The Authentic Christopher Columbus
Some Sections Written and Others Compiled by Pauly Fongemie
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS AND HIS MISSION
THE DEATH OF COLUMBUS
ADDENDUM: THE REAL FIRST THANKSGIVING
VIEW IMAGES OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
October 12 marks the 515th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World on the same day in 1492, over a century before the Protestant Puritans. In fact many of the oldest cities, including the oldest city, and mapped rivers of America are named after Saints or given their names by both Spanish and French Catholic missionaries. A few examples: St. Augustine, Florida mentioned above; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, and Santa Rosa, California. America was intended to be a Catholic country but the Protestants who came after and dominated politically the English colonies, as opposed to the rest of the territories, wanted a Protestant country along the lines of the "Enlightenment", free of the influence of the Catholic Church and the Papacy and monarchy. They were willing to engage in violence to do so, to instigate and provoke the English infantry in order to have a pretext. Sure, they resisted the unjust taxes, but they had other ideas beyond mere tax policy, and to bring the nation they wanted into existence they used unjust means, which not only included the looting and burning of the homes of the innocent, but rousing the populace to armed insurrection by using the Pope as a rallying cry. These marches and demonstrations were known as "Pope's Day" when his image was burned in effigy. The history book, PATRIOTS, by the non-Catholic, but honest historian A.J. Langguth, published by Simon and Schuster, 1988, provides the sordid details. You are referred to pages 20-21, 56, 75-76, and 94 for starters. And this was over two hundred years ago, before the age of PC and irrational hysteria. Imagine! Of course they did not have the ACLU back then, so they had to resort to the old tried and true, ridicule at its worst.
For some time now there has been a lot of mischief afoot in which the reputation of Christopher Columbus has been unduly sullied. It is only a matter of time before the infamous, anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, pro-pagan, pro-Muslim ACLU, the SS of the intolerant liberal state, will succeed in having the holiday in remembrance of Columbus changed to something PC, false, demeaning and utterly unjust. Much of the polity is ignorant, thanks to the PC-"sanitized" government schools and is easily swayed when not outright flummoxed before the venom-tipped tongues of those who hate Jesus Christ and hide under the mantle of patriotism and "rights", surely the last refuge of those who betray truth itself.
This brief article is in defense of Columbus, the Catholic Church's missionaries who came because of his discovery, and as a Declaration of Dependence, on God, on reason, on truth, in honor of the truth and the debt we owe Columbus. An addendum includes the truth of the first Thanksgiving.
Who was Christopher Columbus, and why did he sail under the flag of Spain, rather than Italy? Didn't he and the missionaries force the conversion of the Amerinds or Native Americans, morally reprehensible for bringing disease that wiped out whole tribes, and did not he go back to Europe rich from his plunder? Besides, the Italian navigator, Amerigo, from which America gets its name reached America before Columbus, so Columbus ought not be honored in the first place as the discoverer of America. This is what is being broadcast in high and low places.
The matter of the oppression of the native peoples, as slaves, is a fact that we will address. But as it really was, not as it has been built up into, not that any incidence is a negligible matter.
Christopher Columbus and His Dream
A man's religious beliefs sets the seal of his heart, forms his character, and directs his every action. In short, a man's religion and the devotion it inspires is the history of his story and the story behind the story of history.
"Christopher Columbus had a mystic belief that God intended him to sail the Atlantic Ocean in order to spread Christianity. He said his prayers several times daily. Columbus wrote what he called a Book of Prophecies, which is a compilation of passages Columbus selected from the Bible which he believed were pertinent to his mission of discovery. ... Columbus's own writings prove that he believed that God revealed His plan for the world in the Bible, the infallible Word of God. Columbus believed that he was obeying the mission God staked out for his life when he set sail west across the Atlantic Ocean." 
