Christopher Columbus

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An artists rendering of the Santa Maria.
Admiral Christopher Columbus (1451 – 20 May 1506 Valladolid, Spain) (Kreyòl: Kristof Kolon; French: Christophe Colomb; Spanish: Cristóbal Colón ) led a fleet of three ships - the Niña, the Pinta, and the flagship the Santa Maria - from Spain and landed on December 5, 1492 on the island of Kiskeya (renamed Hispaniola by Columbus), in the north of what is now Haiti; in the Bay des Moustiques. The Santa Maria grounded on a reef on December 24, 1492 and sank on the 26th.

The Spaniards used the remains of the ship to build a fort: La Navidad close to what is now the Haitian town of Bord de Mer Limonade. Due to the limited capacity on the two remaining ships, about 40 men of the crew were left behind on Hispaniola, which Columbus departed on January 2, 1493. He returned to the island on his second voyage to the Caribbean Sea in 1493 and arrived on November 22.

In 1509 Christopher Columbus son, Diego Colón, became the Governor of Spanish colonized Hispaniola. Diego Colón succeeded Nicolás de Ovando.

Columbus the Vanguard of the Colonizers

Map of the vicinity of Christopher Columbus first settlement in the "New World".
Columbus voyages to the Antilles are widely regarded as the beginning of European colonization of the Americas as well as the soon to follow enslavement of Africans, starting with the Spanish administrator Nicolás de Ovando, who was responsible for many of the initial massacres of the natives.

Columbus landfall was also the precursor to the massive genocide of the native Taíno by the European settlers. This set in motion a culture of violence by the white European settlers, that was only broken some three hundred years later after the Haitian Revolution succeeded (in 1804) in overthrowing slavery in that nation and long before the slave trade in the Western Hemisphere would finally end.

A Native American view of Christopher Columbus

"Christopher Columbus is a symbol, not of a man, but of imperialism.
... Imperialism and colonialism are not something that happened decades
ago or generations ago, but they are still happening now with the exploitation
of people. ... The kind of thing that took place long ago in which people
were dispossessed from their land and forced out of subsistence economies
and into market economies -- those processes are still happening today."

John C. Mohawk, Ph.D, Seneca, 1992

[1992 marked the 500th anniversary of Columbus setting foot on Haitian soil.]

Christopher Columbus Statue in Port-au-Prince

In 1987, after the ouster of the Duvalier dictatorship, political activists toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus near the harbor of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. It has not been re-installed. (Chanel) This stands in stark contrast to the Dominican Republic on the other side of the island, were there are still many monuments to Columbus and his contemporaries.

Reference

  • Chanel, Ives-Marie (1991). Haiti, Group Promotes Quincentenary Amid General Indifference. Inter Press News Service - IPS.

Further Reading

  • Fagan, Brian. (1997). Clash of the Cultures. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press. ISBN 0761991468

External links