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Christopher Columbus and the enslavement of the Amerindians in the Caribbean.

As soon as the last Duvalier had fled Haiti, an angry crowd toppled the statue of Christopher Columbus in Portau-Prince and threw it into the sea. This Columbus, the object of their wrath, was not, clearly, the great explorer of Western myth. Hispaniola, the island of which Haiti is a part, was the first European colony in the New World, and therefore the first to suffer the ravages of colonialism. The crowd knew Columbus as the first of a long line of despots leading to Duvalier. He was, indeed, the father of modern colonialism and all that it meant in the New World--the expropriation of the natural resources for the benefit of capital accumulation in the metropolitan center; despotic governments run by foreigners; the decimation of the native population and its replacement by millions of slaves from Africa; the institution of slavery as an international system; and the establishment of Europe as the hegemonic power in the new order of international capital. Christopher Columbus is the first great symbol of modern capitalism.

In the words of Samir Amin, "The recognition that the essential elements of capitalism crystallized in Europe during the Renaissance suggests 1492--the beginning of the conquest of America--as the date of the simultaneous birth of both capitalism and the world capitalist system, the two phenomena being inseparable.''[1] The real meaning of Columbus can only be understood in the context of these great historical transformations. Much of the mystery, the fantasy even, surrounding the man and his discovery stem from the inability of the present order to make an explicit connection between what it is celebrating and the real event that occurred: the beginning of the first 500 years of world capitalist domination. The truth that lurks just behind the festival is the guilty conscience of what has been called the original sin of Europe. Put simply, the price of the massive wealth of the European center has for 500 years been the enormous underdevelopment of the periphery. It was that truth that drove the Haitians to topple Columbus' statue.

History must be revisited and rewritten if we, today, are to learn from what really happened and get a sense of direction for our future. And where better to start than with Christopher Columbus? First to be jettisoned must be all of the political fiction written about the age of exploration and the exaggerated image of Columbus the man, all products of Spanish and Italian chauvinism. Then we can begin to place him in the complex historical reality of the time. To do this I shall focus on how the development of the world capitalist economy was intertwined with the spread of the slave trade from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. In the center of the emerging web of slavery, we find the first European slave trader in the Americas, Christopher Columbus. He was in many ways a product of the Mediterranean-based trade, but more than that, he was the initiator of the slave trade in the Americas, personally supervising seven shipments of Amerindian slaves from New World to Old." This--along with his obsessive pursuit of gold--is the key to his great "Enterprise of the Indies."

The Origins of the Mediterranean Slave Trade

During the Middle Ages the slave trade had a continuous but uneven development. In France and England it hardly existed, but it flourished in the Italian cities and on the islands of the Mediterranean. The principal demand was for domestic servants and secondarily for a steady supply of labor for the other service sectors in the cities. Women were preferred over men, and until the fifteenth century they came mostly from Eastern Europe; there were Tartars, Greeks, Russians, Serbs, and Bulgarians, white and predominately Christian. Thus the difference of color and culture between master and slave was minimal. In the Iberian peninsula the slaves were predominantly darker Moslems taken during ethnic and religious conflicts in the region. But in all other respects the pattern was the same.

The medieval world, then, reached a truce of sorts with its conscience. Slavery was accepted as part of the social order while alongside it there were attempts to adapt to the contradictions that went along with it. The underpinnings of the slave trade were always mired in violence, whether overt or covert. But slavery itself was not always regarded as a social problem. The abuses and arbitrariness were different in different periods. The same can be said for the public reactions and suggested cures. As long as the actual practice of Mediterranean slavery was within the limits set by its traditional justifications, there was no significant opposition to the system itself. Notwithstanding the Laws of King Alfonso the Wise and his private appeals for the value of personal freedom or the well known "conscientious doubts" of Queen Isabella regarding her right to enslave the Native Americans, few people doubted that the institution itself was inevitable, natural, and desirable.

