Reel American HistoryHistory on trial Main Page

AboutFilmsFor StudentsFor TeachersBibliographyResources

Films >> 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992) >>

1) In both instances -- at the Trinity test site in 1945 and at San Salvador in 1492 -- those moments of achievement crowned years of intense personal struggle and adventure for their protagonists and were culminating points of ingenious technological achievement for their countries. But both instances were also preludes to orgies of human destructiveness that, each in its own way, attained a scale of devastation not previously witnessed in the entire history of the world. (David Stannard ix)

2) In the counter-Columbus, counter-celebratory literature, genocide has become the dominant abbreviation or code word to describe Columbus and his successors' relations with the Indians. (James Axtell 17)

3) Columbus makes Hitler look like a juvenile delinquent. (Russell Means, qtd by Axtell 18)

4) The founding action of Christian imperialism is a christening. Such a christening entails the cancellation of the native name -- the erasure of the alien, perhaps demonic, identity -- and hence a kind of making new; it is at once an exorcism, an appropriation, and a gift. (Stephen Greenblatt 83)

5) In the standard accounts of Columbus what is emphasized again and again is his religious feeling, his desire to convert the natives to Christianity, his reverence for the Bible. Yes, he was concerned about God. But more about Gold. . . . In his quest for gold, Columbus, seeing bits of gold among the Indians, concluded there were huge amounts of it. He ordered the natives to find a certain amount of gold within a certain period of time. And if they did not meet their quota, their arms were hacked off. (Howard Zinn 100)

6) In elementary school we are taught to revere Columbus as a man of good intentions, high social status, and power; we learn to identify him as a cultural hero so deserving of praise that we have a national holiday in recognition of his accomplishments. Why, five hundred years later, are we still commending Columbus for bringing salvation, Christianity, and civilization, when in reality he brought ruin to the Native Americans through deceit, disease, deicide, and slavery? Does this man really deserve to be honored through one of our ten national holidays, recognizing him as equivalent to honorable, brilliant, revolutionary men such as Martin Luther King Jr., and George Washington? (Faith Roncoroni, Lehigh University)

7) Denying the natives their possession of speech, the Admiral appropriates language and with it all linguistic representation of the new reality, to the exclusion of any alternative interpretation. In consequence, the first portrayal of America -- the representation contained in Columbus's writings -- is presented as objective and comprehensive rather than as subjective and biased. Columbus grants himself the exclusive right to create America where its inhabitants are concerned, following the parameters of his literary model, and he presents the resulting fiction as if its accuracy were undeniable. (Beatriz Bodmer 36)

8) And because they [Taino] have neither writing nor letters, they cannot give a good account of how they have heard this from their ancestors, and therefore they do not all say the same thing, nor can one even write down in an orderly fashion what they tell. (Fray Ramon Pane 8)

9) Just twenty-one years after Columbus's first landing in the Caribbean, the vastly populous island that the explorer had re-named Hispaniola was effectively desolate; nearly 8,000,000 people -- those Columbus chose to call Indians -- had been killed by violence, disease, and despair. It took a little longer, about the span of a single human generation, but what happened on Hispaniola was the equivalent of more than fifty Hiroshimas. And Hispaniola was only the beginning. (David Stannard x)

10) I, he says, in order that they would be friendly to us--because I recognized that they were people who would be better freed [from error] and converted to our Holy Faith by love than by force -- to some of them I gave red caps, and glass beads which they put on their chests, and many other things of small value, in which they took so much pleasure and became so much our friends that it was a marvel. (Columbus qtd. by De Las Casas 65)

11) After we had rested for several days in our settlement it seemed to the Lord Admiral that it was time to put into execution his desire to search for gold, which was the main reason he had started on so great a voyage full of so many dangers, as we shall see more completely in the end. (Michele de Cueno, Journals and Other Documents 214)

12) How they [Taino] found a solution so that they would be women. They looked for a bird called inriri . . . which makes holes in the trees and in our language is called a woodpecker. And likewise they took those women without the sex of male or female, and they tied their hands and feet, and they brought the aforementioned bird and tied it to their bodies. And believing they were trees, the bird began his customary work, picking and burrowing holes in the place where the sex of women is generally located. (Fray Ramon Pane 12)

13) As you can see, textbooks get the date right, and the names of the ships. Most of the rest that they tell us is untrustworthy. Many aspects of Columbus's life remain a mystery. He claimed to be from Genoa, Italy, and there is evidence that he was. There is also evidence that he wasn't: Columbus didn't seem to be able to write in Italian, even when writing to people in Genoa. Some historians believe he was Jewish, a converso, or convert to Christianity, probably from Spain. (Spain was pressuring its Jews to convert to Christianity or leave the country). He may have been a Genoese Jew. Still other historians claim he was from Corsica, Portugal, or elsewhere. (James Loewen 45)

14) It is the most necessary thing possible that he [Columbus] should strive to find the way to this gold. (King Ferdinand to Columbus, Second Voyage 97)

15) The danger lies in forgetting. Forgetting, however, will not effect only the dead. Should it triumph, the ashes of yesterday will cover our hopes for tomorrow. (Elie Wiesel, qtd in Stannard xiii)

16) I once spoke about Columbus to a workshop of school teachers, and one of them suggested that school children were too young to hear of the horrors recounted by Las Casas and others. Other teachers disagreed, said children's stories include plenty of violence, but the perpetrators are witches and monsters and "bad people," not national heroes who have holidays named after them . . . . The arguments about children "not being ready to hear the truth" does not account for the fact that in American society, when the children grow up, they still are not told the truth. (Howard Zinn 105)

17) The defendants, all American Indians, maintain that the Columbus Day festivities which were conducted on October 12, 1991, constituted a celebration of the genocide perpetrated against their people, beginning with the Columbian landfall on October 12, 1492. . . . Insofar as this is true, it follows that the Columbus Day celebration constitutes advocacy of (or incitement of) genocide within the meaning of Article III(c) of the Genocide Convention. (Ward Churchill 24)

18) Our moral standards and behavior are confused, uncertain, and inconsistent because we commit too many elementary sins against straight moral thinking. First, we hang simplistic, abstract labels when we should unpack and probe more deeply the complexity of past events, social conditions, and human motivations. To declare the Columbian legacy as nothing more than "Imperialism and Colonialism, Racism and Oppression," as the New York "progressives" have done in capital letters, is to close discussion, not to open it. (James Axtell 257)

19) Let him [Columbus] be informed of what has transpired respecting the cannibals that came over to Spain. He has done well and let him do as he says; but let him endeavor by all possible means to convert them to our holy Catholic religion, and do the same with respect to the inhabitants of all the islands to which he may go. (King Ferdinand to Columbus, Second Voyage 87)

20) At two o'clock in the morning the land was discovered, at two leagues' distance; they took in sail and remained under the square-sail lying to till day, which was Friday, when they found themselves near a small island, one of the Lucayos, called in the Indian language Guanahani. Presently they descried people, naked, and the Admiral landed in the boat, which was armed, along with Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and Vincent Yanez his brother, captain of the Nina. The Admiral bore the royal standard, and the two captains each a banner of the Green Cross, which all the ships had carried; this contained the initials of the names of the King and Queen each side of the cross, and a crown over each letter Arrived on shore, they saw trees very green many streams of water, and diverse sorts of fruits. The Admiral called upon the two Captains, and the rest of the crew who landed, as also to Rodrigo de Escovedo notary of the fleet, and Rodrigo Sanchez, of Segovia, to bear witness that he before all others took possession (as in fact he did) of that island for the King and Queen his sovereigns, making the requisite declarations, which are more at large set down here in writing. Numbers of the people of the island straightway collected together. (Columbus, Journal of the First Voyage Oct 11)

