Was Columbus A Monster?- Stories you were not told
Updated: Nov 20, 2021
Every year, people come out with strong opinions about Columbus as we get closer to the holiday that celebrates the iconic explorer. However, if you ask these people what happened on his 3rd voyage they likely will not be able to give the basic outline of what happened. The reality is very few people know even the basics about the story of Columbus. After spending the last year reading 6 different biographies on the man and referencing extensive primary sources I wanted to share a sample of things that you might not have been aware of. My hope is that this will inspire you to question some of the preconceptions about him and dig deeper into the actual story of Columbus as known by the accounts of primary historical sources.
The First Voyage
As Columbus was exploring various islands on his first Voyage.
“He sent some men ashore, giving instructions as usual, that if the natives fled at their approach, the men must not touch or take anything from their houses. From the very beginning, Columbus notes how generously the natives shared whatever they had, and he did not want his crew to take advantage of them. He demanded that there be an exchange, for example, beads and bells for needed food supplies. It was unequal to be sure, but trade nonetheless. He continually recounts having to restrain his crew from looting villages when the residents fled at their approach. Throughout the diary he repeats: “I did not allow anything to be taken, not even the value of a pin” (Columbus Diary, p. 107).”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
“I have given the men orders everywhere to take care not to do the least thing to displease them and not to take anything from them against their will, so they have paid them for everything.”—Columbus’ Journal translated by John Cummins, Friday, December 21, 1492.
During the first voyage Columbus ship ran aground and a local chief helped him and his men and it began a lifelong friendship between Columbus and Chief Gaucanagari.
Columbus was extremely grateful to Guacanagarí for his help and generosity, but he also seemed genuinely fond of him. “'All through the Log,' Robert H. Fuson, another translator of the diary, commented: 'Columbus expresses nothing but love and admiration for the Indians. His affection for the young chief in Haiti [Guacanagarí], and vice versa, is one of the most touching stories of love, trust, and understanding between men of different races and cultures to come out of this period in history.'23 Columbus had equally effusive praise for all the islanders, writing glowingly, 'I believe that in the world there are no better people or a better land. They love their neighbors as themselves, and they have the sweetest speech in the world and [they are] gentle and always laughing' (Diario, p. 281). Already, they seemed to be natural Christians, so no wonder Columbus thought they would be easily converted."
— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
On the first voyage, when Columbus found out that the captain of his other ship had taken peaceful natives as slaves, he was upset and had them returned. He later wrote to the king and queen about this.
“When he (Pinzon) left here he took away four Indians and two girls by force. I have ordered them to be given clothes and taken ashore so that they may go home. Treating them thus can only be to Your Majesties’ benefit, in all the islands but especially in this one, where you now have a settlement, for in an island with such a wealth of gold and spices and fine land the people must be treated honourably and generously.” Columbus’ Journal, translated by John Cummins, Thursday, January 10, 1493.
At the end of the first voyage Columbus left the men behind with explicit instructions. Ultimately they did not obey these orders and all were killed by natives when he returned.
“Columbus named Diego de Harana as captain in his stead and gave explicit instructions about how the men should conduct themselves. Columbus ordered them to do no harm to the Indians and to respect chief Guacanagarí, to whom they owed so much. He also decreed that the men were 'not to scatter themselves or enter inland' but to stay together; and especially to avoid doing injury or using violence to the women, by which they would cause scandal and set a bad example . . . rather they should strive and watch by their soft and honest speech, to gain their good-will, keeping their friendship and love, so that he should find them as friendly and favourable and more so when he returned. 26”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
Many don't know that on the first voyage many natives wanted to go back to Spain with Columbus. Those who did go back with him were baptized (thus making it impossible for them to be made slaves). In fact one of them was adopted by Columbus as his godson thus making him part of Columbus household (which held considerable titles). This native was named Don Diego and accompanied Columbus on all his later voyages and acted as his guide, interpreter and diplomat always telling other natives that they did not need to fear Columbus and about the greatness of Spain. They were all to be taken back to their native villages as well, but tragically, it appears illness ravaged many of these natives as they encountered illnesses they had no immunity to.