The situation was similar in the Moslem world. The Mediterranean was often an arena of violent encounters and competition, not only between Moslems and Christians but within each community. But religious conflict has been overemphasized as an historical explanation. Of equal prominence were the political and economic rivalries of the period, such as those dominated by the struggles and alliances between Genoa and Venice, Catalonia and the Moslems from Venice, those between the Turks and Genoa, and so on. It is these political and economic rivalries, rather than religious differences, that are most crucial to an understanding of Mediterranean slavery.[3]

Although the slave trade traversed all the commercial routes in the Mediterranean, it was not very efficient. It depended on improvised expeditions of pirates and smugglers and on local conflicts that either increased or decreased the supply of available slaves. The trade was important for medieval society in that it was a traditional and desirable activity, but it was not vital or indispensable for material or social development.

In the economic development of the medieval Mediterranean world the Italian towns and their efforts to control commerce played a central role. While Columbus' Genoese background has often been emphasized in the legend surrounding him since it seems to separate him from Spanish imperial designs, this background in fact makes his role as a slave trader more "understandable."

The first empire of Genoa and its commercial colonies dominated the eastern Mediterranean until the Turks expelled them from Byzantium. No less influential for centuries were the Venetians with their forts on the Adriatic and their formidable navy in the Mediterranean. Their privileged relationship with the Byzantine Empire allowed them to dominate vital trade routes. From the Turks the Genoese got slaves, many of them Christians, whom they later resold in their own country, where they were traded for arms, wheat, and spices. The relationship between Genoa and the Moorish Kingdom of Seville dates back to the eleventh century and its commercial relations with the Kingdom of Valencia to the thirteenth century. Mercantile ties have rarely been based on religious or ethnic loyalties. Besides being merchants, the Italians were money lenders, naval consultants, mercenaries, pirates, and explorers. In this context Christopher Columbus was just another name in a long historical process.

The Italians should also be remembered for the formative role that they played with respect to two other important activities in the Mediterranean, two distinct pursuits that later merged into one: sugar production and agricultural slavery. It was to be expected that the luxury items from the East that were used by the privileged of Europe would at some point also be produced in Europe. Such was the case with sugar, the silkworm, and the plant needed for its growth. Sugar was important in the manufacture of medicine and for the preservation of food. From the twelfth century on, sugar cane plantations were found in Palestine, the Arabs having introduced them to the Mediterranean; but the Italians gradually took over and extended them to their colonies in Cyprus, Crete, Sicily, North Africa, and the Spanish peninsula. Stuart Schwartz states that, "by the 15th century a flourishing industry provided enough surplus to permit Genoese merchants to carry on a brisk trade with Italy and northern Europe."4In the beginning the sugar plantations provided work for both wage laborers and some slaves, but soon the quest for profits gave way to plantations with great forces of slave labor.[5] The development of these estates led to a new form of slavery, which we know as plantation slavery. Sugar cultivation is labor intensive.

Many slaves with ample land and windmills were needed to process the cane. Such conditions existed in the Moslem world and in the Latin Orient. Before that sugar plantations existed in the Holy Land, near Tiro and Tripoli, where the Venetians had extensive possessions, and much later in the meridional of the island of Cyprus, in the rural areas of Lemura, Paphos, and Aschelia, in the diocese of Limassol, and also on the lands of the Catalonian family Ferrer and the Venetian family Cornaro near Piscopi. The introduction of the crop in Sicily, then in Calabria, and much later in Valencia, where a large German company from Ravensburg had vast possessions and sugar refineries near Gandia, and later in Algarve in the south of Portugal created a huge demand for slave labor.[6] It is therefore impossible to see the development of the sugar industry as occurring in only one place. Nevertheless, the Italians were clearly central to the entire process, and the Genoese played a pivotal role in the supply and demand of slaves for sugar plantations. In their role as pirates as much as in their role as merchants the sons of Liguria dominated the slave trade. For example, in the fourteenth century, they provided 32 percent of the slaves for Cyprus.