21) We should cleanly erase from our minds that much-misunderstood remark of a post-Civil War -- not colonial -- general who said that "the only good Indians I ever saw were dead." By which he meant, not all Indians should be shot on sight, but that none of the dangerous Indian warriors he was fighting on the Plains were to be trusted. (James Axtell 262)

22) One should perhaps add another brute physical fact: the horrible misfortune that the earth of the New World harbored gold and that many of the native peoples worked this gold into ornaments and hence carried it on their bodies for the Spanish to see. No doubt the weapons and microbes would have reached the New World peoples anyway, but without the gold the destructive forces would have come more slowly, and there might have been time for a defense. (Stephen Greenblatt 63)

23) Columbus's conquest of Haiti can be seen as an amazing feat of courage and imagination by the first of many brave empire builders. It can also be understood as a bloody atrocity that left a legacy of genocide and slavery that endures in some degree to this day. Both views of Columbus are valid; indeed, Columbus's importance in history owes precisely to his being both a heroic navigator and a great plunderer. (James Loewen 61)

24) Here follow the precise words of the Admiral: "As I saw that they were very friendly to us, and perceived that they could be much more easily converted to our holy faith by gentle means than by force, I presented them with some red caps, and strings of beads to wear upon the neck, and many other trifles of small value, wherewith they were much delighted, and became wonderfully attached to us. Afterwards they came swimming to the boats, bringing parrots, balls of cotton thread, javelins, and many other things which they exchanged for articles we gave them, such as glass beads, and hawk's bells; which trade was carried on with the utmost good will. But they seemed on the whole to me, to be a very poor people. They all go completely naked, even the women, though I saw but one girl. All whom I saw were young, not above thirty years of age, well made, with fine shapes and faces; their hair short, and coarse like that of a horse's tail, combed toward the forehead, except a small portion which they suffer to hang down behind, and never cut. Some paint themselves with black, which makes them appear like those of the Canaries, neither black nor white; others with white, others with red, and others with such colors as they can find. Some paint the face, and some the whole body; others only the eyes, and others the nose. Weapons they have none, nor are acquainted with them, for I showed them swords which they grasped by the blades, and cut themselves through ignorance. They have no iron, their javelins being without it, and nothing more than sticks, though some have fish-bones or other things at the ends. They are all of a good size and stature, and handsomely formed. I saw some with scars of wounds upon their bodies, and demanded by signs the of them; they answered me in the same way, that there came people from the other islands in the neighborhood who endeavored to make prisoners of them, and they defended themselves. I thought then, and still believe, that these were from the continent. It appears to me, that the people are ingenious, and would be good servants and I am of opinion that they would very readily become Christians, as they appear to have no religion. They very quickly learn such words as are spoken to them. If it please our Lord, I intend at my return to carry home six of them to your Highnesses, that they may learn our language. I saw no beasts in the island, nor any sort of animals except parrots." These are the words of the Admiral. (Columbus, Journal of the First Voyage Oct 11)

25) {mocking, parodizing] Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western culture's gotta go. (Rush Limbaugh 204)

26) You probably have heard -- as I have, quite often -- that it is wrong for us to treat the Columbus story the way we do. What they say is: "You are taking Columbus out of context, looking at him with the eyes of the twentieth century. You must not superimpose the values of our time on the events that took place 500 years ago. That is ahistorical." I find this argument strange. Does it mean that cruelty, exploitation, greed, enslavement, violence against helpless people, are values peculiar to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries? And that we in the twentieth century, are beyond that? Are there not certain human values which are common to the age of Columbus and to our own? Proof of that is that both in his time and in ours there were enslavers and exploiters; in both his time and ours there were those who protested against that, on behalf of human rights. (Howard Zinn 116)

27) The captain Alonso Lopez de Avial, brother in law of the adelantado Montejo, captured, during the war in Bacalan, a young Indian woman of lovely and gracious appearance. She had promised her husband, fearful lest they should kill him in the war, not to have relations with any other man but him, and so no persuasion was sufficient to prevent her from taking her own life to avoid being defiled by another man; and because of this they had her thrown to the dogs. (Friar Diego de Landa, qtd in Stannard xi)

28) Our moral standards and behavior are confused, uncertain, and inconsistent because we commit too many elementary sins against straight moral thinking. . . . Our second mistake is to stereotype people according to one or a few characteristics . . . when we should continue to search for their full and individual humanity and withhold judgment until we know much more of it. . . . Take, as just one of many possible examples, the conquistadors of New Spain, who have gotten almost as much bad press as the Nazis of the Third Reich. We learn very little about a sixteenth-century Spaniard by calling him a "conquistador" . . . For the Spanish root of conquest is simply "to seek." And that's exactly what the very diverse Spaniards who made up the rag-tag forces of "discovery" were doing -- seeking their fortunes in any form possible: land, treasure, servants, or business. The great majority were anything but stereotypical "conquistadors," lean and hungry-looking in morion and breastplate, brandishing thin Toledo swords while spurring foaming steeds into habitual and genocidal war. (James Axtell 257)

29) Rather, it is "can it [genocide] be stopped?" For the genocide in the Americas, and in others places where the world's indigenous peoples survive, has never really ceased. As recently as 1986, the Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States observed that 40,000 people had simply "disappeared" in Guatemala during the preceding fifteen years. Another 100,000 had been openly murdered. That is the equivalent, in the United States, or more than 4,000,000 people slaughtered or removed under official government decree -- a figure that is almost six times the number of American battle deaths in the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined. (David Stannard xiii)

30) Christopher Columbus introduced two phenomena that revolutionized race relations and transformed the modern world: the taking of land, wealth, and labor from indigenous peoples, leading to their near extermination, and the transatlantic slave trade, which created a racial underclass. (James Loewen 50)

31) All or the majority of the people of the Island of Hispaniola have many zemis of various sorts. Some contain the bones of their father and mother and relatives and ancestors; they are made of stone or of wood. And they have many of both kinds, some that speak, and others that cause the things they eat to grow, and others that make it rain, and others that make the winds blow. Those simple ignorant people believe that those idols -- or more properly speaking, demons -- make such things happen because they have no knowledge of our holy faith. (Fray Ramon Pane 21)

32) Columbus's representation of American reality projected an image of the New World that would provide a basis, in the realm of the imagination, for developing a system designed for plunder, exploitation, and degradation -- a system that inevitably lead to what Las Casas called "the destruction of the Indies." (Beatriz Pastor Bodmer 48)

33) There was no pretense to objectivity, or any sense that these people might be representatives of a culture equal to, or in any way a model for, Europe's. Colon immediately presumed the inferiority of the natives, not merely because (a sure enough sign) they were naked, but because (his society could have no surer measure) they seemed so technologically backward. (Kirkpatrick Sale 96)