“The Indians were baptized a few days later, with the king and queen, the infante Don Juan, and Columbus standing as godparents. 11 One of the Indians, a relative of the chief Guacanagarí, was named Don Fernando, after the king, another Don Juan, after the infante, and the one who was close to Columbus was named Don Diego Colón—the name of both his brother and his son. Don Juan chose to remain at court; the others chose to return home on Columbus’s next voyage. Apparently only two of them survived the journey; one was Columbus’s 'godson,' Don Diego, who became his able interpreter and accompanied him on many of his travels.”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
The Second Voyage
The Islands of the Caribbean at the time of Columbus had peaceful tribes which were preyed on by the warlike and cannibal Carib tribes. At beginning of second voyage, Columbus went through Carib (cannibal) territory and the doctor on ship wrote about what they found when entering a Carib village and how Columbus rescued children and women from being raped and eaten.
"Certain captains set out in the morning and some returned at dinner-time bringing a boy of about fourteen, who later told us that he was one of these people’s (the Caribs) captives. The other captains went in various directions. A few men returned with a boy whom a man had been leading by the hand, but had abandoned at their approach. Only these few were detached to bring him back, the rest remaining behind. These captured some women of the island, and also brought back other women who were prisoners (of the Caribs) and came of their own accord...These people (the Caribs) raid the other islands and carry off all the women they can take, especially the young and beautiful, whom they keep as servants and concubines. They had carried off so many that in fifty houses we found no males and more than twenty of the captives were girls. These women say that they are treated with a cruelty that seems incredible. The Caribs eat the male children that they have by them, and only bring up the children of their own women; and as for the men they are able to capture, they bring those who are alive home to be slaughtered and eat those who are dead on the spot. They say that human flesh is so good that there is nothing like it in the world; and this must be true, for the human bones we found in their houses were so gnawed that no flesh was left on them except what was too tough to be eaten. In one house the neck of a man was found cooking in a pot. They castrate the boys that they capture and use them as servants until they are men. Then, when they want to make a feast, they kill and eat them, for they say that the flesh of boys and women is not good to eat. Three of these boys fled to us, and all three had been castrated.”— The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives.. (Classics Book 217) by Christopher Columbus
During the second voyage Columbus and his men were attacked by cannibals of the Carib tribe and he sent them back as slaves to Spain. Most don't realize the context of this shipment or future shipment of slaves organized by Columbus or his intentions.
“With the ships, Columbus sent back cinnamon, pepper, cotton, parrots, and sandalwood, and some of the gold samples they had collected, in order to show that the enterprise would be profitable. 59 In addition to the profitable materials gathered from nature, Columbus also sent human cargo—twenty-six Indians, from the man-eating Caribs. In doing this, he was following papal policy at the time, which permitted enslavement of those captured in a 'just war,' those who resisted Christianization, or those who went against the law of nature. The Caribs appeared to fit all three definitions; not only had they resisted and fought against the Christians, they contravened the law of nature by their acts of sodomy and cannibalism. As a fan of Pope Pius II, Columbus must have known of his 1462 address to the rulers in the Canaries where he stated that natives who became Christian could not be enslaved, but once enslaved conversion did not automatically free them. 'Salvation, escape from the ills and evils of this world, and eternal life were what Christians sought, not social and political reform in this world.' 60 Christians accepted slavery as long as it complied with the conditions just cited, but conversion was the goal; not only would it civilize them in this world but, more important, it would free them from eternal damnation.
In any case, Columbus, as a man of his time, was surely not one to go against accepted policy and a practice that had been justified by the pope. Throughout, it seems he first wanted the natives to become Christian but for Columbus that meant they had to be instructed, not just baptized. He wrote, 'owing to the fact that there is here no interpreter, by means of whom it is possible to give these people understanding of our holy Faith . . . although every possible effort has been made, there are now sent with these ships some of the cannibals, men and women and boys and girls.' 61 Although they were to become slaves, he asked that they be treated better than other slaves and given instruction in both the language and religion. He felt he was doing a good deed, for sending them to Spain 'would not be anything but well, for they may one day be led to abandon that inhuman custom which they have of eating men.' If they learned the language they would become good interpreters, and if they learned about the Christian faith they would 'much more readily receive baptism and secure the welfare of their souls.'”