Important geopolitical changes in the Mediterranean around the middle of the fifteenth century were to move commerce in other directions. The Turkish advance and the rising military and economic potential that it represented (symbolically associated with the capture of Constantinople in 1450) displaced commerce in the eastern Mediterranean and forced the opening to the Atlantic. These difficulties with eastern commerce led to the penetration of Africa by Portugal and Castile. This took place initially in Berberia and later along the African Atlantic coast. The new bases of mercantile capital became Cadiz, Seville, and Lisbon. Slowly, throughout the fifteenth century, the islands in the Atlantic were occupied-the Azores, the Canaries, the Cape Verdes--laying the groundwork for the journey to America. The Italians played an important part in this process. Looking for new areas for investment, they added to, or established new colonies in Spain and Portugal, and owing to their vast military and commercial experience, they influenced the course of events in those countries, which up until that time had played a rather passive role in the history of the Mediterranean. This strategy, successful for more than a century, is known as the period of "covert colonialism." By 1460, according to Heers, an Italian by the name of Antonio di Noli had established a sugar plantation on the Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of Senegal, and had a license from the King of Portugal to import as many slaves as he wanted from Africa. Black slaves, who up until that time had been regarded as luxury items for the very rich, were now being used as a labor-intensive workforce on the new plantations springing up along the Atlantic coast.

This new type of slavery grew up m response to the scarcity of labor in the south of Spain and Portugal. Moreover, the western Mediterranean had not recovered from the demographic crisis of the fourteenth century and thousands of Africans helped to repopulate the region.[7] The islands off the coast of the Atlantic became, in effect, the experiment stations where slaves were incorporated into the new productive processes of mercantile capitalism.

The Italians were very resourceful about incorporating capital, technology, business, and exploration into the new system, and their role in the economic and political life of Spain and Portugal must not be underestimated. From 1475 on, it can be said that Genoa had its second commercial empire with Andalucia as its center. That year Ferdinand of Spain reconfirmed all the privileges traditionally given to Genoese merchants in Seville and in 1493 signed a document of the sort that we still refer to as a "most-favored nation" treaty. Along with this treaty the Genoese supplied the financial and 1ogistical support to the Kings of Castile and Aragon for their conquests of Grenada and the Canary Islands. Much the same can be said for the Portuguese. The Italians in Portugal and the Atlantic colonies were their principal source of financial and mercantile support, allowing them to sustain their colonies in North Africa and along the Atlantic coast.

Aside from the Azores, the most important Portuguese possessions in the Atlantic were the Madeira Islands, which had been colonized around 1425. When discovered the islands had no population or exportable resources, and wheat was planted for internal consumption. But by 1452, the first sugar refinery on Madeira with slaves from the Canary Islands was in operation. By 1460, sugar had replaced wheat as the principal crop.8 In 1493, the island had eighty mills that produced 100,000 twenty-five-pound bags of sugar.9 The Genoese had been responsible for the introduction of the crop. From the beginning of the next century, the Canary Islanders were no longer available as slaves, and they were replaced by 2,000 Africans.[10] By the end of the century, according to Schwartz, Madeira had become the largest sugar producer in the Western world.

The economic dynamic of the Madeira experience is an excellent example of the fusion of two different mercantile enterprises in the early history of European colonization of the Atlantic. Both crops and slave labor were imported to the area of cultivation. The close proximity to Europe insured a wide, guaranteed market, and the proximity to Africa ensured an ample supply of slaves. This same formula was later applied in the development of black slavery in the colonization of the Americas.