The year was 1451 and a son had just been born to the Colombos of Genoa, Italy. The boy, who was the eldest of five children, was Baptized with the name of Christobal [Christopher]. Although his father was a successful weaver---the internet fabric framing the table is a scan of a genuine linen weave from Genoa---Christopher set to sea at the age of 22, taking part in several expeditions, some to the East Indies. His education had not been thorough and he was almost illiterate going by today's standards for most of his youth; however, he was bright and taught himself to read and write, especially Spanish, which he found easier than the dialect of Genoa, along with Latin, because maps and geography were in Latin. Columbus is the Latin form of Colombo. From youth Christopher helped his father at the loom while dreaming of a life at sail. It is thought that because Genoa is a port city that the young Columbus would have had some experience on the ships in the harbor.
In 1476, he almost lost his life on a convoy, from Genoa to England on the ship, Bechalla. The ship was attacked off the coast of Portugal and Columbus was wounded; the ship was lost. As it sank, he took hold of a long oar and used it as a raft to reach shore. He ended up Ireland after some land travel and back to Portugal, in Lisbon, the following year. His brother Bartholomew had opened a shop that sold charts and nautical instruments there. By then the Portuguese had explored the Azores, colonized the Madeiras and had reached almost to the African equator. The Portuguese were expert seamen and had invented a special type of sailing vessel, called the caravel, designed to gain ground against the wind rather than merely moving with it. These visionary explorers and seamen knew of China and the Orient and hoped to sail there by going around Africa in order to avoid the costly caravans that made spices and other goods very expensive. Columbus thought that it was possible to go west, not east, to reach the same destination. 
It is a myth that in Columbus' day it was thought that the world was flat. Actually, long before 1492, experienced cartographers and sailors knew that it was anything but. The lie that people of the 15th century believed that the earth was flat was popularized by 19th century atheists in order to use science in their war against religion. [5b] What these men lacked was an accurate method of calculation and a shorter sea lane to the East. One of the these learned men was an associate of Columbus, a Florentine named Paolo Toscanelli, who believed that Japan was 3,000 nautical miles west of Lisbon. A nautical mile is based on the circumference of the equator and is equal to one minute of the arc of the circumference. Columbus' first plan was to sail to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa and then to Japan. He had mastered more than two languages, but he was not a mathematician and his calculations did not impress those who could back an expedition. Meanwhile he held the rank of captain and had married a Portuguese woman, Felipa de Perestrello. They lived in the Madeiras. She bore him their only son, Diego and died shortly after. It was now 1480.
Five years later Columbus went to Spain to offer his services to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. He took his young son with him. About five miles from Palos was a friary called La Rabída which had a school for young boys. Columbus left Diego there with the friars, one of whom was Father Juan Perez, who became a friend of the navigator and recommended him to the Queen. The King and Queen had were fully engaged staving off the advance of the war-mongering Moors, but Isabella liked the Italian and put him in the service of the court, even though she did not think his calculations for reaching Japan realistic. But by 1492, they had managed to evict the Moors from Granada, the last stronghold of the Islamic invaders, and could now turn their attention to exploration. Some of her advisors were against the employment of Captain Columbus for this endeavor. Her treasurer, Louis de Santangel was not among them and he told her to take him up on his offer. Eager, she offered to sell her jewels to finance the ships and supplies but Louis was able to retrieve the $14,000 needed from the coffers, a small price to pay for the new world.
Columbus made more than one voyage to the American continent. The first one had three wooden vessels, the Santa María, the Pinta, and Niña. The first was manned by a crew of 39 while the other two had 26 and 22 seamen. The only instrument for measuring the distance of the sun was a crude kind of quadrant that was only accurate if the sea was calm. They did have good compasses, however. The tiny fleet sailed from Palos [Cape de Palos today] on August 3, 1492, just before Columbus birthday, which is thought to have been between August 25 and the end of October.
The date "Columbus selected for departure reflected his profound Catholic faith and that of his crew. August 2, 1492 was the fiesta of Our Lady of Angels, patroness of the Franciscan monastery of La Rabída whose friars had supported Columbus and called for the realization of his dream from the beginning; and protector of the people of Palos, from which his ships would depart, when they were in danger at sea (as Pope Eugenius IV had proclaimed 55 years before). It was a day of thanksgiving for Our Lady's favors, and like all Spanish fiestas, a day of special celebration. Columbus scheduled his departure on the morrow of the fiesta, so that his men could join in thanksgiving and prayer with their families and relatives on the feast-day especially dear to them and to their people." The last land sighted was Ferro, in the Canary chain, September 9. From there Columbus, the "Admiral of the Ocean Sea" set the course due west. 