In addition to saving their souls, Columbus thought that by capturing the Caribs 'great credit will be gained by us' for they will serve as an example to 'all the people of this great island . . . [who] when they see the good treatment which is meted out to well-doers and the punishment which is inflicted upon those who do evil, will quickly come to obedience so that it will be possible to command them as vassals.' 63 Columbus is clearly making a distinction between the Caribs and the other natives, for vassals cannot be enslaved. He did, however, intend to put them to work because he wrote: 'I believe that if they started to receive something in payment they would work, being exceedingly eager, and so set themselves to do anything if it should profit them.' 64 This is an extraordinarily important statement; it shows that Columbus’s primary intention was that the natives should be employees of the Crown, not slaves, though he admitted that he didn’t know the language well enough to ask them what might be an appropriate payment. When the sovereigns received Columbus’s memo, they responded that, in the future, they would prefer that he try to convert the natives while they were still in the islands. Yet, given the failure of Friar Buil to convert any natives, 65 no doubt because he never learned the language and could not communicate with them, let alone instruct them in the intricate theology of the Christian faith, Columbus seemed to think it was better to send the cannibals/ Caribs to Spain, where 'their inhumanity they will immediately lose when they are out of their own land.' — Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
People who were baptized COULD NOT BE SLAVES. It is crystal clear from multiple first hand sources that Columbus wanted to covert the natives and bring them into Spanish civilization, not conquer and subjugate them as so many Spanish nobles around him wanted to.
“His master plan consisted of baptizing every Indian in the major towns and hamlets of Hispaniola so they could 'serve Their Highnesses like the vassals in Castile,' in the opinion of Las Casas,”— Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504 by Laurence Bergreen
During his Second voyage Columbus requested priests to help him convert more natives. Columbus wanted to bring natives into fully into Christianity and Spanish society, not slavery.
He also sent a private letter asking the sovereigns to send a few good friars. He had been displeased with Friar Buil, who had not learned the language and seemed to think that baptism alone, without any prior instruction, was enough to make the natives Christian. In contrast, Columbus wanted the natives to receive religious instruction before being baptized so they would understand the faith. 'I say again, repeating it one more time, that the only thing I am lacking to make them all [the natives] Christian is the ability to tell them how; i.e., to preach to them in their language, because in truth they have no sect or idolatry.'"—Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
O almost all of Columbus' voyages, he met friendly natives who wanted to return with him to Spain after being impressed by him and his ships.
“Unlike others who had believed Columbus was some kind of god, this man told Columbus to his face that he 'was mortal like everyone else.'11 Columbus was not offended and wrote that the old man 'expressed his thinking with excellent judgment and courage.' When Diego, the interpreter, told the old man about the wonders he had seen in Castile and about the Spanish sovereigns, the man decided he wanted to go with them, but his wife and children wailed and wouldn’t let go of him.”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
On the return crossing back to Spain on his second voyage, he and his men were starving and some wanted to kill or eat the natives so there would be less mouths to feed.
“For they were so near starvation that some of them wished to imitate the Caribs and eat the Indians they had aboard. Others, in order to economize the little food they had, were in favour of throwing the Indians overboard, which they would have done if the Admiral had not taken strict measures to prevent them. For he considered them as their kindred and fellow-Christians and held that they should be no worse treated than anyone else.”— The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives.. (Classics Book 217) by Christopher Columbus
At the end of his second voyage, Columbus went back to Spain and left his brother Bartholomew in charge. Columbus commanded him to continue his mission of keeping the Spanish from raping and stealing from the natives. Roldán started a rebellion during Columbus' absence because Columbus and his brother would not allow the Spaniards to do whatever they wanted to the natives.
