the British and then the USA for that.


From James Loewen's Book 'Lies my Teacher Told Me' which specifically cites primary sources in its research:

"Estimates of Haiti's pre-Columbian population range as high as 8,000,000 people... a census of Indian adults in 1496.. came up with 1,100,000... "By 1516," according to Benjamin Keen, "thanks to the sinister Indian slave trade and labor policies initiated by Columbus, only some 12,000 remained." Las Casas tells us that fewer than 200 Indians were alive in 1542. By 1555, they were all gone"

/That's just Haiti.
 
2013-10-10 12:56:31 PM

nmrsnr: Did he not, kind of advertently, cause a genocide?



I'd ask someone of Ciboney or Lucayan heritage what they thought about Columbus, but...
 
2013-10-10 12:57:15 PM

standardeviation: I do so enjoy your use of Ignoratio elenchi and red herrings to attempt to make this man seem any less terrible.  Just because the royal court of Spain was a jerk to Columbus does not justify his actions.


That's not what I'm doing at all. Learn2Read.

You are essentially defending a pedophile, slave trafficker, thief, murderer, and rapist.

Uncertain and ultimately irrelevant. Tesla, the same guy who Oatmeal defended was a eugenic racist and possibly pedophile too. So....

History is full of HUMAN BEINGS, not Saints. Human beings can do all that stuff you mentioned. YOU can do those things too, so don't look down from your ivory tower.

If we're going to demonize every historic figure, then we would only be left with villains. The American Founding Fathers had slaves! OMG! Not that Columbus was a hero, of course not.

And you do so out of some misplaced jingoist notion that if it were not for him then we wouldn't have big foam fingers with USA written on them.  Seriously, show some insight for once.

LOL, I'm not even from the USA, but nice swing and miss.
 
2013-10-10 12:58:26 PM
Columbus Day is still a holiday? Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo more than we celebrate Columbus Day. Can we just replace it? BS holidays are really wack.
 
2013-10-10 01:01:49 PM

clambam: Europe would probably be Muslim today were it not for ol' Genghis

Chales Martel.


The Mongols never got past Poland.
 
2013-10-10 01:06:51 PM

BafflerMeal: "Estimates of Haiti's pre-Columbian population range as high as 8,000,000 people... a census of Indian adults in 1496.. came up with 1,100,000... "By 1516," according to Benjamin Keen, "thanks to the sinister Indian slave trade and labor policies initiated by Columbus, only some 12,000 remained." Las Casas tells us that fewer than 200 Indians were alive in 1542. By 1555, they were all gone"

/That's just Haiti.


First, it's literally impossible for the pre-Columbian population to be 8,000,000 people... That was more than 500 years ago and the world went from 1,000,000,000 to 7,000,000,000 in little more than 100 years, right? Okay, today Haiti and Dominican Republic have a combined population of 22 million people. Back in 1900, the population of DR was little more than 1,000,000 people. There's NO WAY there were EIGHT MILLION people in Pre-Columbian era...

Especially since Tainos were mostly hunters/gatherers (they did cultivate cassava). There was no infrastructure to feed and keep eight million people alive.

Second, Columbus died in 1506 and he barely spent time on Hispaniola as governor. I'd blame more Nicolás de Ovando for the systematical extinction of Hispaniola "natives" (I use quotes, because they were immigrants too. They were of Arawak descent and came to Hispaniola from South America through the Lesser Antilles). Taíno just means "the good/noble guys" (noble as in good-hearted, not nobility). They inhabitated 4/5 of the islant. The rest was inhabitanted by the Caribs, which means "the feisty/unruly ones", which also why the Caribbean Sea is called that way, since it's an unruly sea.
 
2013-10-10 01:09:04 PM

rocky_howard: Did he not inadvertently start the trans-Atlantic slave trade?LOL, no. Portuguese did.Did he not, kind of advertently, cause a genocide?Eh...obviously not. Do you blame Einstein and Planck for Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Chernobyl? Heck, you probably don't even blame Truman and he was the guy who ordered the bombs be dropped.


The Portuguese made it popular, Columbus convinced the Spanish (and by competition, the Portuguese) that going over, enslaving the people there to give you gold, then shipping back gold and slaves was a winning business proposition.

As for the genocide, it's a bit different creating the tools of destruction (Einstein, Oppenheimer) to advocating their use. Columbus went back to Spain, with gold and slaves, and said "hey, that totally worked, we should go back with guns and take get more" instead of "they have things to trade, let's bring guns to trade them, and other things they might want." Treating them as people instead of chattel might have made a very large difference in whether or not later conquerers came as conquerers at all. I don't blame Columbus for his decision, they were heathen savages, not worthy of being called people in the eyes of Enlightened Men of Europe, but it doesn't absolve him, either.
 
2013-10-10 01:11:25 PM

nmrsnr: I don't blame Columbus for his decision, they were heathen savages, not worthy of being called people in the eyes of Enlightened Men of Europe, but it doesn't absolve him, either.


Well, that's all I'm saying. Columbus isn't some kind of holy man. Just a man living in his circumstances. Saying "it was Columbus fault!" is very reductive and not helpful to understand history.
 
2013-10-10 01:12:59 PM

I_C_Weener: Columbus was the beginning of widespread knowledge of the New World, and the beginning of expansion into it.