The slave trade between West Africa and Portugal began in 1441, when Antam Gonzalves took the first cargo to Lisbon.[11] Initial explorations of the African coast had not yielded the gold and riches the Europeans dreamed of, so they turned to the hunting of slaves. At the end of the fifteenth century, the number of slaves in Portugal was so high that the surplus was exported to the rest of Europe, where from then on slavery "had penetrated into the middle class, the business world, and into small production and the crafts.''[12] But the destiny of the slave trade was linked to the success of the sugar islands and that was how the system spread. The islands off the Atlantic coast were the sites of the first experimental alternatives to non-slave agriculture in the European homelands. Slavery never developed in Europe the way it did in the colonial areas.

The double standard of Europe regarding who is a human and who an animal became a matter of controversy in the sixteenth century, when the European invaders immediately enslaved the natives they encountered in the New World, but antecedents were perfectly apparent in the Atlantic a century earlier. It was in relation to these slave colonies that the ideological contradictions first surfaced.

The new states of Castile and Portugal had neither the time nor the economic and political resources to exclude the private sector from the spoils of conquest, and the alliance between state and capital was frequently put to test in the latter half of the fifteenth century. The role of arbiter in these conflicts was played by the Vatican, not only because the clashes often brought into conflict the subjects of different sovereign states, but also because the excesses and scandals of the private sector collided with the ideological understandings of the church-state alliance. In the process of mediation the values and standards necessary to justify slavery in the newly conquered lands were defined. Rome, by issuing several Papal Bulls, began to create a new body of law, which despite its contradictions and changeability, provided guidelines for the Catholic expansionism. These Bulls were quite similar to today's international accords, in the sense that they could not be imposed on strong states and were always adapted to suit the interests of the most powerful of the moment. Although Rome lacked the material power to impose its rule on the new national states, its ideological hegemony allowed it both to promote its own interests and to perform a valuable mediating role in a European colonial expansion that would otherwise have been chaotic. For example, from 1434 on, with the Bull Creator Omnium, Pope Eugenio IV excommunicated anyone who enslaved a native already converted to Christianity. That same year the Vatican also prohibited actions in the Canary Islands, denying the validity of certain forms of conquest ostensibly for the conversion of slaves. The conquest of the Canary Islands, because of the poverty of their resources, degenerated into a bloody and cruel hunting of slaves in the name of the Gospel, and forced the Vatican and the Catholic monarchs after it to condemn the act. One may, of course, look behind these restrictions to see the power politics of royalty and private interests at play. Backstage diplomacy at the time, as we know, was intense and complex. But that is of secondary interest. What is important is the gradual institution of a system of law that defined the parameters and structure of a new type of slavery for the new colonial order that was being born.

In 1436, for example, King Duarte of Portugal requested that Creator Omnium be suppressed, and he described the infidels of the Atlantic islands in very demeaning terms. This can be seen as an important ideological precedent for the enslavement of the natives of America.[13] In 1472, Sixtus IV in Pastoris Alterni issued indulgences for the conversion of the natives of the Canary Islands in such ambiguous terms that King Ferdinand took them as carte blanche to repress the natives.

In 1476, Sixtus IV in Regimini Gregis supported the conversion of the natives of the Canary Islands and Guinea (the name by which Africa was known at the time) and issued instructions to excommunicate all captains or pirates who failed to comply with it. What had been established was a clear difference between converted natives and those who resisted conversion. A year later, Ferdinand and Isabella felt pressed to support the Papal Bull and ordered the seizure of the natives of la Gomera who were taken as slaves to Andalucia in order to resolve their legal status. A while later they were freed and ordered to be returned to their place of origin. Religious belief became, then, the principle defining citizenship. One suspects that the Castilian crown, given a choice, was much more interested in the incorporation of the possessions into its empire than in any profit they might obtain from the sale of slaves. This issue caused a separation of interests between slave traders and the crown.[14]

