Since Christopher Columbus is now the focus of the Left’s hate these days (along with any other historical character from Europe, it seems), I thought I would explore the charges against this explorer from long ago.
I scan through the internet and see numerous videos telling us that Columbus was “an incompetent buffoon” (according to the scholarly and unbiased “Adam Ruins Everything”), an “idiot” and a “monster”. The charge is made over and over again that not only was Columbus lacking in intelligence, but he was also a genocidal maniac who brought to the Western Hemisphere all that is evil in the universe.
It is easy for us to sit in our easy chairs and damn people who lived 500 years ago. It is very easy for us to put people in neat little boxes of “good” or “evil” when we do not have all the facts, we weren’t there, and the evidence is paltry. It also seems to me that in putting people in these neat little boxes of good or evil…we always omit ourselves from any criticism. We are perfect here in the 21st century, you know, and unless someone from 500 years ago agrees with us on everything and lives exactly as we do…well then they must be evil.
So let’s take a look at a few of the charges. Was Columbus an “incompetent buffoon” who believed the world was flat or shaped like a pear, thought it was 7,000 miles smaller than it was, and stupidly never knew where he was?
No to all of those charges. The historical facts are this: people in Europe, Asia, and Africa had known the world was a sphere since the days of the ancient world. The people in the Middle Ages and Renaissance knew the world was round (a sphere) and not pear shaped. Columbus never said that he believed the world was flat or pear shaped. That is yet another straw man argument erected by the Left to foist on gullible people who do not read history.
In 1492 Columbus was using a map created by the Italian cartographer Toscanelli. Toscanelli was recognized as the pre-eminent map-maker of his day. NO ONE in Europe or Asia or Africa knew that the Western Hemisphere was there…until Columbus bumped into it. (Even the Vikings who briefly colonized Greenland in the 10th century did not understand that Greenland and Newfoundland were on the tip of a vast continent.)
Columbus was a buffoon? He sailed three ships across the Atlantic in hurricane season. He used both “dead reckoning” (the use of a compass and astrolabe) and “celestial reckoning” (the use of the sun, moon, and stars) to find his way across the Atlantic Ocean. On his return trip he found his way back to Spain using the same primitive guidance. Let’s see the creators of “Adam Ruins Everything” try their hands at this and see if they can do a round trip across the Atlantic…in sailing ships…during hurricane season.
Next up, was Columbus a monster who slaughtered and enslaved the indigenous people and is responsible for all the evil that happened over the next 500 years?