In previous posts, I told (burdened) you (with some admittedly poorly written diatribes) (anyone willing to be my editor?) some rather remarkable, though little known, and even less mentioned curiosities which so miraculously, and unexpectedly, played key roles in the founding and sustaining of this nation that (imho) one can only conclude the intervention of the divine on our behalf.|
We covered the bizarre confluence of events which would pave the way for the Brownists' arrival in the new world (and, by the way, also set the stage for independence from England by placing these Puritans in their own colony rather than attaching them to the English colony of Virginia, which was their original destination, where the ultimate split from the crown may well have never happened) by placing an English-speaking native right where an unexpected beer shortage, coupled with, and caused by, a greater than originally planned complement of passengers, would force the Pilgrims to end their journey.
Then I went into laborious detail about how the pride (and sometimes insanity) of British nobility and royalty robbed them of the opportunity to capitalize on a blessing (and revelation) from heaven, offered first to them, perhaps only to prove their unworthiness of it, keeping them from making that history-making advance in maritime navigation, until it was much too late to prevent our independence.
A lot of reading, eh?
You didn't think I was done, did you?
Not by far.
This isn't so much about yet another curiosity/miracle resulting in our presence here today as it is apologia for the man most credit, if grudgingly, with drawing the attention of the old world to the new. But this is necessary, not only because it is so richly deserved, but because it also uncovers the truth about the man, and what motivated him, as well as the history and parallel events, all of which, taken together, certainly are very curious, and very nearly miraculous.
Columbus Day is a holiday contrived almost entirely by the Knights of Columbus (one of those private fraternities that we used to have in this country) (to collectively bargain for such things a health care) (until the doctors rallied, and conned the government into forcing those fraternities out of the health-care business) (the same way, and for the same reasons you aren't allowed to braid hair, rent or even lend your car, or even set up a lemonade stand) in order to promote among their fellow Americans the idea of Catholic exceptionalism as being synonymous with American exceptionalism. (Which may, in turn, have been a reaction to what they saw as a threat by an utterly decadent Jewish president, FDR.) (But, I digress.)
(And, if you're curious about all those () above, it's because this topic leads to a uniquely target-rich environment. There's just so much more history behind almost everything I say here, and even more that I could say about that history, that I have to at least hint at it. Right?)
Among the hoopla surrounding this day, though, are also the many exposés of Columbus which have become so fashionable of late. And they are generally correct, but often irreconcilably, even unforgivably myopic. One must remember when exploring the history of a subject to explore not only its roots, but its roots' roots, too, in order to be able to pass a more fair and balanced judgment on it. And just because someone claims to have used original sources (instead of someone else's opinions of those sources) (aka History Books) doesn't mean that they've taken everything into account either. They're just writing their opinion, too. (aka, yet another History Book)
This is definitely worth your time.
Knowing Better - In Defense of Columbus: An Exaggerated Evil
(Notice the mention of the possibility that the native-annihilating diseases were actually introduced by China via the west coast.)
And here's mine.
Columbus didn't just pop up out of nowhere, and start butchering Indians. Whatever he may have done to native Americans (who weren't really) (and who had plenty of their own history to be reconciled), he had history, too. And it wasn't all that happy. For example, he was not rich. He was, in fact, as a member of a marginalized caste, on the verge of losing even what little he had, including his own life.
You see, in 1492, the Spanish crown (also with LOTS of history) had only just finally driven most of the invading Moors (GOBS of history!) (and the true origins of black slavery in the west) out of Spain after their nearly EIGHT HUNDRED YEAR occupation of most of it (or Andalusia as they called it). That purge pretty much left only the accompanying Jews to be dealt with. Mind you, this wasn't all Jews or even all Moors, but primarily those who still insisted on being identified as such, especially when the Spaniards weren't looking (which Spain took as a very sneaky and traitorous thing to do), switching flags to suit which ever army was marching by at the time.