34) Celebration of Columbus and the European conquest of the Western Hemisphere he set off is greatly analogous to celebration of the glories of nazism and Heinrich Himmler / He (Columbus) went, as his own diaries, reports, and letters make clear, fully expecting to encounter wealth belonging to others. It was his stated purpose to seize this wealth, by whatever means necessary and available, in order to enrich both his sponsors and himself. (85) / The proportion of the indigenous Caribbean population destroyed by the Spanish in a single generation is, no matter how the figures are twisted, far greater than the 75 percent of European Jews usually said to have been exterminated by the nazis (86) / The Indians were considered by the Spanish to be Untermenschen, subhumans (88) / If there is one differentiation which may be valid, it is that while the specific enterprise Himmler represented ultimately failed and is now universally condemned, that represented by Columbus did not and is not. (88) / The Columbian process is ongoing, as is witnessed by the fact that, today, his legacy is celebrated far and wide. (88) / Nazism was never unique: it was instead only one of an endless succession of "New World Orders" set in motion by "the Discovery." (92) / At this juncture, the entire planet is locked, figuratively, in a room with the sociocultural equivalent of Hannibal Lecter. (93) / (Of Hannibal): His success depends upon being embraced and exalted by those upon whom he preys. Ultimately, so long as Lecter is able to retain his mask of omnipotent gentility, he can never be stopped. The spirit of Hannibal Lecter is thus at the core of an expansionist European "civilization" which has reached out to engulf the planet. (93) / The point, however, is to understand what he is and what he does well enough to stop him from doing it. This is the role which must be assumed by scholarship vis-a-vis Eurosupremacy, if scholarship itself is to have any positive and constructive meaning. Scholarship is never "neutral" or "objective"; it always works either for the psychopath or against him, to mystify sociocultural reality or to decode it, to make corrective action possible or to prevent it. (93-94) (Ward Churchill)

35) A typical fifth grade biography of Columbus begins: There once was a boy who loved the salty sea." Well! I can imagine a children's biography of Attila the Hun beginning with the sentence" "There once was a boy who loved horses." (Howard Zinn 104-5)

36) Columbus's mercantile ideology together with his economic commitments to the Crown are at the foundation of a process involving the fictionalization of American reality for commercial purposes. In Columbus's writings, the first code of representation portrayed America in terms of his literary models. This code of representation was complemented by another, which made her a function of the commercial requirements of Europe. The New World was thus redefined, transformed, and instrumentalized to meet the demands of both the imaginary model and the European economy. (Beatriz Pastor Bodmer 39)

37) In Spain they judge me as if I had been sent to govern Sicily or some province or city under settled government, and where the laws can be strictly applied without fear of a complete upheaval. This does me great harm. I should be judged as a captain sent from Spain to the Indies to conquer a large and warlike people, with customs and beliefs very different from ours. These people live in mountains and forests without settled townships, and we have none there either. Here by God's will I have brought under the dominion of our sovereigns a new world, whereby Spain, which was called poor, has now become rich. I should be judged as a captain who has borne arms for a long time and bears them still, not laying them aside for a single hour, and I should be judged by knights of conquest and experience, not by men of letters, unless they be Greeks or Romans or their peers of the present day, of whom there are so many noble examples in Spain. In default of this I shall be greatly wronged, since in the Indies there are neither towns nor seats of justice. (Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage 274-75)

38) Under the encomienda system, Zorita lamented, the tribute demanded of the natives was so excessive, particularly as the population declined, that many Indians "sold their land at a low price, and their children as slaves." Many others were enslaved in "just wars" and sent to the mines or to the chain gangs, where they perished in appalling numbers from "hunger and cold or extreme heat." When an Indian porter, "man or woman, was worn out from the burden he was carrying, the Spaniards cut off his head so as not to have to stop to unchain him." (James Axtell 248)

39) It is clear from his own statements that Columbus saw himself as an instrument of divine will and believed everything he did to be guided and protected by God. At the beginning of his letter to Santangel he refers to the discovery as "the great victory with which Our Lord has crowned my voyage" . . . On his second voyage, his confidence in divine support takes the form of repeated appeals to God in his mercy to alleviate his problems, sorrows, and disappointments. . . . His hesitation and vulnerability are over by the third voyage, when he again claims himself to be a man chosen by God who "led him miraculously to Isabella island" and "always "brought him victory" . . . Columbus's messianic conception of himself and his deeds as the work of Divine Providence reaches a climax during his fourth voyage when, in the course of a hallucinatory vision, he hears voices assuring him of his special relationship with God and of God's loyalty towards his messengers. (Beatriz Pastor Bodmer 21-22)

40) "The Spaniards began their settlements in the West Indies and America," he wrote, without any mincing of words, "by depredations of rapine, injustice, treachery and murder . . . This guiltful method of colonization . . . led them on from one degree of barbarity and cruelty to another" until "they had destroyed, wasted and desolated the native inhabitants" who performed all their labor. To replace the Indians they resorted to the slave trade, "that base traffic of kidnapping and stealing men . . . begun by the Portuguese on the coast of Africa." (James Axtell 252)

41) And those who see him inquire, asking: "Were you not dead?" But he answers that the zemis went to his aid in the shape of serpents. And when they see him alive, the relatives of the dead man are very annoyed because they believed that they had avenged the death of their relative, and they become desperate and try to lay their hands on him so as to kill him; and if they catch him again, they take out his eyes and smash his testicles because they say that none of these physicians can die, however much they may beat him, if they do not remove his testicles. (Fray Ramon Pane 25)

42) A third important development was idealogical or even theological: amassing wealth and dominating other people came to be positively valued as the key means of winning esteem on earth and salvation in the hereafter. As Columbus put it, "Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise." (James Loewen 33)

43) Now, as I said, I have found such great irregularities that I have come to the following conclusions concerning the world: that is it is not round as they describe it, but the shape of a pear, which is round everywhere except at the stalk, where it juts out a long way; or that it is like a round ball, on part of which is something like a woman's nipple. . . . For I believe that the earthly Paradise lies here, which no one can enter except by God's leave. (Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage 217, 221)

44) "I'm sad for what's happened to the Indians," Josanne Brandon said. "But the descendants of Columbus can't exactly pack their bags and go away" . . . . "What people might call American history is just our people's misery," said Lee Sprague, a Native American artist. (Quincentennial comments)

45) We often speak about American history as if it were something real. But I do not believe in American history: I only believe in American histories. But histories are written constructions of those in possession of the word, and I object to the way history has been constructed, sanitized, and glorified. (Benjamin Alire Saenz, Without Discovery 137)

46) It is true, in a plainly quantitative sense sense of body counting, that the barrage of disease unleashed by the Europeans among the so-called "virgin soil" populations of the Americas caused more deaths than any other single force of destruction. However, by focusing almost entirely on disease, by displacing responsibility for the mass killing onto an army of invading microbes, contemporary authors have increasingly created the impression that the eradication of those tens of millions of people was inadvertent -- a sad, but both inevitable and "unintended consequence" of human migration and progress. . . . In fact, however, the near-total destruction of the Western Hemisphere's native people was neither inadvertent nor inevitable. (David Stannard xii)

47) The politics between Columbus and Spain is really the driving, central plot. It’s totally fine if that’s what you want to make a movie about but don’t market it as the beginning of America because it didn’t have that much to do with native people. Should we canonize Columbus because he made the nobles work? (Morgan Christopher, Lehigh University)