"Before Columbus' time all European voyages had followed coastlines, or crossed open seas to lands previously known or at least sighted by storm-driven ships. Only Columbus set off directly across a broad, unknown sea with no specific knowledge of how far it extended or what lay on the other side. ... But Columbus undertook his voyage with more evidence that he could complete it than his unfounded assumptions about the size of the world and the distance to Asia. For most of his professional life as a seaman he had ranged the eastern Atlantic, from West Africa to Iceland, in particular spending much time on Portugal's Atlantic islands. He had picked up reliable reports of strange vegetation and carved, hand-worked objects drifting in from the west, even of two bodies of men who were neither whites nor blacks. He had studied the wind patterns of the Atlantic, noting that from the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of North Africa the winds (now called trades) mostly blow from east to west, while further north, on the coast of Portugal and northern Spain and France, the winds (now called prevailing westerlies) blow just as steadily from west to east. Therefore he could sail west with the trades and home with the westerlies, with the winds fair both ways. No other man of his time had thought of that.
"The vegetation and the carved objects and the bodies could not have floated all the way from Asia to Europe if they were as far apart as the experts claimed who believed the world to be larger than Columbus had calculated. He was sure---and he was right---that there was land to the west within reach of the sailing ships fifteenth-century Europe had. He was convinced that God had chosen him to reach that land, hidden from the Western world for ages, which the Roman philosopher Seneca had once prophesied would be revealed. His discovery would bring the Catholic Faith, to which he was devoted, to the people who lived in that land.
"It is for the boldness of his conception and his
magnificent courage in laying his life on the line to carry it out that
Christopher Columbus is most rightly honored. It was these qualities
that Queen Isabella of Spain recognized in him, that caused her to
override the cautious advice of counselors doubtful that such an
unprecedented enterprise could succeed. Isabella knew nothing of
navigation and little of world geography, but she was a superb judge of
men and women. It was to Columbus the man and to Columbus the devoted
Catholic that she gave her support. She believed in him---believed that
he could achieve the goal to which he was so passionately committed." 
Most of that first voyage was relatively calm and easy as
the winds were favorable. The
only problem was from some of the crew who grew afraid the further and
further they sailed without sighting land. They had been before the
mast for three weeks, the longest known time that anyone had ever
sailed in the same direction out of sight from land and Columbus
struggled to overcome their trepidation. He told the men that he "had
sailed to go to the Indies and would continue until he found them, with
the Lord's help." "Adelante! Adelante!" [Sail on! Sail on!]
was now October 10 and they agreed to continue for three more days,
then return if land was not found. Just two days later, the island that
Columbus named after our Savior, San Salvador, was sighted at two in
the morning. Before noon Columbus had disembarked at Fernandez Bay and
claimed the land for Spain. He still thought he was near the East
Indies or Japan. There were men who came to greet them in all felicity,
the Arawak, whom he named Indians because of his mistaken notion. And
this is how the Amerinds became to be known as Indians and the islands
he found, the West Indies. the little fleet remained there for until
late in the month when it entered Cuba on October 28. Thinking this was
China he and the men explored several of the harbors, from Punta Brava
to Cape Maisi; Captain Columbus sent men up to Holguín
because he though that this must be Peking. he had a letter in his
possession from the King and Queen for the Emperor. Instead the men
found the natives smoking cigars---the first an European had seen of
tobacco. From Cape Maisi the ships crossed the Windward Passage, a
strait in the Caribbean Sea, between the islands of Cuba and
He named the new island Hispaniola, "little Spain" because the climate
and trees reminded him of Spain. 
"Columbus was entranced by the beauty and promise of the lands he had found, but greatly disappointed to find no gold anywhere but on Hispaniola, and only a little there. It is easy for us, with universally accepted paper money and a computerized banking system, to mock or scorn the Spanish search for gold. But gold was then the essence of wealth, the only universally acceptable medium of exchange, both for governments and individuals, throughout Europe and the Middle East. To pay for Columbus' expeditions it was necessary to find gold, for it would be many years before a profitable transatlantic trade in any other commodity could be developed---even apart from his greater hopes for giving his adopted country of Spain a large return on the investment made in him and his project.
