"On Columbus Day it is appropriate to discuss Christopher Columbus's legacy. Critics seem emboldened on the day we recognize the famous mariner's arrival in the New World. Was Columbus the barbaric sadist his detractors claim? Or was he a great explorer and discoverer?
Columbus, his antagonists allege, sparked a genocidal avalanche of misery and mayhem that decimated the Arawak Indians. In fact, the entire European exploration and settlement era exploded into an imperialistic inferno with Christopher Columbus holding the match. Yet the idea that the Western Hemisphere was the Garden of Eden prior to 1492 is fairly naïve. Some European explorers were brutal, and the Taino Arawak tribe suffered at Spanish hands. But to lay all violence at the feet of Columbus ignores the New World brutality that existed before his arrival.
The Taino were rather passive. But the Caribs were a fierce people who abused the Tainos and took their lands before Columbus arrived. The Caribs made wives of captured Taino women (slavery, anyone?), fashioned necklaces from their vanquished enemy's teeth and may have practiced cannibalism.
The Caribs may have decimated the Ciboneys who once inhabited the Caribbean. The Ciboneys descended from a prior culture that was all but exterminated by yet another people. And if the Caribs themselves weren't cannibals, the Tupinamba Indians were. Finally, these tribes were indigenous Caribbean Indians; they migrated from the mainland. Thus the peaceful natives Columbus assaulted were neither peaceful nor native, but warrior explorers and conquerors."
Get the Story:
Anthony W. Hager: Christopher Columbus: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
(The American Thinker 10/11)