48) Both men [Columbus and Toscanelli, one of Columbus's sources] imagined islands rich beyond anything ever before encountered, inhabited by peace-loving people inclined toward commerce and trade who, subject to no foreign sovereign, would welcome the first man who discovered them. (Beatriz Pastor Bodmer 18)

49) Columbus took special notice of the Tainos’ goldwork because it offered him an opportunity to repay his debt to his patrons, the king and queen of Spain. (Irving Rouse 9)

50) The Tainos have not received the recognition they deserve for their role in the events relating to the conquest of the Americas. Not only has their indentity suffered because they had no overall name for themselves but the Island-Caribs attracted more attention because of their warlike nature and their practice of cannibalism, which the Spanish colonists greatly exaggerated in order to justify enslaving them. (Irving Rouse 23)

51) And they [Taino] say this cacique affirmed that he had spoken with Yucahuguama, who told him that those who remained alive after his death would enjoy their dominion for but a brief time because a clothed people would come to their land who would overcome them and kill them, and they would die of hunger. But at first these people must be the cannibals; but later, considering that the cannibals did nothing more than steal and flee, they believed the zemi must be referring to other people. Thus they now believe the Admiral and his people are the ones. (Fray Ramon Pane 31)

52) The Taino people emerged during the latter part of the first millennium A.D. and reached maturity about 1200. They were till evolving when Columbus arrived, but soon succumbed to the effects of overwork, malnutrition, epidemics of introduced diseases, rebellion, emigration, and outmarriage. By 1524 they had ceased to exist as a separate population group. (Irving Rouse 169)

53) All of these commemorative acts and objects have one thing in common: they serve as icons or talismans of our touching (if fleeting) faith in the public resonance of past events, or at the very least, in the corporate and national usefulness of recognizably "great" events. But the problem with public genuflection toward selected events in the past is threefold. First, we accept the meaning and importance of those events on faith, rather than constantly rediscovering and arguing about them. We assume what should be proven. Second, the public nature of our worship of the past -- and the mass quality of our media coverage of it -- numbs us to the need for private reflection. . . And finally, the form in which our celebrated events are typically presented -- drastically simplified, neatly packaged, and attractively wrapped, usually in the flag of national chauvinism or corporate altruism -- prevents us from recognizing the events as they actually occurred. (James Axtell 243)

54) What is being taught under the guise of multiculturalism is worse than historical revisionism; it's more than a distortion of facts; it's an elimination of facts. (Rush Limbaugh 204)

55) Numbers can deceive, but evidence tells us that the people whom Columbus found in the Caribbean had totally disappeared 50 years later. Two historians of the colonial experience in Latin America, Barbara and Stanley Stein, estimate the population of central Mexico at 25 million when the conquest began in 1519. In 1605, the population was 2 million. In the central Andes, a population of 6 million in 1525 had sunk to 1.5 million in 1561. The reasons for this demographic catastrophe were complex, cumulative and brutal: European diseases, immunological breakdowns, forced labour but also culture shock and sheer anguish. (Carlos Fuentes)

56) For the Spanish root of conquest is simply "to seek." And that's exactly what the very diverse Spaniards who made up the rag-tag forces of "discovery" were doing -- seeking their fortunes in any form possible: land, treasure, servants, or business. (James Axtell 258)

57) Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes -- a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby)

58) The main islands were thickly populated with a peaceful folk when Christ-over found them. But the orgy of blood that followed, no man has written. We are the slaughterers. It is the tortured soul of our world. (William Carlos Williams)

59) Our moral standards and behavior are confused, uncertain, and inconsistent because we commit too many elementary sins against straight moral thinking. . . . The third error we make in our moral judgments of the past is to constitute ourselves one-or-more-person "truth squads," clad in the armor of self-righteousness and armed with an infallible diving rod for the secrets of dead men's hearts. Unfortunately, "the truth" is never simpler than it seems to the simpleminded. (James Axtell 260)

60) You probably know that President Reagan established a commission back in 1985 for the observance of the Quincentennial. It was a little embarrassing though, because he appointed this man Goudie, who was a Florida real estate developer -- Who else? A natural choice. He resigned last year because some House subcommittee was investigating him. (Howard Zinn, Confronting Columbus 1)

61) Let us now speak of how the first men who received holy baptism became Christians and what needs to be done so that they all might become Christians. And truly the island has a great need of people to punish the lords when they deserve it and to enlighten those peoples about the matters of the holy Catholic faith and to indoctrinate them in it because they cannot and know not how to resist. And I can say it truly, for I have worn myself out in order to learn all this, and I am certain it will have been understood from what we have said up to now, and a word to the wise is sufficient. (Fray Ramon Pane 37)

62) Typically, after “discovering” an island and encountering a tribe of Indians new to them, the Spaniards would read aloud (in Spanish) what came to be called “the Requirement.” Here is one version: I implored you to recognize the Church as a lady and in the name of the Pope take the King as lord of this land and obey his mandates. If you do not do it, I tell you that with the help of God I will enter powerfully against you all. I will make war everywhere and every way that I can. I will subject you to the yoke and obedience to the Church and to his majesty. I will take your women and children and make them slaves. . . . The deaths and injuries that you will receive from here on will be your own fault and not that of his majesty nor of the gentlemen that accompany me. (James Loewen 34)

63) Setting up shop on the large island he called Española (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic), he promptly instituted policies of slavery (encomiendo) and systematic extermination against the native Taino population. Columbus' programs reduced Taino numbers from as many as eight million at the outset of his regime to about three million in 1496. Perhaps 100,000 were left by the time of the governor's departure. (Ward Churchill 29-30)

64) As I know you will be rejoiced at the glorious success that our Lord has given me in my voyage, I write this to tell you how in thirty-three days I sailed to the Indies with the fleet that the illustrious King and Queen, our Sovereigns, gave me, where I discovered a great many islands, inhabited by numberless people; and of all I have taken possession for their Highnesses by proclamation and display of the Royal Standard without opposition. To the first island I discovered I gave the name of San Salvador, in commemoration of His Divine Majesty, who has wonderfully granted all this. The Indians call it Guanaham. The second I named the Island of Santa Maria de Concepcion; the third, Fernandina; the fourth, Isabella; the fifth, Juana; and thus to each one I gave a new name. (Christopher Columbus, First Voyage 115)

65) Although at times operating independently, for most of the long centuries of devastation that followed 1492, disease and genocide were interdependent forces acting dynamically -- whipsawing their victims between plague and violence, each one feeding upon the other, and together driving countless numbers of entire ancient societies to the brink -- and often over the brink -- of total extermination. (David Stannard xii)

66) Columbus's whole life is marked by a craving for something that continually eluded him, for the kingdom or the paradise or the Jerusalem that he could not reach, and his expressions of the marvelous, insofar as they articulate this craving, continue the medieval sense that wonder and secure temporal possession are mutually exclusive. (Stephen Greenblatt 81)

67) I am compelled, therefore, to come to this view of the world: I have found that it does not have the kind of sphericity described by the authorities, but that it has the shape of a pear, which is all very round, except at the stem, which is rather prominent, or that it is as if one had a very round ball, on one part of which something like a woman's teat were placed, this part with the stem being the uppermost and nearest to the sky, lying below the equinoctial line in this ocean sea, at the end of the East. (Christopher Columbus, Journals and Other Documents 286)

