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I was heartened to see two recent videos of Americans of Italian descent object to the tearing down of Christopher Columbus statues in the United States.

Everywhere else in the world — especially Spanish-speaking countries — Christopher Columbus is viewed as a hero.

Not so in today’s United States.

Language alert in the two powerful videos below.

First up is the actor, director and singer Robert Davi. After him, we have an anonymous American of Italian descent who also puts verbal pedal to the metal. Both are short and well worth watching:

Italians did not have an easy ride when they settled in America, which they, rightly, considered to be a land of promise. They — along with many other immigrants during the 19th and early 20th centuries — were not treated well at all.

In fact, a lot of European immigrants — not only Italians — were treated like dirt. They were considered to be too dark, too dirty, too unkempt, too odorous — all because they were poor.

They were called names, the likes of which are not repeated in polite company these days:

But, all of that has been forgotten.

A few factual reminders follow.

When European immigrants landed at Ellis Island outside of New York City for ‘processing’, it was no treat. Many feared the health inspection staff would send them back on the next ship. Their main worry was about married couples or families being separated during that time. A number of extended family members did not make the journey in the first place, because they had health conditions that could prohibit them from entering the country. If you couldn’t walk well or had visible ailments, you didn’t make the grade.

There was no welfare state at that time, either. So, immigrant men and boys had to find work — fast. Lodging was another issue, especially for families. Some had sponsors — relatives — in other parts of the country, e.g. the Midwest or the West Coast. Sponsored immigrants had to find the money to travel further, if they did not have it already.

So, there was no welfare provision for public housing, food or medical care.

NOTHING.

You provided for yourself and your family or you went back where you came from:

The Irish were treated poorly in the Americas even further back, starting in the days of the Thirteen Colonies:

The two groups can combine forces to fight off today’s Marxist revisionism:

The institution of Columbus Day by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892 was a national apology for the lynching of 11 Italian immigrants by bigots in New Orleans on March 14, 1891.

Even now, that is still the largest number of people lynched on a single day in the United States. Yes, they were Italian.

The statues of Christopher Columbus in the United States were a further way of apologising to Italian immigrants who had been badly treated during their early years in the United States:

The revisionists do not know enough history of North America.

If they did, they never would have come out with their nonsense:

Christopher Columbus has a lot of support, even in Canada:

A few Britons also replied to Robert Davi’s tweet, moved by his video.

For those who never learned the history of immigration over a century ago, please try to become better informed before accusing everyone else of evil.

Most immigrants had a very hard time settling in, but they worked very hard for what they earned. They also passed those values of hard work and patriotism on to their descendants.

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. —

Before the Huguenots settled for a time in Brazil, another group fled religious persecution by sailing to St Kitts in 1538.

From Dieppe to Dieppe Bay

As students of the history of the Second World War know, Dieppe is a French port in Upper Normandy. It is on the coast of the English Channel.

By the 16th century, the city was known for having the most advanced cartography in France. As a result, the port saw much trade, including with the New World, where a few adventurous merchants were sailing back and forth to Brazil. Brazil’s wood — the now-endangered Pau-Brasil — was highly prized for its durability and its red dye. Previous explorers to that part of the world also said there were likely to be precious metals and stones, which also stimulated the imagination of intrepid traders.

The Huguenots, on the other hand, wished to set sail for the New World only to find religious freedom. Some of them were already experiencing persecution in the first part of the 16th century.

A group of them decided to set sail from Dieppe for the West Indies. They arrived on St Kitts in 1538 and named their settlement after the French port. Dieppe Bay Town — as it is known today — is the oldest European community in the Eastern Caribbean.

Unfortunately, the Huguenots’ small settlement survived for only a few months. The Spanish arrived on the island and deported them. However, remains of that colony survive today as the cellar of the main building of the Golden Lemon Hotel.

We do not know what happened to those Huguenots after that.

Early St Kitts and Nevis

The first people to arrive on these islands around 3000 BC were the ‘Archaic people’, who sailed down from what is now Florida and migrated among the various islands along the way. They survived for a few centuries.

The next group to arrive — around 1000 BC — came from what is now known as Venezuela. They were an agricultural and ceramic people known as the Saladoid.

In 800 AD, the Saladoid were replaced by the Igneri, part of the Arawak tribe. The Igneri were peaceful and spiritual; they managed to successfully settle and populate the islands.

In 1300, the aggressive Kalinago — Caribs — arrived and forced the Igneri off the islands. The Igneri sailed north to the Greater Antilles.

The Kalinago went on to name the islands: Liamuiga (St Kitts), or ‘fertile island’, and Oualie (Nevis), ‘land of beautiful waters’.

The Kalinago found the location of Liamuiga and Oualie ideal for trade with other islands and indigenous peoples. However, these belligerent settlers also raided the Taino people, who lived on what is now the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Christopher Columbus’s and subsequent exploration

In 1493 — only a few decades before the Huguenots from Dieppe made their voyage — Christopher Columbus sighted the islands on his second expedition.

Accounts vary as to whether he named St Kitts St Jago (St James, hence Santiago) or St Martin or St Christopher. In any event, St Christopher was the most widely used on maps — perhaps in error — as San Cristobal.

The English, who arrived later to colonise the island, kept the name St Christopher and abbreviated it to St Kit’s or St Kitts. Kit is the diminutive for Christopher. Today, the island is known officially by both names.

Spanish settlers, coming after Columbus, named the smaller island Nuestra Señora de las Nieves — Our Lady of the Snows. This is thought to have come from

a reference to the story of a fourth-century Catholic miracle: a snowfall on the Esquiline Hill in Rome. Presumably the white clouds which usually wreathe the top of Nevis Peak reminded someone of the story of a miraculous snowfall in a hot climate. The island of Nevis, upon first British settlement, was referred to as “Dulcina,” a name meaning “sweet one.” Its original Spanish name, “Nuestra Señora de las Nieves,” was eventually kept however, though it was soon shortened to “Nevis.”

Nevis was a corruption and anglicisation of the Spanish name.

Subsequent settlement

Surprisingly — both for their aggressive demeanour and the fact that this did not occur with other indigenous populations in the Caribbean — the Kalinago allowed the Europeans to settle St Kitts and Nevis. Tribes on other islands fought the Europeans.

The English established a colony in 1623. The French arrived not long after to settle. Both groups of settlers massacred the Kalinago.

In 1629, the Spanish returned and sent the Anglo-French settlers packing. The following year, a war settlement allowed England and France to colonise the islands anew. Each country had its own parts of the islands.

As it was for the Kalinago, the islands became a strategic base for both countries’ expansion in the Caribbean. What was once a mutually peaceful arrangement turned into a battle for control. The French ceded their territory to Great Britain in 1713.

The islands, although internally autonomous, continue to be part of the British Commonwealth.

Next week: The Huguenot colony in Florida

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