Moors (and Jews) who'd lived in Spain for centuries, on the other hand, naturally saw themselves as fixtures, entitled by tradition to a piece of the rock (of Gibraltar), so much so that they would forego flag-waving, and go underground instead, even going so far as to rewrite their genealogy in order to avoid detection. Most of us can't trace our residency on this continent back as far as most Arabs and Jews in Spain could have at the time, so imagine how they felt about their sudden change of status to illegal immigrant. In fact, much of what we think of as Spanish actually hails from Africa, Arabia, and points east. The classic Hacienda, for example, is almost purely Arab, by way of North Africa. Even the Spanish language was forever altered by Arabic. The Spanish masculine article, el, for instance, descends directly from the Arabic.
(It must also be mentioned here that Arabs were far from the only influence on Spanish history and culture. Both Flamenco dancing, as well as their fondness for spicy cuisine, are said by some to come from India. And bull fighting hails from Mediterranean islands, and certainly predates the Visigoths, and possibly even the Basques.)
On the other hand, the original (or rather just earlier), Visigoth Spaniards had a case to be made, too, and it included neither Arabs nor Muslims. Thus, the Spanish variant of the Inquisition was repurposed in order to root this fifth column out.
Now, as yet another aside, the Visigoth Spaniards were not native to Spain either, but they either forgot, or never even knew this little fact. Most scholars agree that the Basques were in Spain LONG before the Visigoths, but, lately, a lot of evidence (which I'd love to detail here, but is just way too much for this article) (but which you can pretty easily find yourselves) has come to light suggesting that the Sephardic Jews were not only in Spain before the other Jews got schlepped along with the Moors, but even before the Basques, too. But that opens up all kinds of cans of worms for those same scholars, AND the Basques, too, who are, by the way, none too happy about any of this, so now everyone is baffled by these discoveries, and you can bet that any further discoveries will NOT be covered in the New York Times, so we'll just leave it at that.
Anyway, the Spanish variant of the Inquisition, while all very unpleasant business, was not quite what others have made it out to be. And, as with all such unpleasantries, there was also a lot of collateral damage, and a lot of (relatively) innocent victims.
Enter, Christoforo Columbo, aka Christopher Columbus, with a curiously un-Italian name (and, in fact, un-Spanish, too), a (it now appears) (crypto-)Jew (who often, and revealingly, dated his own writings to the second house) (of Ezra and Nehemiah) (and made no bones about wanting to rebuild the temple) with a plan to keep himself and his family not only in Spain, but in style, so that they could never be threatened with expulsion again.
And it was a pretty brilliant plan, too.
In fact, Columbus was not even Italian (as he claimed to be) at all, but actually Spanish (or at least as Spanish as everyone else around him) (by virtue of his family's aforementioned lengthy occupation of the place) (though he may have actually had some Visigoth blood in him, too, and for the same reason), and only pretended to be Italian in order to mask not only his questionable genealogy, but also his somewhat different accent. (Italian sounds more like European Spanish than anything else) (but different) (Even his true name can't be precisely nailed down, as that article shows, let alone his true genealogy.) And, to achieve permanent residency status, he would need to gain land and title, which he very evidently was after, as records show. And the only way to do that, in those days of the Reconquista, was to win the favor of the Visigoth (blond-haired, blue-eyed German) queen (and somewhat swarthier king). And THEY had already made it abundantly clear that expanding their empire for them (primarily by routing foreigners) (aka Arabs and Jews) was THE way to win such favor.
Now, I know I'm speaking a lot about Jews and Muslims, almost as if Christians, and more particularly, Catholics, played a minor role in all of this. That's just not true. Columbus professed Christian, even Catholic faith. But, of course, as I've already indicated, you had to, or else. Still, he was even married (another curious story for another day) in a very Catholic ceremony to a relatively poor (for nobility) woman of minor Portugese (aka Arab) nobility, Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, who practically lived the life of a nun in a Catholic monastery. But, lest you think I'm merely speculating about the Arab admixture in her line, and in those around her, just look up the portraits of her relatives, such as John, Constable of Portugal, Henry the Navigator, not to mention her son with Christopher, Diego Columbus.
These were clearly no Visigoths.
