On this date… October 12, 1492… Bahamas

On a small white sand island in the Bahamas, Cristoforo Colombo came ashore.

Since the first task of the conqueror is always to re-name the conquered, Colombo wrote, “I reached the Indian sea where I discovered many islands thickly peopled, of which I took possession without resistance in the name of our most illustrious Monarch, by public proclamation and with unfurled banners.  To the first of these islands, which is called by the Indians Guanahani, I gave the name of the blessed Saviour (San Salvador).”

Colombo was warmly greeted by the people living there.  That night, in his diary, he pondered what good slaves they would make:  “I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men, and govern them as I please.”

Within a few decades, the natives of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas would be virtually extinct.

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For a full account of the Spanish genocide of Native Americans in the Caribbean and Central America, see A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas, a contemporary of Columbus.  Various translations can be found on-line.  Warning:  it is very disturbing reading; this drawing is one of the least gruesome; imagine the Holocaust x10 (in terms of both quantity and degree of torture).

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One Response to On this date… October 12, 1492… Bahamas

  1. Trapper Gale says:

    This is the side of American history seldom taught in school. It is gruesome, but sadly, history usually is.

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