68) I am so friendly with the king of that country that he was proud to call me his brother and hold me as such. Even should he change his mind and wish to quarrel with my men, neither he nor his subjects know what arms are, nor wear clothes, as I have said. They are the most timid people in the world, so that only the men remaining there could destroy the whole region, and run no risk if they know how to behave themselves properly. (Christopher Columbus, First Voyage 120)

69) From the very beginning, rather than discovering, [Columbus] confirms and identifies. The central meaning of the term "to discover," that is, to unveil or make known, does not describe the actions and conceptualizations of Columbus, whose method of inquiry, informed by his need to identify the newly discovered lands with preexisting sources and models, was a mixture of invention, misrepresentation, and concealment. (Beatriz Pastor Bodmer 10)

70) Spaniards hunted Indians for sport and murdered them for dog food. Columbus, upset because he could not locate the gold he was certain was on the island, set up a tribute system. Ferdinand Columbus described how it worked: “[The Indians] all promised to pay tribute to the Catholic Sovereigns every three months." . . . Columbus’s son neglected to mention how the Spanish punished those whose tokens had expired: they cut off their hands." . . . Pedro de Cordoba wrote in a letter to King Ferdinand in 1517, “As a result of the sufferings and hard labor they endured, the Indians choose and have chosen suicide. Occasionally, a hundred have committed mass suicide." (James Loewen 54)

71) Then abuse broke out and disparagement of the undertaking began, because I had not immediately sent back ships laden with gold. No one considered the shortness of the time or the many difficulties that I described in my letters. And so for my sins, or, as I think it will prove, for my salvation, I became an object of loathing and objections were made to all my wishes and demands. (Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage 206)

72) When Columbus and his men returned to Haiti in 1493, they demanded food, gold, spun cotton – whatever the Indians had that they wanted, including sex with their women. To ensure cooperation, Columbus used punishment by example. When an Indian committed even a minor offense, the Spanish cut off his ears or nose. Disfigured, the person was sent back to his village as living evidence of the brutality the Spaniards were capable of. (James Loewen 51)

73) Within no more than a handful of generations following their first encounters with Europeans, the vast majority of the Western Hemisphere's native peoples had been exterminated. . . . an overall decline of 95 percent has become a working rule of thumb. (David Stannard x)

74) Slave labor was also instituted almost as soon as Colon [Columbus] succeeded in pacifying the island . . . Before the decade was over Colon installed it formally through the institution known as encomienda, a new variant of an old Castilian principle by which the Governor could give, or "commend," certain Indians to various colonists [for tribute or forced labor], in return for which the masters' only obligation was to provide their charges with instructions on becoming good Christians. (Kirkpatrick Sale 155)

75) Concerning the gold that I promised to give, the news is that one Christmas Day, when I was hard pressed by the attacks of wicked Christians and the Indians and on the point of leaving everything and escaping if possible with my life, the Lord miraculously comforted me, saying: "Take courage. Be not dismayed nor afraid: I will provide for everything: the seven years of the gold concessions have not elapsed. And in this matter, as in all others I will remedy your fortunes." (Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage 275)

76) In Central America, a new innovation, “dogging,” shortly made its appearance. This had to do with setting vicious mastiffs and wolfhounds — raised on a diet of human flesh, trained to disembowel on command, and often equipped with special armor — loose on hapless natives. This was sometimes done to captives in a betting situation, sometimes as a form of “hunting,” sometimes in conjunction with pacification efforts, usually in some combination of the three. . . . In one account, the favorite dog of the noted conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa ripped the head completely off the body of a Cuna leader in Panama, much to the glee of the entourage accompanying the owner of the “pet.” At another point, Balboa is recorded as having the body of forty of his victims fed to his dogs. In Peru, this practice was so common that Cieza de Leon found it not particularly remarkable that “a Portuguese named Roque Martin [regularly] had quarters of Indians hanging on his porch to feed his dogs with.” (Ward Churchill 105)

77) Hatuey [a cacique] finally responded, "And the baptized, where do they go after death?"
"To heaven," said the friar.
Hatvey: "And the Spanish, where do they go?"
Friar: "If baptized, of course, they go to Heaven."
"So the Spaniards go to Heaven,' Hatuey responded. 'Then I don't want to go there. Don't baptize me. I prefer to go to Hell." (Jose Barreiro, Confronting Columbus 42)

78) No clothes, no arms, no possessions, no iron, and now no religion -- not even speech: hence they were fit to be servants, and captives. It may fairly be called the birth of American slavery. (Kirkpatrick Sale 97)

79) Jan Elliott, the editor of Indigenous Thought, a Florida-based anti-Columbus newspaper, described the loss of American Indian life as "the biggest holocaust in history" and called Columbus a "mass murderer." Elliott wrote in the first issue that "Celebrating Columbus' 'discovery' of America is analogous to celebrating Hitler's holocaust." (James Axtell 17)

80) In fourteen hundred and ninety-three, Columbus stole all he could see. (Parody of famous poem)

81) America is a continent and cannot be monopolized by a single country like the United States. America has no borders. It actually runs from Alaska to the Patagonia. "America" and "American" are terms that for too long have been misused to dominate, exclude, suppress, and eradicate the historical consciousness of the Native people of this continent. America did not begin five hundred years ago. America has fantastic and very deep cultural roots that go back many thousand years of continuous history. (Francisco X. Alarcon, Without Discovery 33)

82) When Montezuma sent to Cortes's approaching army a gift of gold ensigns and necklaces, Aztec oral sources well remembered after the conquest that "the Spaniards burst into smiles; their eyes shone with pleasure . . . They picked up the gold and fingered it like monkeys . . . The truth is that they longed and lusted for gold. Their bodies swelled with greed, and their hunger was ravenous; they hungered like pigs for that gold." (James Axtell 249)

83) But the economic transaction as Columbus conceives it will be undertaken for the welfare of the souls of the enslaved: the Indians are exchanged for beasts in order to convert them into humans. This transformation will not enfranchise them; it will only make them into excellent slaves. But they will have gained their spiritual freedom. At the heart of the transaction is not wealth or convenience, though these are welcome, but a metamorphosis from inhumanity into humanity. (Stephen Greenblatt 72)

84) And the work would go forward if there were someone to indoctrinate them and teach them the holy Catholic faith and people to guide them. And if someone were to ask why I believe this business to be so easy, I will say I have seen it in my own experience and especially in a principal cacique called Mahubiatibire, who has continued to be of good will for three years now, saying he wishes to be a Christian, and who wants to have but one wife, although they usually have two or three, and the principal men have ten, fifteen, or twenty. (Fray Ramon Pane 38)

85) I clambered up to the highest point of the ship, crying in a trembling voice, with tears in my eyes, to all your Highnesses war captains at every point of the compass to save me, but there was no reply. Tired out and sobbing I fell asleep and heard a very compassionate voice saying, "O fool, slow to believe and serve thy God, the God of all! What more did he do for Moses or David his servant than he has done for thee? . . . He gave the the Indies, which are so rich a part of the world, for thine own and thou hast divided them at thy pleasure, and He has enabled thee to do this. He gave thee the keys of the barriers of the ocean seas ahich were closed with such mighty chains. Thou hast been obeyed in many lands and gained and honourable fame throughout Christendom. . . . His mercy is infinite." (Christopher Columbus, Fourth Voyage 293)