And then there's this, from Columbus, Don Quixote of the Seas, by Jacob Wasserman (and translated into English from the German by Eric Sutton and published in Boston), quoting Columbus directly:
"From my first youth onward, I was a seaman, and have so continued until this day. Wherever ship has been, I have been. I have spoken and treated with learned men, priests and laymen, Latin and Greeks, Jews and Moors, and with many men of other faiths. The Lord was well disposed to my desire, and he bestowed upon me courage and understanding; knowledge of seafaring he gave me in abundance; of astrology as much as was needed, and of geometry and astronomy likewise. Further, he gave me joy and cunning in drawing maps and thereon cities, mountains, rivers, islands and the harbors, each one in its place. I have seen and truly I have studied all books, cosmographies, histories, chronicles and philosophies, and other arts, for which our Lord with provident hand unlocked my mind, sent me upon the seas, and gave me fire for the deed. Those who heard of my emprise called it foolish, mocked me, and laughed. But who can doubt but that the HOLY GHOST INSPIRED ME?"
Ok. So, as I said, Jews and Moors were clearly a prominents presence, so it's not surprising that Columbus mentions them. But what are these other faiths he speaks of? And why is there no mention of Catholicism, Rome, or the Pope? To me, this seems remarkable for such a Catholic man. Could it be that Columbus associated more with Jews and Moors than Christians? And could that be because he was one of them?
His second, non-marriage was even more remarkable than his first. It was to Beatriz Enríquez de Arana. Experts are divided over why he never married her, especially as they were practically inseparable later in his life, but I think the answer is pretty easy to see. Her father (or step-father) (It's not clear) was Pedro de Torquemada, father of Tomás de Torquemada, the first Grand Inquisitor of The Spanish Inquisition. Can you just imagine the wedding?
Curiously, Torquemada was himself of converso descent. There's a lesson in there somewhere.
Well, Columbus, or whatever his name really was, was NOT about to engage in any ethnic or ideological purges. It would have meant exposing himself, and probably death for him and his family. But Spain had other problems almost equally compelling, and equally open to solutions by enterprising fellows like Columbus. And, among these was one which Columbus could use as bait to get the royals to listen to his plan.
Since the days of the plagues (which weren't even over yet by Columbus' time), it had been noticed that the better-fed were more likely to survive. Unfortunately, the Moorish turnips (carrots) (I kid you NOT!) were no more tempting to pallets in those days than they are now. Yes, you ate them, but more out of desperation (and starvation) than anything else. (And the environmentalist and animal rights activists of the time [the nobility] weren't about to let the nutritionally-challenged peasants eat any of their animals frolicking about in the forests) (those were for the royals to go on hunting trips) (so they could assassinate the prince and heir to the throne without too much suspicion) (and I've got an entire article about how this led to the current German postal system's colors and symbol) (for some other time) But, add some butter, salt, and rosemary to those carrots and beets, et voila! French cuisine (and the fork) was born. But, this fancy new vegetable coating required some pretty exotic spices, and those often came from far away places like Madagascar, India, and Ceylon. And Venice (even more history!) had long since inserted itself as the middle-men-to-be-reckoned-with (Remember what I said about the Phoenicians being the middle-men who would NOT be eliminated?) in obtaining spices (and making for some captivating Shakespearian drama).
And it wasn't just the Venicians either; those pesky Moors were at it again, too, this time launching what would soon become the Ottoman Empire.
SOOOoooooo much history!
Venice built an army and a navy to spread out over land and sea to intercept all spice shipments. Now, as today, this was all done under the color of law, and they did at least offer to pay a relatively fair price for your wares, but you were absolutely NOT going around them, directly to the end-users, in order to get an even better price. This all, of course, had to be delicately balanced against the economics of war, too. For example, if it became economically viable for, say France to go to war against Venice, then, not only might Venice lose that war, but the entire spice trade might become irreparably damaged as a result, so, to some extent, the domination that Venice exercised over the market, as long as it was tempered by the threat of a challenge, and that threat was appropriately countered by keeping prices reasonable, benefited everyone by maintaining the status quo. And maintaining the status quo, the social and economic stability of a civilization, in fact civilization itself, as we see all over the world, but nowhere more prominently and difinitively as in ancient Egypt, was practically the true god the ancients worshipped. (And, actually, we, and everyone else does, too, just without really knowing it.) (Remember the Garden of Eden? What was so desirable about it? How did we lose it? And what God reigned over it?)