“Roldán capitalized on the complaints of some of the colonists who claimed that they were being worked too hard, that Bartholomew showed favoritism in distributing the rations and by telling them that they could not 'take' native women. They disliked Bartholomew’s imposition of the monastic rules of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Roldán rallied them to his side by promising them food, women, freedom to live wherever they wanted, and permission to collect gold for themselves.”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
“To remedy their predicament, Roldán proposed that they divide 'all the wealth of the island' among themselves, and, just as important, 'they should be allowed to use the Indians as they pleased, free from interference,' in Ferdinand’s words. Many Spaniards had already taken one or more Indian women for pleasure or companionship, despite restrictions. Now anything was possible, even if the men had to suffer the symptoms of syphilis for their excesses. Bartholomew attempted to restrain this licentiousness, insisting that his men 'observe the three monastic vows,' as Ferdinand phrased it: obedience, stability (observing the vows indefinitely), and fidelity to the monastic way of life, including the renunciation of private property and strict celibacy. Roldán, in contrast, held out the promise of a commune teeming with easy riches and plentiful women. The riches remained elusive, but, Las Casas reported, 'each one had the woman that he wanted, taken from their husbands, or daughters from their fathers, by force or willingly, to use as chambermaids, washerwomen, and cooks, and as many Indian men as they thought necessary to serve them.' He reminded the men of the severe rations imposed by Columbus and his brothers, the barbaric floggings, the heartless and humiliating punishments and confinement for the slightest infraction, real or perceived. In contrast to this reign of tyranny under which they had all suffered, Roldán promised that if they followed his leadership, he would protect them from harm. His pandering, combined with his resolute manner, proved effective, and he attracted many, and eventually most, of the disaffected Spaniards to his camp.”— Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504 by Laurence Bergreen
When he returned to Spain after his 2nd voyage Columbus set up a fund to ensure natives would be taught and made Christians. Thus they could avoid enslavement and find salvation.
“But it was not just for his soul and those of his family members that he was concerned; he was also concerned for the souls of the natives. Part of the fund was to be used to maintain four men of religion—not theologians, he said, but teachers and preachers who would instruct the natives in Our Holy Faith and work to convert them, because he did not want them to be condemned to Hell when Christ returned to judge both the living and the dead. 39”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
At the beginning of his Third Voyage, Columbus gave the following orders to the captains of the other vessels going with him.
“Columbus gave these captains directions to Hispaniola and strict instructions that when they needed supplies, they must trade with the Indians, not just take what they wanted; the use of force, he said, was unnecessary and only served to create hostility.”-Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
Those who think that Columbus was primarily motivated by greed don't understand the fact that it was Columbus's religious zealotry, not greed that motivated his voyages and his insatiable desire to save Christianity and Jerusalem from the Muslims. Gold was merely a means to this end. His story is far more interesting than one of a greedy explorer (which was often the typical story for explorers during his era). His situation at the beginning of his third voyage shows this point.
“Columbus was oblivious to the rebellion happening in Hispaniola. He was glad to be exploring again, but he was preoccupied. He knew that if he did not soon find major sources of gold, spices, and other valuables, the 'Enterprise of the Indies' would come to an end and so, too, would his dream of financing the crusade to Jerusalem. The sovereigns were becoming anxious about the expense of voyages that had resulted in so little return. Las Casas captured the importance of this voyage to Columbus when he wrote: Truly this man had a good and Christian purpose . . . was thoroughly content with his station in life, and wished to live modestly therein and to rest from the great hardships which he had undergone so meritoriously . . . But he saw that his signal services were held of slight value, and that suddenly the reputation that these Indies at first had enjoyed was sinking and declining, by reason of those who had the ear of the Sovereigns, so that day by day he feared greater disfavors, and that the Sovereigns might abandon the enterprise altogether, and that he might thus see his labor and travail go for naught, and he in the end die in poverty. 1 For Columbus, the enterprise was not just about finding gold; he felt that his discovery of islands in the sea, all the people to be converted to the Holy Christian faith, and of a new route to the east were as important as finding riches. But the issue of gold was ever present and the source of it had to be found, soon."—Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
An entry from Columbus's personal journal says he collapsed due to fatigue and burning eyes on his third voyage, again, revealing that his motivations for gold were ultimately connected to his desire to save mankind by using the money to retake Jerusalem.
“He (God) knows well that I do not bear these sufferings to enrich myself or to find treasures for myself, for, certainly, I know that everything in this age is vain, except what is done for the honor and service of God, which is not the amassing of wealth and riches and many other things which we use in this world, to which we are more favorable than to the things which can win salvation for us.” (The Journal of Christopher Columbus via Las Casas, In Morison, Journals p 281)
During the 3rd voyage, while dealing with the rebellion of Roldán, Columbus was desperate to stop the Spanish abuse of the natives.