"Exploring these totally unknown coasts---it is worth
taking a moment to attempt seriously to imagine the risks of taking a
sailing ship along a coast where no large ship has ever gone before,
where there are no buoys, no lighthouses, and no charts---Columbus and
his men became so exhausted that on Christmas Eve of 1492, no one was
left awake on Santa Maria but one sleepy cabin boy. With him at
the wheel where he was never supposed to have been, the ship ran
aground, and could not be freed. Columbus had to abandon her, and leave
most of her crew behind in a fort made from her timbers." 
Queen Isabella was not as disappointed as one would think. She was delighted to hear about the new world he had found. Most thought that he would retire after his discovery. But God had another destiny in store for Columbus who wanted to bring the Catholic Faith to the Indies. This pleased Isabella who was known for her pious faith and zeal for the Church. So in 1493, he set sail once again but with a larger fleet. 
The cadre of seventeen ships carrying colonists, priests, officials, gentlemen of the court, and horses, left Cadiz on September 25, 1493 and reached the new world in just three weeks. His flagship was still named after Our Lady, this time bearing the title Mariagalante, the name he gave to an island in the West Indies.
Columbus established the first colony of Santo Domingo and became the governor of the island.
"When he had first arrived at Hispaniola he found that the men from wrecked Santa Maria whom he had left behind had broken discipline, attacked the Indians, and been massacred. Though later investigation established with reasonable clarity that the Spaniards were to blame, at the time---in view of the continuing difficulty of communication---no one could be sure, and many blamed the Indians. Columbus---by royal grant governor of all the lands he found---established a new and larger colony, and a fort in the gold-producing region of Hispaniola, selecting Pedro Margarit to command its garrison.
"Soon Columbus left for more exploration, without waiting
to see how his men would behave on the island or even making it clear
just how much authority his brother Bartholomew, who was put in command
of the colony, had over it and especially over Margarit and his
garrison of the distant fort in the gold-producing region. It was the
first example of the unfortunate but hardly surprising fact that this
great explorer much preferred being at sea to being ashore, that his
immense talents did not include a capability for administration.
Furthermore, he tended to be disliked by many Spanish because he was a
foreigner, an Italian.
"Unable to control the Spaniards on the island, Columbus blamed the Indians for his troubles and the very small production of gold. In January 1495 he seized over a thousand Indians to make them slaves. There can be no excuse for this, but it is very important to remember that it was contrary to Spanish law and vigorously countermanded by Queen Isabella as soon as she found out about it. She declared firmly that no one had authorized her Admiral to treat 'her subjects' in this manner, released the Indian captives who had been brought to Spain, and made clear her unalterable opposition to enslavement of the Indians. She then sent a former member of her household named Juan Aguado to investigate what Columbus was doing as governor of Hispaniola and report back to her.
"Before Aguado could reach Hispaniola, full-scale war
with its Indians had broken out because of Columbus' seizure of the
slaves. The Spaniards easily won all military engagements with the
Indians, demanded from them a tribute in gold too much for them to
collect, and ravaged their lands and pursued them into the mountains
when they did not collect it. Aguado's arrival forced Columbus to stop
all of this, and he returned to Spain in June 1496.
"However, by no means all or even most of the Indians lived and worked as encomenderos. Others worked in the mines, and although sometimes this was forced labor, a substantial number worked voluntarily there for pay. Others fled to the mountains where they long remained entirely free of the Spanish government. Many Indian women entered Spanish households, not only as servants and mistresses but as wives. The oft-denounced oppression existed, but so did good treatment and opportunity.