And, if you think spices an unlikely thing to be fought over like, say, gold or land, just remember what they were using them on. When was the last time you ate a plain potato? (Potatoe?) (It's a joke.) Or a salad with no dressing?
Stop! Wait! Re: English cuisine. Lest you think spices trivial, you should know that I visited London, Brixton, Torquay, and the Isle of Wight, for a month back in the early 1980s, and lost fifteen pounds in the process. Even Burger King and KFC were inedible. Ever see corn-on-the-cob as soft as a baked potato? Or a drumstick as limp as asparagus? Even some flavorful things we think of as quintessentially English actually come from other lands. Ketchup, as it turns out, is really just an Indian tomato chutney, brought to England long after Columbus, during England's dalliance in India. I can only assume that, being not only even further down the spice supply-chain than Spain, but even across the channel, too, the British just got used to doing without those coveted flavor-enhancers, giving us their legendarily ... um ... bland ... staples.
By the way, this whole spices and navigation thing would later form the entire basis of Frank Herbert's fantastic Sci-fi series, Dune. (One of the very few works of fiction you will ever catch me recommending.)
So, anyway, there are probably a lot of other things you'd rather eat (like nuts and berries) instead of unseasoned (aka English) food, but we're talking the 15th century here, and people were often reduced to eating leaves (salad with no dressing), and they were always looking for every imaginable way to grind and mix and store grain, which is how we got pasta. (Even before Marco Polo thought he was introducing it from China.) They ate OLIVES for crying out loud! Have you ever eaten an olive off the tree? (DON'T!) Ever wonder what that little red thing in the olive is? (And they don't come from Spain!) Yeah. Most vegetation is pretty unpalatable, which is why we feed most of it to animals, and eat them instead, but even they often need a little help from Mrs. Dash.
I mean, the Brits even resorted to putting MINT on lamb!
So, anyway, Venice literally cornered the market on everything east and south of them, using their ill-gotten gains to employ an army and navy (sound familiar?) to enforce their monopoly, giving us such concepts as smuggling and black markets in the process. And Spain was at the end of the long, European supply-chain, paying the highest prices for what was, for all practical purposes, the oil of their day. (Although they got most of their real oil from olives, because said olives were otherwise pretty useless, and downright nasty to eat.) Distance put warfare out of the question, but perhaps there was an alternative?
The only way to beat the Phoenicians/Venetians was to ... you guessed it ... find a westward route to the Indies, aka India, China, and Madagascar. And, so, fortunately for Columbus, the Spanish crown bought into this plan. (The English crown ... did not.) (Columbus' brother tried, and failed. He may just not have been the salesman that Columbus was, or maybe it was, as I said, just the Brits resigning themselves to a joyless life.) And Columbus was soon on his way.
But, his fair promises notwithstanding, Columbus actually failed at to deliver. The lands and people he discovered had none of the anticipated spices to offer. So, Columbus, frantic to find something to appease the royalty of Spain with, in order to secure his own life, and the lives of his children, took what was available: A few interesting and possibly useful and/or nutritious plants (like pimento for their olives), slaves, and ...
The Spanish crown, now embroiled in a life-or-death struggle with England (which was close enough to actually get into a good, rousing war with), quickly became unhappy with Columbus' half-hearted efforts to wring the gold they were quickly getting even more addicted to than the spices they originally hoped for from the Indians, so they accused him basically of mismanagement, shunted him aside, and opened the new world to their own, domestic cheap labor (all the other soon-to-be-expelled, undesirable Moors) (as well as a lot of African slaves) to plunder, offering them literally nothing in the way of financing, support, or supplies, other than the official sanction of the crown of Spain (which would at least get them past the Portugese and Papal fleets and other forces), and a flag.
Yes. A flag.