“Accompanying them were two emotional letters from Columbus to Ferdinand and Isabella about Roldán’s rebels, 'of the damage they had done and were continuing to do on the island, plundering and acting violently, killing whomever they pleased for no reason at all, taking other men’s wives and daughters and perpetrating many other evil deeds.' Las Casas was convinced that matters on Hispaniola had degenerated into a state of anarchy in which Spaniards 'traveled from village to village and from place to place, eating at their discretion, taking the Indian men that they wanted for their service and the Indian women who looked good to them.' Rather than walking, they commanded Indian men to carry them in hammocks. 'They had hunters who hunted for them, fishermen who fished for them, and as many Indians as they wanted as pack animals to carry their loads for them.' All the while, the Indians revered and worshipped the Spaniards who exploited them. Columbus beseeched the Sovereigns to send 'devout religious men,' in his words, to replace these sinners.”— Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504 by Laurence Bergreen
Many don't realize that people have been making up lies about Columbus ever since he first set sail. Thus any accounts about him must be examined carefully based on if the source had a reason to lie about him. Most of these lies are about Columbus' cruelty as governor. Columbus was NOT a Spaniard and not an aristocrat. Columbus was dealing with this problem on all of his voyages. They even claimed that Columbus was not doing enough to make the Indians work but instead was making them, the aristocrats, do hard labor.
“DURING the course of the disturbances many of the rebels sent false information in letters from Hispaniola, and others who had returned to Castile also gave lying reports against the Admiral and his brothers to the sovereigns and their Council, alleging that they were not only very cruel but incompetent to govern. For not only were they foreigners from another country, but they had never before been in a position of authority, and had no experience of controlling people of quality. These people affirmed that unless their royal Highnesses were to intervene the Indies would come to total ruin, and if they were not destroyed by his perverse administration, the Admiral would himself rebel and make a pact with some foreign prince who would support him on the assumption that all these lands were his, since he had discovered them by his own skill and labour. They said that, in furtherance of this project, the Admiral was concealing the riches of the land and preventing the Indians from working for the Christians and becoming converted to our faith. For he hoped by flattering them to win them to his side and to make them do everything possible to their Highnesses’ disservice.” — The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives.. (Classics Book 217) by Christopher Columbus
At the end of his 3rd voyage, Columbus was arrested on false charges by a corrupt emissary of the crown. Las Casas, the great champion of Native rights, who was at times critical of Columbus, was appalled at how he was treated based on false allegations.
“Commenting on the fate of Columbus, Las Casas wrote: It seemed absurd and completely out of proportion, and at the same time miserable and wretched, that a person who held such high dignities as those of Viceroy and perpetual Governor of all of this New World, and who bore the grand title of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, having been chosen by God for the singular privilege of finding and presenting to the world, and particularly to the rulers of Castille, these lands that had been concealed for many centuries, and who, through his difficult and dangerous labors, had put the Monarchs perpetually in his debt, could be treated with such inhumanity, cruelty, and dishonor; certainly this was unworthy of reasonable men and more than grotesque. 48" — Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
After being arrested on false charges at the end of his 3rd voyage, Columbus showed surprising dignity and courage.
“Though devastated and humiliated, Columbus kept his own counsel and his dignity on the voyage to Spain. The captain, Andrés Martín de la Gorda, who greatly esteemed Columbus, offered to remove his chains, but Columbus obstinately refused. He said he would wait until, and if, the sovereigns released him. In the biography of his father, Ferdinand wrote that Columbus 'was resolved to keep those chains as a memorial of how well he had been rewarded for his many services. And this he did, for I always saw them in his bedroom, and he wanted them buried with his bones.' 54”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
An account of what Columbus did when offered two young girls as sex slaves by the natives on his 4th voyage.