The Vikings just fished nearby.  And the Native Americans just killed each other less efficiently than Europeans.  And the Chinese did not discover America.

I'm celebrating Columbus Day with pasta.  He brought tomatoes to Italy.  He is responsible for The Olive Garden.


The Chinese did discover America, they just walked there thousands of years ago when the Straight was a land mass. It has been proven that Native American DNA descended from Asian and S. American sources. 

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1207/12072012-native-america n- migration 
http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-anthropologists-clarify-link -b etween-asians-and-early-native-americans 
http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=9101">http:/ /www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=9101 

The Vikings landed in Newfoundland and lived there - even if temporarily for foraging expeditions.
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/canadaweb/factfile/Unique-facts-Cana da 2.htm 

Sure, the Native Americans fought each other, but we are talking skirmishes, not genocide.
 
2013-10-10 01:14:11 PM

nmrsnr: I don't blame Columbus for his decision, they were heathen savages, not worthy of being called people in the eyes of Enlightened Men of Europe, but it doesn't absolve him, either.


And forgot this:

Therein lies the entire problem with Columbus, either good guy or wretched evil, both sides are putting him in a VERY tall pedestal. If one looks at the big picture, he wasn't THAT important either way. Heck, the continents even aren't named after him but the guy who came and said "er, guys, this is not the Indies, this is a different thing altogether", Americo Vespucio.
 
2013-10-10 01:14:21 PM

give me doughnuts: clambam: Europe would probably be Muslim today were it not for ol' GenghisChales Martel.


The Mongols never got past Poland.


The Mongols destroyed the Arab Caliphate and permanently ended the triumphant expansion of Islam as the preeminent literary and scientific civilization west of China. The Arabs never really recovered. The ravages of the Golden Horde created a power vacuum for 150 years that enabled the Europeans to recover from worst of the Middle Ages and defend themselves--barely--against the Turkish expansion when it came. Even so it was touch and go and a powerful, wealthy and undefeated Arab Empire would eventually have conquered the West. Certainly all of southern Europe would be Muslim today.
 
2013-10-10 01:17:13 PM

clambam: If it hadn't been Columbus it would have been some other European. The days of blissful isolation for the Native Americans were numbered in any case once the Portuguese invented deep ocean navigation. The Native American genocide was not deliberate; European diseases spread far in advance of actual European arrival and there are many European accounts of arriving at empty Indian settlements already bereft of life.



Exactly. The spread of disease wasn't a malicious genocide, just like catching the flu from a coworker doesn't mean he is intentionally assaulting you.
 
2013-10-10 01:20:38 PM

Foxxinnia: Columbus Day is still a holiday? Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo more than we celebrate Columbus Day. Can we just replace it? BS holidays are really wack.


Right?  How about we give back "Columbus Day" and replace it with "The Day After Thanksgiving", you know, a day people actually give a shiat about having off.
 
2013-10-10 01:21:59 PM

clambam: If it hadn't been Columbus it would have been some other European. The days of blissful isolation for the Native Americans were numbered in any case once the Portuguese invented deep ocean navigation. The Native American genocide was not deliberate; European diseases spread far in advance of actual European arrival and there are many European accounts of arriving at empty Indian settlements already bereft of life. Heck, Squanto attached himself to the Pilgrims because his native village had been wiped out by smallpox prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. As for enslavement, expulsion and forced conversion, those have been par for the course in every civilization that ever came into contact with its technological inferiors. The only difference is that we feel guilty about it.


So much this.
 
2013-10-10 01:23:05 PM

give me doughnuts: What is there to be objective about? Edison was a complete douche-bag.


So what? He was also brilliant and achieved a hell of a lot more in his lifetime than Oatmeals personal lord and saviour Tesla (who, btw, was also a douche-bag).

/wish he just keep to writing comics about his dogs poop habits
 
2013-10-10 01:28:18 PM

rocky_howard: standardeviation: I do so enjoy your use of Ignoratio elenchi and red herrings to attempt to make this man seem any less terrible.  Just because the royal court of Spain was a jerk to Columbus does not justify his actions.

That's not what I'm doing at all. Learn2Read.

You are essentially defending a pedophile, slave trafficker, thief, murderer, and rapist.

Uncertain and ultimately irrelevant. Tesla, the same guy who Oatmeal defended was a eugenic racist and possibly pedophile too. So....

History is full of HUMAN BEINGS, not Saints. Human beings can do all that stuff you mentioned. YOU can do those things too, so don't look down from your ivory tower.

If we're going to demonize every historic figure, then we would only be left with villains. The American Founding Fathers had slaves! OMG! Not that Columbus was a hero, of course not.

And you do so out of some misplaced jingoist notion that if it were not for him then we wouldn't have big foam fingers with USA written on them.  Seriously, show some insight for once.

LOL, I'm not even from the USA, but nice swing and miss.


Ah, Dominican Republic.  I apologize for the ad hominim attack.  However, your arguments are based on excusing his behavior rather than examining it for what it was; inexcusable.  While all people are humans, if you lead a decent life and act according to some moral compass rather than expressly trying to get rich no matter what the cost.  Then history tends to be kinder to you and what you did.  History is not kind to Columbus precisely because of what he did.  Others have tried to argue away his sins, but in the end he is responsible for creating a culture of colonialism and conquest that has marred the western hemisphere since his arrival.

I mean, come on.  The guy sold children as sex slaves.
 
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