More history! (some other time)
Those Africans got such a raw deal because of the way they entered Spain in the first place, coming to the rescue of the Arabs who'd grown WAY too cozy (in the view of the Nubian Moors) with the native Spaniards (who, as I said, weren't really natives either) (but no one knew), and in need of some shaking up, reawakening old rivalries, causing a lot of death and destruction, and pretty much triggering the whole Reconquista thing that otherwise might very well have never happened. (Remember that the next time you hear someone liken the Inquisition to the Nazis.) And the Spaniards were so put out by this, that their retaliation went all the way to sub-Saharan Africa, where they found the root of their trouble, and brought the war home to its source (sound familiar?), even finding, along the way, some non-Muslim, Nubian allies in their cause, who were all too happy to sell their enemies off to the Spanish in order to be rid of them, rather than actually just killing them, because slavery in far distant lands was, and still is, considered to be one of the few punishments worse than death. And, well, in Africa, it was. What they hadn't counted on was what those slaves would be exposed to in the north. But that, too, is another story for another day. (... the upshot of which is that France would later replace Spain in Africa almost as if Spain had never been there at all, much as we replaced Spain in the Americas almost as if they'd never even been here.) (Until recently.)
But now back to Columbus.
Although there were also plenty of the dregs of Visigoth society among them, the Conquistadores and their men were actually largely of Arabic, Basque, and Jewish descent, and largely from the Arabic areas of Spain, then known as Andalusia. Just look at their pictures (where unembellished pictures are available) (that famous picture of Columbus, for example, with blond hair and blue eyes, is NOT Columbus) (and now you know why). See all those prominent noses? See all those high cheekbones? See all that dark hair? Notice the olive complexion? Yeah. No. These aren't Visigoths. These are Arabs trying to pass as Spaniards in order to avoid either deportation or execution. In fact, it's been noted that Columbus' crews were almost exclusively Jewish, and that they departed Spain THE VERY DAY THE EDICT WENT INTO EFFECT.
Persona non grata indeed!
But the still hanging-on Arabs were paying close attention to how well how Columbus fared, particularly noting that he almost pulled it off. And, convinced they could succeed where he failed, they resolved to follow the same plan, but with more zeal.
And they unleashed such hell on the natives that Columbus looked like Santa Clause.
Not much has really changed with those guys, eh? Ever heard of the Muslim rampage throughout India? Know why Sikhs always carry a knife? Know what it's called? Yeah. Right. Now, do you know what it's REALLY called? What it's really for? Where it came from?
Ironically, many of the Conquistadores simply abandoned Spain as soon as they got out of its reach, one commander even burning his ships so that no one could ever return to Spain again. And those who actually did deliver on the promise to send gold home (probably to ransom families they'd left behind), very often failed to make it the last mile. One ship-load of gold even sank right before the very eyes of the very anxious king of Spain as he stood wringing his wretched, gold-grubbing, Indian-slaughtering (by proxy) hands, watching the ships arrive. A storm suddenly sprang up out of nowhere and sank the entire fleet within sight of the harbor, including his gold-laden flag-ship. His hopes to finance his war with England (and France) went down with those ships.
And so did Spain.
Ever heard of sunken English gold? French gold? No! It's always sunken Spanish gold. Clearly some power was ensuring Spain paid for their sins by hiding the treasures where no one would get them again. (And notice what an interesting, and almost entirely separate role Spain has played in European history from those days right up to the present.)
In the mean-time, the king and queen, furious at Columbus' supposed failures, completely stripped him of all the lands and titles they had originally rewarded him with. His son, Ferdinand, later sued the court (yeah, you could do that back then), and eventually won all of it back again. In fact, so completely had the Spanish crown's fit of rage erased Columbus from history, that it is only because of his son that we know anything about the man at all, further underscoring Columbus' original lot in life, and future outlook.
So, the Knights of Columbus were completely wrong in viewing Columbus as a Catholic. And critics are wrong in blaming all the violence against the natives on Columbus. Columbus was a man who, like his ships, was only a tiny vessel, tempest-tossed by, and at the mercy of a much, much larger sea.
Thy sea, O God, so great
Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
It cannot be that any happy fate
Will me befall
Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me
Through the consuming vastness of the sea.
Thy winds, O God, so strong,
So slight my sail.
How could I curb and bit them on the long
And saltry trail,
Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath
Of all the tempests that beset my path?
Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.