A final aspect to consider is the straitened financial circumstances of these states at the time and their search for capital to finance their enterprises. During the Middle Ages the kingdoms of the Iberian peninsula had distributed some of their properties and rents to the nobles as a means to insure their support. In this new centralist conjuncture the process needed to be reversed, the investment to be recouped, and new ways to be found to finance the state undertakings inside and outside the country. The reign of Ferdinand and Isabella is remembered for the steps it took in that direction. But the expansionist mood of the time left them with little to spend and they had two options to consider: the first was to go to private financiers, mainly Italian Jews, and the second was to use the money authorized by the Papal Bulls and other public collections for the conversion of the natives. In almost all cases the second option was chosen. The Kings asked, Rome obliged, and both profited. Such was the case with the Papal Bulls supporting the conquest and colonization of America. But the requests were not always granted. In 1477, Ferdinand and Isabella reserved for themselves funds collected under Regimini Gregis for the conversion of the inhabitants of the Canary Islands and Africa. Apparently they tried to sidetrack those funds.z5 Their action did not please the Vatican, which abolished the Bull and stopped public collections. The effects of this measure were quick to appear, when in 1492 with the conquest of la Palma and Tenerife in the name of the monarchs, the Spanish captured and sold 200 natives. Perez states, "This was the only capital available to support conquest since the Bull Remigini Gregis of 1476 was abolished.''[16] It was evident that slavery, aside from being a source of profit for merchants, was also a way to resolve economic problems of the state.

The World Of Columbus

Enter Christopher Columbus. We should not be surprised that this young man from Genoa, a converted Jew according to the most recent reliable studies from Spain, appeared in the western Mediterranean, the new colonial frontier of Europe, looking for a profitable future.[17] In his country this was not possible or he would not have left it. But what is interesting to us is not his fantasies or his personal projects. We are concerned with the experiences that formed the way he thought. Columbus is interesting as a man of his time and as an exponent of the values of that period. The rest is myth.

Let us begin with the effects of his religious status, a converted Jew in a rigid Catholic country, to understand his early abandonment of Italy and his affinity for travel. Recent philological studies show that Columbus spoke a hybrid tongue reflecting not only a poor basic education but also a constant change of place during his long years of travel in the world of his day.[18] His writings demonstrate a knowledge of the Mediterranean and the several visits to Italian outposts along the sugar route. He mentions Chios in the Aegean, Sicily, and Cerdena. Early in 1470, he was in Lisbon working for the commercial house of Centurion and Negro, wellknown merchant families from Genoa involved in the sugar slave trade. From Lisbon he traveled the North Atlantic, to Galway in Ireland and Bristol in England. There is some speculation that he reached as far as Iceland. In 1478, he was sent on a very important commercial mission to Madeira, the most important sugar plantation of the time. There he met and married the daughter of a Lombardian merchant named Perestrello and settled on the island. Thus he became a member of the colonial circles of the Atlantic. From Madeira he traveled to the Gulf of Guinea, visited La Mina, the great slave center of the time, and wrote some years later, "I have been in the castle of the King of Portugal, La Mina, located under the equinox, and I am a witness that it is not, as they say, uninhabited." Perez Fernandez places Columbus and his brother in Diego Cao's Congo expedition in 1485, and with Bartolome Diaz at the Cape of Good Hope.[19] There is no doubt that he was familiar with the forms of slave colonization in vogue at the time, models that his fellow countrymen helped to perfect, as they amassed great fortunes and widened their spheres of influence and prestige. To Bartolome de Las Casas, his first biographer, there was no doubt of the slave inclinations Columbus absorbed in the Atlantic with respect to "the practices that the Portuguese followed, and even today follow, in the negotiations and tyranny in Guinea."