“Oddly, instead of exchange, as was Columbus custom, Columbus sent gifts. This gesture confused the people, but they, too, followed his example and sent two young girls as gifts—one girl was about eight years old and the other fourteen. Ferdinand, himself only about thirteen at the time, was clearly impressed by their composure in facing so many strange men; later writing of this incident, he said that the girls displayed much courage . . . showed no fear or grief but always looked pleasant and modest. On this account they were well treated by the Admiral, who caused them to be clothed and fed and then sent them ashore, where the old man who had brought them and fifty more Indians came out to receive them with much rejoicing. 23”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
For those who think Columbus was in favor of plundering the natives, here is his account from his 4th voyage back to the King and Queen of Spain about his recommendations for how to acquire wealth out of the tribes which could have easily been subjugated by force.
"Although I have information that the gold belonging to the Quibian (Chief) of Veragua and the chiefs of the surrounding districts is very abundant, I do not think it would be well, or to your Highnesses’ advantage, for it to be seized by way of plunder. Fair dealing will prevent scandal and disrepute, and bring this gold into the treasury down to the last grain.”— The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives.. (Classics Book 217) by Christopher Columbus
After his return from his final voyage, many of the men who sailed with him had been paid and he was even paying personally for the basic living expenses of members of his crew. He fought hard to try and take care those men who were his loyal shipmates.
“In this letter, he makes an appeal to the sovereigns that would become a persistent refrain once he was back in Spain: The people who came with me have suffered incredible toils and dangers. I pray Your Highnesses, since they are poor, that you will command that they be paid immediately and that you will grant rewards to each one of them according to their quality. 52”— Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem: How Religion Drove the Voyages that Led to America by Carol Delaney
Bartolome de Las Casas was probably the first ever Native American rights activists and is famous for writing a history of the discovery and colonization of "The Indies" (The Caribbean). He arrived in the new world about the time Columbus finished his last voyage. Las Casas was initially just like the other Spaniards and took slaves, but upon seeing the horrors of what the Spanish were doing, he dedicated his life to working for their rights and good treatment. Las Casas had access to all the first hand witnesses and documents of Columbus when he wrote his history of Columbus's time period. While Las Casas does take issue with some of what Columbus did, this Native rights activist, who had all the primary sources available to him, still had a favorable view of Columbus.
“...truly, I would not dare blame the admiral’s intention, for I knew him well and all I know his intentions were good.” History of the Indies by Las Casas, Book One, Chapter 93, p. 53.”
Las Casas described Columbus as: “… imposing, good natured, kind, daring, courageous, and a pious man… God had endowed him with good judgment, a sound memory and eagerness to learn… as a God fearing man… he must have avoided exaggeration.” p. 15. “I think Christopher Columbus was the most outstanding sailor in the world, versed like no other in the art of navigation, for which divine Providence chose him to accomplish the most outstanding feat ever accomplished in the world until now.” p. 17. “Christopher Columbus, to whom all Christendom is so greatly indebted.” p. 18. “... he was a well-mannered, handsome man and a church-going Christian…” p. 19. “ .. well spoken, wise and prudent.” p. 29. “The excellence of Columbus’s project and its inestimable value...” p 30. “Many is the time I have wished that God would again inspire me and that I had Cicero’s gift of eloquence to extol the indescribable service to God and to the whole world which Christopher Columbus rendered at the cost of such pain and dangers, such skill and expertise, when he so courageously discovered the New World.” pp. 34-35. “My limited understanding and poor eloquence prompt me to think that the fruit of Columbus’s labor speaks better for itself than I do… God gave this man the keys to the awesome seas, he and no other unlocked the darkness, to him and to no other is owed for ever and ever all that exists beyond those doors.” p. 35. “It is fitting to stress that God most sublimely favored all of Spain over other Christian nation, when he chose Christopher Columbus to give to Spain such a golden opportunity in every sense of the word.” p. 36. “... that most worthy man Christopher Columbus was the cause, second to God but first in the eyes of men, being the discoverer and only worthy first admiral of the vast territory known as the New World…” p. 37.
Las Casas was bothered when the land was not named after Columbus. He says,“... it is clear that Columbus discovered the continent…Which should have been called Columba and not as it is unjustly called, America.” p. 62. “Honor and titles he well deserved and well earned, for no services so famous were ever rendered to any other earthly King… he is owed the praise.” pp. 134-135.