Winfred Ernest Garrison
Columbus was a Jew, caught, as Jews so often are, between a rock and a hard place, faced, on the one side with an entrenched power structure determined to obliterate him, his family, and his kind, and, on the other, with a people who were, from his perspective, entirely unworthy of the ease and riches they enjoyed, utterly unsympathetic to his own plight. Not to mention busy killing one another anyway.
As an aside, lest you suspect my claim of enmity from the Visigoth crown toward the not entirely legitimate-sounding Columbus, and his mostly, and verifiably Jewish crew, consider this: Queen Isabella herself insisted the admiral's second voyage (to rescue those men he left behind) (as well as to get more gold) carry with it ... pigs. Can you think of a better antagonism of Jews? Can you think of a better test of loyalty? And that, after all, as I claim above, is what the Spanish Inquisition was really all about.
Remember that BLT terrorist test?
Extra History - Hogs in History: Creator and Destroyer
Moreover, as this video barely mentions in passing, later Spanish explorers found north America already infested with feral swine. Dirty, disease-ridden, feral swine. Where did they come from? More importantly, could they have been the real disease vector affecting the natives?
By the way, while northern Europeans are, or were, almost certainly from the Tribe of Dan, and the Danites were pretty adamant about having no swine anywhere in their lands, Germany somehow became very porcine oriented. The ubiquitous piggy-bank has a purely German heritage. I can tell you from my own time there that pork is practically a staple throughout all Germanic areas. I used to treat myself to a monthly Holzfellersteak (lumberjack steak) at Wienerwald (IHOP in this country), which was an inch-thick pork steak. Pigs are even a symbol of prosperity and good fortune in Germany. It's still common today to wish someone schwein (swine) instead of wishing them luck. So it makes perfect sense that the Visigoths in the north of Spain would carry on that tradition, even finding their pigs to provide an excellent religious litmus-test for the Jews and Muslims among them. Or, at least, that was the theory anyway. Descendants of Moors, determined to part with their pasts, happily accepted pigs into their lives. But that ultimately served the Visigoths' purpose, too.
Oh, yeah, and then there was the little matter of the 30-40 men he was forced by the loss of his flagship (never heard about that little fiasco, did you?) to leave behind among the natives who had supposedly been so friendly with them. When Columbus returned, as promised, about six months later, there was no trace of his men, or the fort they were supposed to build for their shelter. (Men? What men? We thought they went with you!) (Burp!) That just didn't sit so well with Columbus for some reason.
(See also: The Sun - MAN-EATERS Christopher Columbus met 'marauding cannibals' when he invaded the Caribbean 500 years ago, scientists show)
So, ultimately, it's all the Arabs' fault (for having invaded Spain in the first place) (and then the Americas), and, to some extent, the greedy, Jew-hating Germans (yes, my very own people) (I'm an equal opportunity critic) (and the Visigoths were Germans), who went on to set the stage for a repeat performance 400 years later.
By the way, the Arabs are all too aware of all of this history, which is what they're really talking about when they refer to (what we see as a patently laughable notion of) Arab/Muslim contributions to American history, and why they're now so busy trying to recruit among their long-lost relatives south of our border.
But, remember what I was saying about how God brought all this about through affliction, and blessings that appeared to us at the time to be curses? The (forced) diaspora. The plagues. The Arab invasion. The economic oppression of Venice. The Spanish reaction. The English oppression. All these problems, all these curses, all these led to the founding of the greatest opportunity mankind has seen since the days of Enoch, and to a relatively safe space for the ancient church to be re-established.
And the church itself faced many of those same sorts of challenges. And the church is about to go through even more adversity, and on a scale that will make those we suffered in the nineteenth century look like a fraternity hazing.
But take heart.
Like the persecution that led to all we have now, the next round of persecution will lead to Zion itself.
And the Millennial reign of Christ himself.
Never forget, even in the worst of times, that this is a divine land. Prophecy is on our side. And you couldn't have been born at a better time, or in a better place.
Cherish your heritage AND your calling.
See also: The Wife of Columbus by Nicolau Florentino and Regina Maney
P.S. I'm far from the only one to find the entire Columbus story to be suspicious:
Charles Kos - Did 'Christopher Columbus' reach America in Roman times?