86) Our moral standards and behavior are confused, uncertain, and inconsistent because we commit too many elementary sins against straight moral thinking. . . . Finally [fifth], we make a hash out of our historical judgments because we continue to feel guilty about the real or imagined sins of the fathers and forefathers and people to whom we have no relations whatever. The dirtiness of their business somehow keeps rubbing off on us. This is perhaps understandable but it is also unnecessary and unproductive. . . . Only when we perpetuate the immoral actions and attitudes of our predecessors should they be of personal . . . concern to us. . . . As a huge nation of law and order and increasingly refined sensibility, we are not guilty of murdering Indian women and babies, of branding slaves on the forehead, or of claiming and confiscating any real estate in the world we happen to fancy. (James Axtell 263)

87) In school I was taught the names / Columbus, Cortez, and Pizzaro and / A dozen other filthy murderers. / A bloodline all the way to General Miles, / Daniel Boone and general Eisenhower. / No one mentioned the names / Of even a few of the victims. / But don't you remember Chaske, whose spine / Was crushed so quickly by Mr. Pizzaro's boot? / What words did he cry into the dust? / What was the familiar name / Of that young girl who danced so gracefully / That everyone in the village sang with her-- / Before Cortez' sword hacked off her arms / As she protested the burning of her sweetheart? (Jimmy Durham)

88) Bosch claims, "The systematic persecution of the Indians started after Columbus' legacy was over. Saying Columbus was responsible for genocide is like saying Jesus Christ is responsible for the Inquisition." (Hal Lipper)

89) You will, notwithstanding, inform their Highnesses, on my behalf, that God has been pleased to manifest such favour towards their service, that not only has nothing hitherto occurred to diminish the importance of what I have previously written or said . . . because we have found upon the sea shore . . . some spots showing so many indications of various spices, as naturally to suggests the hope of the best results for the future. The same holds good with respect to the gold mines; for two parties only who were sent out in different directions to discover them, and who, because they had few people with them, remained out but a short time, found, nevertheless, a great number of rivers who sands contained this precious metal in such quantity, that each man took up a sample of it in his hand; so that our two messengers returned so joyous, and boasted so much of the abundance of gold, that I feel a hesitation in speaking and writing of it to their Highnesses. (Columbus, Second Voyage 73-74)

90) You will repeat to their Highnesses what I have already written to them, that I should have ardently desired to have been able to send them, by this occasion, a larger quantity of gold than what they have any hope of our being able to collect, but that the greater part of the people we employed fell suddenly ill. Moreover, the departure of this present expedition could not be delayed any longer. . . . Besides, if I wished now to undertake a journey to the rivers with those who are well . . . I should experience great difficulties and even dangers; because, in traversing three or four-and-twenty leagues, where there are bays and rivers to pass, we should be obliged to carry, as provision for so long a journey, and for the time necessary for collecting the gold, many articles of food, etc., which could not be carried on our backs, and there are no beasts of burden to be found. . . . Moreover, the roads and passes are not in such a condition as I should wish for traveling over. . . . it would also be extremely inconvenient to leave the sick men here in the open air. . . . although [the Indians] come every day to visit us, it would nevertheless be imprudent to risk the loss of our men and our provisions. (Columbus, Second Voyage 75-76)

91) The conquest of America continues to be the pause of our historical memory, the origin of our intense self-consciousness and painful brotherhood between the death of the Indian civilisations of the Americas and the birth of the Hispano-Indian civilisations of the New World. Eternal witnesses to our own creation, we the descendants of Indians and Spaniards in the Americas know that the conquest was a cruel, criminal, bloody event. It was a catastrophic event. But it was not a sterile event. From the catastrophe of the conquest, the Indoiberoamericans were born. (Carlos Fuentes)

92) Auschwitz ovens / burn bright / in America / twenty-four million / perished in the flame / Nazi / not a people/ but / a way of life / Trail of Tears Humans / ends in Oklahoma / an Indian name for / Red Earth. (Pam Colorado)

93) By now, it's no secret that Columbus and those who came after him abused the natives, drove them from their land and introduced European diseases that decimated their population. While this point has been raised and repeated through the better part of five centuries, it has perhaps never been so widely recognized as now . . . . Yet it is as unfair to burden Columbus with all the depredations that followed his voyage as it is to credit him alone with the development of the Western Hemisphere. It is enough that a long and different time ago, he opened the way. (New York Times editorial on October 12, 1992)

94) I gave them a thousand pretty things that I had brought, in order to gain their love and incline them to become Christians. I hoped to win them to the love and service of their Highnesses and of the whole Spanish nation and to persuade them to collect and give us of the things which they possessed in abundance and which we needed. (Christopher Columbus, First Voyage 118)

95) There is other evidence which adds up to a picture of widespread rape of native women. Samuel Eliot Morison wrote: "In the Bahamas, Cuba and Hispaniola they found young and beautiful women, who everywhere were naked, in most places accessible, and presumably complaisant." Who presumes this? Morison, and so many others. Morison saw the conquest as so many writers after him have done, as one of the great romantic adventures of world history. He seemed to get carried away by what appeared to him as masculine conquest. He wrote: "Never again may mortal men hope to recapture the amazement, the wonder, the delight of those October days in 1492, when the new world gracefully yielded her virginity to the conquering Castilians." (Howard Zinn 102-3)

96) They have no iron or steel or arms and are not capable of using them, not because they are not strong and well built but because they are amazingly timid. All the weapons they have are canes cut at seeding time, at the end of which they fix a sharpened stick, but they have not the courage to make use of these, for very often when I have sent two or three men to a village to have conversation with them a great number of them have come out. But as soon as they saw my men all fled immediately, a father not even waiting for his son. (Christopher Columbus, First Voyage 117)

97) At that first instant of sighting land, the discovery would appear to be inseparable from an innocence that never in fact existed. Not even in that first moment of their encounter can Christopher Columbus be thought of solely as a discoverer, or America as an unknown continent. Although these attributes pertained, Columbus and America were so much more than "discoverer" and "unknown" that to describe them thus, without clear reference to their specific historical context, would simply misrepresent the actual nature of Columbus's discovery. (Beatriz Pastor Bodmer)

98) Why do textbooks promote wartless stereotypes? . . . Heroification itself supplies a first answer. . . . Whatever the causes, the results of heroification are potentially crippling to students. . . . Our children end up without realistic role models to inspire them. Students also develop no understanding of causality in history. . . . For when textbook authors leave out the warts, the problems, the unfortunate character traits, and the mistaken ideas, they reduce heroes from dramatic men and women to melodramatic stick figures. Their inner struggles disappear, and they become goody-goody, not merely good. (James Loewen 33, 35, 36)

99) This film was intended to be a celebration of the 500-year anniversary of the voyage--the unofficial beginning of American culture--so it would seem out of place to challenge the viewer to a theatrical documentary. Rather than serving as a means through which to right a series of "wrongs" towards a culture like Atanarjuat, 1492 seems like it was more tailored to a culture of entertainment. (Kelsey Cannon, Lehigh University)