During this period Columbus must have entertained many projects for exploration, but found no support in the Portuguese Courts. He left for Castile, hoping for better luck. The story of the misunderstood dreamer, fighting alone against the world, is only a legend. Columbus had left Portugal with letters of recommendation from Genoese in Lisbon to his fellow countrymen in Seville. At all times, he was supported by Italian merchants in the Courts of both countries. Let us mention just two names, Berardi and Pinelli. Juanoto Berardi knew him from the early years in Lisbon; he was a Florentine who represented the powerful house of Francisco de Medici. Berardi was a notorious figure in the slave trade. Consuelo Varela identifies the circle of Florentines who supported Columbus in Spain, and of Berardi says that from 1486 he showed "a perfect assimilation to the commercial trade, fundamentally of African slaves.''20 His network included cities such as Malaga, Cadiz, Jaen, and Seville. Berardi also lent money to the Catholic monarchs and participated financially in the conquest of the Canary Islands. At the time, another Florentine named Amerigo Vespucci worked for him as a commercial agent. A small world. Varela tells us that between 1489 and 1499 Florentine merchants controlled the monopoly on African slaves in Spain and Portugal. It was also in that period that Columbus and Berardi became partners, setting the foundation for the American venture. According to all evidence, Berardi not only helped to finance the first trip of Columbus but was entrusted with the Admiral's affairs during the voyages.

Francesco Pinelli was a Genoese and a converted Jew. When Columbus traveled to Spain, Pinelli was an advisor to King Ferdinand, and because he was a part of the Centurian family, Columbus met with him almost immediately. Pinelli was well regarded in the Courts of Castile for his administrative abilities and his contributions to planning the conquest of the Canary Islands. He was also a supplier and financier for the royal family. In 1490 Pinelli was a magistrate in Seville, and together with Luis de Santangel, another Jewish convert, was director of the treasury of the Sacred Brotherhood, the military political police of the Crown. Pinelli advanced so far in the service of the Crown that in 1503, when the gold from the Antilles began to flow into Seville, he was named as a first agent for the Casa de la Contratacitn (House of Trade). He was possibly the most influential of the Genoese in Castile, becoming part of the nobility by marriage and working his way into the highest circles of power. Pinelli was a protector of Columbus. Fernandez-Armesto puts it succinctly: "It was on political and financial backing, not informed assent, that the launching of Columbus' enterprise depended.''[21]

The first voyages of Columbus were financed jointly by loans from the Sacred Brotherhood and the collections of the Papal Bull in the diocese of Badajoz. Columbus' friends, Pinelli and Santangel, administered those funds, and must have suggested them to the King as a source for financing the trip to America. That is the reason that the first letter Columbus wrote upon returning from the Caribbean was addressed to Santangel.

The rest of the funds--actually loans--including the part that was supposed to be contributed by Columbus, came privately from Italian capitalists. That same group of Italians, converted Jewish merchants who were close to the Court, including Pinelli who financed Columbus' fourth trip, were involved from the beginning in the enterprise of the Indies. Fernand Braudel says of these Genoese businessmen, "this extraordinary financial aristocracy devouring the world is the greatest adventure of the sixteenth century."[22]

Fernandez-Armesto is correct when he states that one of the factors favoring royal support for Columbus was the exclusion of Castile from the African coasts. For centuries the Castilians had nursed rising expectations about the gold of Ethiopia. Those expectations were kept alive with the gold arriving from the Sudan, which was controlled by the Arabs and the Portuguese with their partners from Genoa. The expansionist policy of Ferdinand and Isabella in North Africa, and afterward along the Atlantic coast, had the result that they had inserted themselves prominently in the circle of metallic wealth. But with the end of the war between Castile and Portugal in 1479, Castile saw its access to the African gold closed.23 The capture of slaves became an unavoidable substitute for the principal objective of the exploration, the search for gold. This explains the repeated references to gold in Columbus' diary, even though the first samples were so poor.