"Finally deciding that Columbus was simply not competent to govern a colony, Isabella relieved him of that duty and sent Francisco de Bobadilla to replace him. Bobadilla arrived in Hispaniola in August 1500, put Columbus under arrest, seized his papers and property, and sent him back to Spain in chains. When he arrived, Isabella had the chains removed at once; but she did not reinstate Columbus as governor, even when Bobadilla also began to abuse the Indians. A third governor, Nicholas de Ovando, was sent out in 1501 with orders to force Bobadilla to restore the property he had taken from Columbus."In 1502 Columbus sailed on his fourth and last voyage. After surviving a hurricane with all four of his ships that sunk every ship but one of the returning flotilla carrying Bobadilla and his ill-gotten gains, Columbus reached the Central American mainland at Honduras, where he landed and took formal possession of this previously unknown coast for Spain. Through September he beat southward along the coasts of what are now Nicaragua and Costa Rica, hoping to find a strait which would be a sea approach to civilized Asia. All during the fall and on into the winter he explored the coasts of Panama, where the American continent is in fact at its narrowest---though it does not appear Columbus knew that---in the hope of finding the desired strait.
"He carried on until Easter of 1503, when his ships were so riddled by holes made by the teredo or shipworm (previously unknown to European mariners) that he had to beach them on Jamaica. By the time he was finally rescued and returned to Spain, the great Queen Isabella was dying.
"Ten days after her death Columbus wrote to his son Diego:
"Columbus knew how much he owed Queen Isabella, and repaid her with these words of appreciation and devotion even as he knew that his own work was finished and his life nearly so. He died two years later, in near-poverty and already almost forgotten by the court.
"From this record it should be clear that, despite occasional lashing out at the Indians, Columbus was never their systematic oppressor, but simply unable to control the Spaniards on land who were supposed to be under his command. If he had only been willing to confine himself to what he did so superlatively well---sailing and exploring---few if any could have traduced his memory. But because he insisted on remaining governor of the lands he had discovered, his reputation was blackened by the atrocities that occurred during the period when he still had final responsibility for their governance. But it is Columbus the discoverer and explorer whom we truly celebrate and honor, not Columbus the civil governor. His personal influence on the ultimate fate of the Indians of the Caribbean was slight; in no significant way did he change what their history would have been without him, once the discovery was made.
"Within thirty to forty years the Indians of the Caribbean islands had disappeared as a distinct population, the greater part of them dying from diseases brought first by the white men, then by the black slaves they began to introduce [this had nothing to do with Columbus]. There were not nearly as many Caribbean natives as the Indians' champion Las Casas believed; modern researchers estimate a population of about 100,000 for Hispaniola when Columbus arrived, and substantially less than that for Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. The great population decline did not begin until 1508, after Columbus' death. Smallpox and malaria, the most deadly plagues in the history of Europe except for the Black Death, along with yellow fever from Africa, were the principal killers. In the state of medical knowledge of that time, there was no help for this mortality and no escape from it. The mingling of the peoples of the Old and New World, never before brought into contact with one another, carried this heavy and unavoidable price.
"Ultimately the American Indians as well as the Europeans
benefited from Columbus' great discovery. An interracial culture
developed in much of Latin America, notably in Mexico, Peru, and
Venezuela. Human sacrifice and cannibalism were ended, and the Indians
were almost all converted to Christianity. Large-scale evangelization
began with the arrival of a group of Franciscans in Hispaniola in 1500
and continued steadily from then on. Though many Indians were long held
in a state of virtual serfdom and some were forced contrary to law to
work against their will for long periods of time in gold and silver
mines, none were enslaved after the first colonial generation. Spanish
law never recognized Indian slavery. And, back in Spain, a prolonged
debate at the highest levels of Church and state finally convinced the
highest authorities of both---the bishops and the King---Emperor
Charles V---that the Indians had souls equal before God to the souls of
white men, and rights equal before the law to the rights of any
"Columbus was a flawed hero---as all men are flawed,
including heroes---and his flaws are of a kind particularly offensive
to today's culture. But he was nevertheless a hero, achieving in a
manner unequaled in the history of exploration and the sea, changing
history forever. For some strange reason heroism is almost anathema to
our age, at least to many of its most vocal spokesmen. But heroes and
the inspiration they give are essential to uplift men and women;
without them, faceless mediocrity will soon descend into apathy and
degradation. Heroes need not be perfect; indeed, given the fallen
nature of man, none can be perfect. It is right to criticize their
failings, but wrong to deny their greatness and the inspiration they
can give." 