100) Also left festering is the notion that "it's natural" for one group to dominate another. . . . domination is not natural but cultural. The way American history textbooks treat Columbus reinforces the tendency not to think about the process of domination. The traditional picture of Columbus landing on the American shore shows him dominating immediately, and this is based on fact: Columbus claimed everything he saw right off the boat. When text books celebrate this process, they imply that taking the land and dominating the Indians was inevitable if not natural. This is unfortunate, because Columbus's voyages constitute a splendid teachable moment. (James Loewen 44)

101) Aside from the typical Hollywood theatrics that many, if not all, of us accept as embellishments on the story of the film, Columbus was portrayed in a way that allowed the viewer to, essentially, choose a side. He has enough positive qualities to appease those who want him to be a hero and he has enough tense interactions and questionable decisions to satisfy those who might perceive him as more villainous. (Kelsey Cannon, Lehigh University)

102) The tribute system eventually broke down because what it demanded was impossible. To replace it, Columbus installed the encomienda system, in which he granted or "commended" entire Indian villages to individual colonists or groups of colonists. Since it was not called slavery, this forced-labor system escaped the moral censure that slavery received. (James Loewen 63)

103) The first structure erected by Europe in the New World was a fortress. (Kirkpatrick Sale 117)

104) The worshipful biographical vignettes of Columbus in our textbooks serve to indoctrinate students into a mindless endorsement of colonialism. . . . So long as our textbooks hide from us the roles that people of color have played in exploration, from at least 6000 B.C. to the twentieth century., they encourage us to look to Europe and its extensions as the seat of all knowledge and intelligence. So long as our textbooks simply celebrate Columbus, rather than teach both sides of his exploit, they encourage us to identify with white Western exploitation rather than study it. (James Loewen 71-72)

105) But let's get back to Columbus. All right, just for the sake of argument, let's say that the Columbus-bashers are right. Let's say he was as evil as they make him out to be and that he committed all those horrible things of which they accuse him, and more. . . . Would somebody please tell me where, in the founding documents of the United States of America, there is anything based on Christopher Columbus's beliefs, or his actions, or his philosophy? It just isn't there. The American system of government did not come from Columbus. (Rush Limbaugh 212)

106) In fourteen hundred ninety-two / Columbus sailed the ocean blue. / He had three ships and left from Spain; / He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain. / He sailed by night; he sailed by day; / He used the stars to find his way. / A compass also helped him know / How to find the way to go. / Ninety sailors were on board; / Some men worked while others snored. / Then the workers went to sleep; / And others watched the ocean deep. / Day after day they looked for land; / They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand. / October 12 their dream came true, / You never saw a happier crew! / "Indians! Indians!" Columbus cried; / His heart was filled with joyful pride. / But "India" the land was not; / It was the Bahamas, and it was hot. / The Arakawa natives were very nice; / They gave the sailors food and spice. / Columbus sailed on to find some gold / To bring back home, as he'd been told. / He made the trip again and again, / Trading gold to bring to Spain. / The first American? No, not quite. / But Columbus was brave, and he was bright. (popular poem and song)

107) To speak, in conclusion, only of what has been done during this hurried voyage, their Highnesses will see that I can give them as much gold as they desire, if they will give me a little assistance, spices, cotton, as much as their Highnesses may command to be shipped, and mastic as much as their Highnesses choose to send for, which until now has only been found in Greece, in the isle of Chios, and the Signoria can get its own price for it; as much lign-aloe as they command to be shipped, and as many slaves as they choose to send for, all heathens. I think I have found rhubarb and cinnamon. Many other things of value will be discovered by the men I left behind me, as I stayed nowhere when the wind allowed me to pursue my voyage, except in the City of Navidad, which I left fortified and safe. Indeed, I might have accomplished much more, had the crews served me as they ought to have done. (Christopher Columbus, First Voyage 122)

108) He had his faults and his defects, but they were largely the defects of the qualities that made him great -- his indomitable will, his superb faith in God and in his own mission as the Christ-bearer to lands beyond the seas, his stubborn persistence despite neglect, poverty and discouragement. But there was no flaw, no dark side to the most outstanding and essential of all his qualities -- his seamanship." (Samuel Eliot Morison, qtd in Zinn 106-7)

109) When Columbus first sighted the New World, he was the great navigator of the Sea of Shadows. But he was also the prophet who had preached in vain for almost twenty years the viability of a western route to the fabulous wealth of Asia; a prophet chosen by God for the glorious venture of crossing the Sea of Shadows, a mission that he believed to have been reserved for him by Providence since the beginning of time. (Beatriz Pastor Bodmer)

110) Of the new heaven and the new earth, which Our Lord made -- as St. John writes in Revelation -- following the words given to Isaiah, "He made me a messenger and he showed me where to go" -- all men were incredulous. (Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage 265)

111) The Tainos of the Caribbean islands are extinct. That simple declarative sentence states the magnitude of the methodological problem faced in this study. How can the religious culture of an extinct people be analyzed? For some 350 years there have been no persons who call themselves Tainos, fashion their artifacts, or worship in their rituals. (Antonio Stevens-Arroyo 3)

112) For nine days I was lost with no hope of life. Eyes never saw the sea so rough, so ugly or so seething with foam. The wind did not allow us to go ahead or give us a chance of running, nor did it allow us to shelter under any headland. There I was held in those seas turned to blood, boiling like a cauldron on a mighty fire. The skies had never looked more threatening. For a day and a night they blazed like a furnace and the lightning burnt in such flashes that every moment I looked to see whether my masts and sails had not been struck. They came with such terrifying fury that we believed the ships would be utterly destroyed. All this time water fell unceasingly from the sky. One cannot say that it rained, for it was like a repetition of the deluge. . . . On the day of Epiphany (6 January) I reached Veragua, completely broken in spirit. (Christopher Columbus, Fourth Voyage 290-91)

113) It is to be regretted that the Admiral, unable to see past their nakedness, as it were, knew not the real virtues of the people he confronted. For the Tainos' lives were in many ways as idyllic as their surroundings, into which they fit with such skill and comfort. They were well fed and well housed, without poverty or serious disease. They enjoyed considerable leisure, given over to dancing, singing, ballgames, and sex, and expressed themselves artistically in basketry, woodworking, pottery, and jewelry. They lived in general harmony and peace, without greed or covetousness or theft. (Kirkpatrick Sale 101)

114) Haiti under Spanish rule is one of the primary instances of genocide in all human history. . . . None [of the history textbooks] mentions Columbus's role in it. Columbus not only sent the first slaves across the Atlantic, he probably sent more slaves -- about five thousand -- than any other individual. . . . The slave trade destroyed whole Indian nations. Enslaved Indians died. To replace the dying Haitians, the Spaniards imported tens of thousands more Indians from the Bahamas. (James Loewen 63-64)

115) Atanarjuat focused mainly on an accurate portrayal of the Inuit way of life –- the costumes, actors, setting and dialogue were all spot-on in terms of historical accuracy and cultural significance. I simply did not feel that in 1492. This historical facts were usually botched and the Hollywood taint was obvious in the film’s making. The actors spoke English and not Spanish and the Hollywood actress Sigourney Weaver played Queen Isabella. Furthermore, the main intent of the film was not necessarily to portray Columbus’s journey in a historical and factual manner. Instead, it served to glorify the Columbus expedition and emphasize the importance of America’s rugged individualism. With underlying motives involved, 1492 cannot possibly remain as honestly impartial as Atanarjuat is. (Tatum Lawrence, Lehigh University)

