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Please note — sensitive subject matter below.

On Monday, October 9, 2017, the United States celebrated Columbus Day.

The actual day is October 12, but the second Monday is chosen to give Americans a three-day holiday where it is observed.

When I learned about Christopher Columbus in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the teachers presented a straightforward lesson. We all had to know the year he arrived: 1492. We had to know the names of his ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. We learned that he was an Italian, from Genoa. We learned that Spain — King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I — financed his trip to the New World, which he hoped was the Indies in Asia. The object was to acquire valuable natural resources, e.g. gold.

I don’t think many of us walked out of that history lesson thinking Columbus was perfect, but we remembered that he opened up the Atlantic to future exploration, colonisation and trade.

The American colonies were, for a time, referred to popularly as Columbia, even though Columbus never landed on the US mainland.

Columbus always maintained that the islands he claimed for Spain were in Asia. It was Amerigo Vespucci who proved during his voyages that they were in the New World, and why America was so named.

Remnants of Columbus’s terminology still exist. We use the name ‘Indian’ because that is what he called the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean islands he discovered. Again, he was certain he was in Asia — the Indies he was sent to discover. Even today, some of those islands are collectively referred to as the West Indies.

These days, Columbus is viewed as a bad man. American leftists have defaced Columbus statues in some cities. However, no one today discusses the brutality of the tribes he encountered. Furthermore, no one looks at standard behaviour and legal punishments of the 15th century.

Paraphrasing Thomas Hobbes, life was nasty, short and brutish. Europeans were abused in their own countries with excessive legal corporal punishments of some description, which Westerners have not tolerated for many decades.

Therefore, for people to say that Christopher Columbus was some sort of anomaly is far from the truth. He was typical of his time.

On Monday, October 9, Tucker Carlson of Fox News interviewed a professor from the University of Maryland, asking him about the furore about Columbus Day:

The professor says that Columbus had 100,000 slaves. He also mentions that Columbus started the slave trade because he had a number of blacks on his ships. However, one could go into the Moorish abduction and enslavement of whites in the British Isles in the 1600s and how ‘white slavery’ became another name for prostitution. It wasn’t just in the British Isles, either — but all over Europe (emphases mine below):

The slave markets that flourished on the Barbary Coast of North Africa, or modern-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and western Libya, between the 16th and middle of the 18th century. These markets prospered while the states were nominally under Ottoman suzerainty, but in reality they were mostly autonomous. The North African slave markets traded in European slaves which were acquired by Barbary pirates in slave raids on ships and by raids on coastal towns from Italy to Spain, Portugal, France, England, the Netherlands, and as far afield as Iceland. Men, women, and children were captured to such a devastating extent that vast numbers of sea coast towns were abandoned. It is estimated that between 1500-1800, 1 million to 1.25 million white Christian Europeans were enslaved in North Africa, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th, by slave traders from Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone (these numbers do not include the European people which were enslaved by Morocco and by other raiders and traders of the Mediterranean Sea coast),[6] and roughly 700 Americans were held captive in this region as slaves between 1785 and 1815.[7]

Sixteenth- and 17th-century customs statistics suggest that Istanbul’s additional slave import from the Black Sea may have totaled around 2.5 million from 1450 to 1700.[8] The markets declined after the loss of the Barbary Wars and finally ended in the 1830s, when the region was conquered by France.

But I digress.

The professor whom Tucker Carlson interviewed even says at the 7:30 mark that Columbus never went to the US mainland. That admission rather shoots the anti-Columbus argument in the foot.

However, before bringing on the professor, Carlson introduced this topic wisely:

Carlson says this crusade against Columbus is all about the Left’s attempt to destroy Western civilisation:

  • This isn’t really about Columbus;
  • This is a full-scale assault from within on the West itself.

Before he interviews the professor (this part is in the full video), Carlson mentions an academic paper for the Third World Quarterly that had to be withdrawn not because it wasn’t well-researched, but because the editorial board vehemently disagreed with its conclusions.

This tweet mentions the fear of violent repercussions should the paper be published:

An online sleuth managed to trace the abstract and put the link on the Wayback Machine:

Abstract

For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name. It is high time to question this orthodoxy. Western colonialism was, as a general rule, both objectively beneficial and subjectively legitimate in most of the places where it was found, using realistic measures of those concepts. The countries that embraced their colonial inheritance, by and large, did better than those that spurned it. Anti-colonial ideology imposed grave harms on subject peoples and continues to thwart sustained development and a fruitful encounter with modernity in many places. Colonialism can be recovered by weak and fragile states today in three ways: by reclaiming colonial modes of governance; by recolonising some areas; and by creating new Western colonies from scratch.

Overall, there is some truth in that, although I disagree with recolonisation. Those countries have been independent for well over five decades; they need to govern themselves properly, without corruption — for their people’s sake.

In closing, Carlson made another good point: the Latin American countries with statues, city squares and other places named after Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) aren’t renaming or dismantling them.

This is just one more reason not to trust the Left.

— Do read the comment below about Spain and Columbus Day. —

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