Columbus died on May 20, 1506 in obscurity and near poverty in
Valladolid, Spain in a rooming house. Later his remains were moved to
the Dominican Republic. It is thought that arthritis was the main
contributor to his death. His family never received any monies still
owed to him by the Spanish Crown.
"Christopher Columbus is the discoverer of
America, and by that discovery ultimately responsible for America's
evangelization; and for this we should forever honor him." 
In 1539, Francisco Coronado led a large expedition that included five Franciscan missionaries from Mexico. He also brought settlers, native Mexican Catholics, horses, mules, sheep, cows, pigs, and goats. The expedition reached what is now Arizona and found Indian pueblos. After establishing a camp there, Coronado headed east to establish a base near what is now Albuquerque, New Mexico. When they crossed the river now known as the Rio Grande, they named it Rio de Nuestra Senora or the "River of Our Lady", the original name on the first maps of the region.
No "cities of gold" were found, but Coronado continued with exploration, sending missionaries each time, giving lie to the myth that his main concern was gold. Gold was needed to fund expeditions, it and was not sought wealth itself. Spreading the one true Faith among the Amerinds was of chief importance.
"In April of 1541, Coronado, with a group of soldiers and some missionaries, left Albuquerque, New Mexico, headed northeast, and crossed a section of what is now northwest Texas (the Panhandle). In encountering some of the local Indians, the missionaries found that the natives were immediately open to receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After a few weeks of instruction, members of the Jumano Indian tribe converted and received Baptism. The expedition then arrived in Palo Duro Canyon where, on May 29, Father Juan Padilla, O.F.M., offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (Father Padilla would eventually become the very first martyr of the Faith in America when he was killed in 1542, in what is now Kansas.) A Thanksgiving feast followed the Mass. It consisted of game that had earlier been caught. The feast was celebrated in thanksgiving to God for His many blessings and for the recent converts. This event is the first actual Thanksgiving Day celebrated in the future United States."It is only now that we can turn to the story of the Pilgrims and their Thanksgiving. After a long and harsh winter, the Pilgrims received help from the Wampanoag Indians in planting crops during the spring of 1621. They worked hard and in autumn had a very good harvest. In November of 1621 they invited the local Indians, who were still pagan and worshipped false gods, to feast with them and give thanks to God for the blessings of a successful harvest. The Catholic student of history should recognize that it is impossible to give thanks to the same God, let alone the true God, when those involved believe in different gods. But this apparently didn't bother anyone. The event was not celebrated yearly by the Pilgrims, as many think, nor by anyone in the original thirteen colonies for years. Though George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving while he was President, it was not celebrated as a yearly holiday feast until Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving Day as a holiday in November.
"So now we know that the Pilgrims did not celebrate the first Thanksgiving in America. The first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated back in 1598, in New Mexico, by Spanish-Catholic colonists and Indian converts to the Faith. They thanked the true God for bringing them safely through many troubles and dangers and for the fact that the seed of the Gospel of Christ was beginning to take root. Because of the often anti-Spanish and anti-Catholic prejudice of English-speaking Protestants, generations of Americans have never learned this fact of our history." [5c]
VIEW IMAGES OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS:
First De-embarkment 1
First De-embarkment 2
In the Convent of La Rábida
Black and White Portrait
Black and White Sketch
1. CHRIST AND THE AMERICAS, Anne. W. Carroll, Ph.D., TAN Books and Publishers, 1997;
2. CHRIST THE KING, LORD OF HISTORY, Anne. W. Carroll, Trinity Communications, 1986;
3. OUR PIONEERS AND PATRIOTS, Most Rev. Philip J. Furlong, TAN Books and Publishers, 1997.
4. HONORING CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, Warren. H. Carroll, Ph.D.;
5. THE MISSION AND FAITH OF CHISTOPHER COLUMBUS, Phyllis Schlafly, for Eagle Forum.
5b. THE MYTH ABOUT CHISTOPHER COLUMBUS, Phyllis Schlafly, for Eagle Forum.
5c. THE FIRST THANKSGIVING, Adam Miller
6. THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA, Field Enterprises, 1960, Vol. C