116) The honest devotion which I have always paid to your Highnesses service and the unparalleled wrong that I have suffered will not let me keep silence, although I would gladly do so. I beg your Highnesses pardon. I am ruined, as I have said; till now I have wept for others. May Heaven now have pity on me and earth weep for me. Of worldly possessions I have not even a farthing to offer for my spirit's good. Here in the Indies I am cut off from the prescribed forms of religion, alone in my troubles, sick, in daily expectation of death and surrounded by a million hostile savages full of cruelty, and so far from the Holy Sacraments of the Blessed Church that my soul will be forgotten if it leaves my body. Weep for me whoever has charity, truth and justice! (Christopher Columbus, Fourth Voyage 303-4)

117) Columbus's arrival in the Caribbean marks the beginning of a process of destruction of American reality. That process involved many forms of abuse and depredation. It caused a sharp, general decline in the size of the indigenous population within a few years, devastating and culturally impoverishing areas that, until the Spaniards came to America, had been relatively well balanced and prosperous. (Beatriz Pastor Bodmer 9)

118) Our moral standards and behavior are confused, uncertain, and inconsistent because we commit too many elementary sins against straight moral thinking. . . . We are also [fourth] impeded in our moral thinking by our sloppy handling of moral vocabulary, which is nearly as large as the language itself and for the most part unspecialized. Most of the words we use in history and everyday speech are like mental depth charges. . . . To take one example, consider the use of "genocide" to describe the loss of Indian life during the colonial period. There are three major problems with employing such a highly charged word. The first that "genocide" is too loosely employed whenever an historical European kills or even contributes to the death of an Indian, in total disrespect of the accepted definition of the word. . . . The second reason to use "genocide" with extreme care is that it is historically inaccurate as a description of the vast majority of encounters between Europeans and Indians. . . . The final problem with "genocide" as a description of, or even an analogy to, the post-Columbian loss of Indian life is that the moral onus it tries to place on the European colonists, equating them with the Nazi S.S. is largely misdirected and inappropriate. (James Axtell 260-63)

119) Scott seems to have remade Columbus, if not in his own image, at least in an image that projects Scott's notion of the ideal man. At a time when Columbus's achievement has fallen under attack from leftist revisionist historians, Scott presents a politically correct representation of the explorer. (Richard Schwartz 108)

120) The colonizing powers recognized almost from the beginning that African slaves were the only possible remedy for the labor shortages that plagued their New World dominions; slaves mined the precious metals and harvested the sugar, indigo and tobacco that made colonization worthwhile. (Tom Morganthau 67)

121) Clearly our textbooks are not about teaching history. Their enterprise is Building Character. They therefore treat Columbus as an origin myth: He was good and so are we. (James Loewen 69)

122) As in any military conquest, women came in for especially brutal treatment. One Italian nobleman named Cuneo . . . . wrote: "I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral [Columbus] gave to me and with whom . . . I conceived desire to take pleasure. I wanted to put my desire into execution but she did not want it and treated me with her finger nails in such a manner that I wished I had never begun. But seeing that, I took a rope and thrashed her well . . . . Finally we came to an agreement." (Howard Zinn 102)

123) I found very little in this film that I would call "commitment to honestly portraying" the history of 1492. Nothing in this film serves to broaden our limited (some might say false) image of Columbus, and even the character's flaws enforce the idea of Columbus as the great discoverer of America. (Eddie Strumfels, Lehigh University)

124) To make a better myth, American culture has perpetuated the idea that Columbus was boldly forging ahead while everyone else, even his own crew, imagined the world was flat. . . . To make a better myth, the textbook authors want the voyage to seem harder than it was, so they invent bad weather. . . .To make a better myth, the textbooks describe Columbus's ships as tiny and inefficient. . . . To make a better myth [textbooks] exaggerate the crew's complaints into a near-mutiny. . . . [our textbooks] tell us that Columbus's first act after going ashore was [thanking God]. (James Loewen 56)

125) Gold is most excellent. Gold constitutes treasure, and anyone who has it can do whatever he likes in the world. With it he can succeed in bringing souls to Paradise. . . . Solomon was brought 666 talents of gold from a single expedition. . . . Josephus believes that this gold came from Aurea. If this is so, the goldfields of Aurea are in my opinion the same as these of Veragua. . . . Solomon bought all this gold, precious stones and silver, but your Majesties may send orders for them to be collected at your pleasure. David, in his will, left 3,000 talents of gold from the Indies to Solomon t help in the building of the Temple, and according to Josephus it came from these same lands. Jerusalem and Mount Sion shall be rebuilt by Christian hands. (Christopher Columbus, Fourth Voyage 300)

126) American history books present Columbus pretty much without precedent, and they portray him as America's first great hero. In so canonizing him, they reflect our national culture. . . . Columbus is one of only two people the United State honors by name in a national holiday. The one date that every schoolchild remembers is 1492 . . . . But they leave out virtually everything that is important to know about Columbus and the European exploration of the Americas. Meanwhile, they make up all kinds of details to tell a better story and to humanize Columbus so that readers will identify with him. (James Loewen 38)

127) Sometimes I forget about Columbus -- I don't really celebrate his holiday, I never cared for him in history class, and I was always dubious to say the least about his reputation in America. Films such as 1492 serve as valuable gauges for where we as a society are still stuck in thinking about certain historical figures or events. By now we are all familiar with the fuller story of Columbus and his responsibility in the violent colonization of America, but this was not always the case (and I suppose it's hardly the case nation-wide too). To see a film so blatantly disregard history, and then pat itself on the back for giving Columbus "flaws" is very telling insofar as how we still think of this man. By now we must all begrudgingly admit that Columbus did some rather nasty things in the New World, but none of us are too excited to do so. We're still dragging our feet into a wider knowledge of the man and the era, and a film such as 1492 tells us how much further we need to go. We're willing to acknowledge our violent past, at least a little bit, but we're still very reticent to demolish all our myths. Perhaps we don't want to admit just how bloody our roots are, and if they must be so then let's at least save our heroes, our legends. We still have a long way to go before we accept a larger, truer history of Columbus's voyages, and 1492 serves as a remainder of the work we still need to do. (Eddie Strumfels, Lehigh University)

128) I found myself rolling my eyes at some parts [of 1492] while the music swelled up and the beautiful ships began sailing off to their destiny. It is possible that I've seen Pirates of the Carribean too many times to be impressed with the "sea voyage" dramas, but there were moments in in the film I had a rather difficult time taking seriously. The struggle to follow one's dreams despite constant resistance, the tension with Native peoples -- it all seemed very cliche to me. That being said, the only thing that could have really saved the film for me would be its historical accuracy and, if the critics are to be believed, even that aspect was lacking. (Tatum Lawrence, Lehigh University)

129) It should be recalled that at the time -- a month after reaching San Salvador -- [Columbus] had found nothing of what he expected. This did not concern him, however, because once he had decided to equate what he discovered with what he expected to discover, the fulfillment of his desire was only a matter of time, hence the conviction expressed in his account that what he is seeking will "no doubt be found." (Beatriz Bodmer 10)

130) I swear on oath that there are plenty who have come to the Indies who were not deserving of baptism in the eyes of God and the world, and now they are returning home with the commendador Bobadilla's agreement. (Christopher Columbus, Third Voyage, Letter to Juana 271)