Since many different motives have subsequently been attributed to Columbus' first voyage, it is important to note that the Capitulaciones of Santa Fe does not mention either the search for new routes across the Atlantic or any objective other than to discover and capture new territories. That these lands existed at a reasonable distance no one doubted. One only has to look at the map made by Andrea Bianco in 1436, and also one by Toscanelli in 1474.[24] In both are islands identified as "Antilia" and "Brasil." The association of these unconquered lands with and their supposed proximity to the continent of Asia are not that important. The determination of the Spanish monarchs to promote the conquest of the Canary Islands and other new explorations implies that their real objective was the possession of new bases to compensate strategically for those lost to Portugal in the Treaty of Alcazovas. Understood in this context, Columbus' trip was organized for much the same purposes as similar undertakings by other adventurers: to occupy the islands that bordered Africa.

Judging from the resources and investment allocated, the expectations for the enterprise were not high. The risk for the private investors was also low, their costs easily covered by the capture of slaves and the other unscrupulous practices associated with the venture. The Andalusian mariners, in particular, had years of practice in smuggling and piracy, activities that were more or less legal during the war with Portugal. The Pinzon brothers, for example, had long experience as corsairs in Cataluna, which did not trouble the monarchs when they hired the brothers for the Columbus enterprise.25 Decidedly, neither the investment, the crews, the ships, nor the documents could lead us to conclude that Columbus' trip had the goal that it reached. If the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs had been convinced that the voyage would open new routes to the East and new enterprises to their rich and powerful kingdoms, Columbus would have been given a powerful fleet, not three small ships and an undisciplined crew without a priest. On the contrary, the trip would have been organized along the lines of the second expedition: seventeen ships, 1,200 well-armed men, and provisions for establishing commercial and diplomatic agreements.26 And the intense diplomatic effort upon his return to obtain papal support and international recognition for the trip would have taken place beforehand, not afterward. Indeed, there was no mention of a religious mission in the Capitulaciones, even though the trip was financed with funds from the Papal Bull for the Cruzada. Of course, when they were confronted with the real economic potential of the Antilles, the rush to cover all legal aspects was urgent.

The value of the Caribbean islands was judged in the context of the explorations in the Atlantic. From the Azores to the Cape of Good Hope, no territories comparable to the Antilles in size, population, vegetation, and gold had yet been discovered. The Canaries were the only islands hitherto found to have a native population, but they lacked exploitable resources. The Azores and Porto Santo, Madeira, Arguin, and the Cape Verde Islands were all unpopulated when they were discovered. Their only value was to serve as bases for slave raids on the African coast. But the Antilles were something else, and it did not take long for Columbus to recognize this. He accurately sized up their economic potential, despite his tendency to exaggerate, and immediately realized the importance of the discovery. The contrast between these new lands and those already known were dramatic and exciting in themselves, and help to explain what happened afterwards, without resorting to the myths that were spun centuries later.

Direct Implications Of The First Trip

Columbian historiography was confused from the beginning, owing to the language used by Columbus to cover the practical aspects of the enterprise. The best source for precise information is not the diary of the first trip but a letter Columbus wrote to Luis de Santangel, dated February 15, 1493, a short time after his return. In this letter the situation is summed up as follows: many populated islands were discovered and all were taken possession of in the name of the monarchs, "with flowing royal flags, proclamations, and no real opposition." This is very important. Rivera Pagan has shown that the terms "discover" and "take possession" were synonymous.[27] The occupation of the islands was, first of all, a consummated act that Columbus presented to the monarchs for political validation. Second, the islands were largely populated: "there are people there in uncountable numbers." Third, the Indians were not worshippers of idols and could be converted. This imposed upon the monarchs the moral responsibility for their conversion. Fourth, the lands were very fertile, "to plant and to sow, to raise cattle of different kinds, and for the construction of villages." Also, "there are many metal mines." These were lands of great economic possibility. And fifth, but of considerable import, their populations, in addition to being numerous, were easy to subjugate. They had no weapons of importance, were of a generous nature, "extremely fearful," not ignorant, and "of a subtle intelligence"; in other words easily ruled, unlike those whom they found in the Canary Islands. Military entanglement would be unnecessary.

In the diary Columbus added something he omitted in the letter: "these people are very simple in weapons, as you can see with the seven captured... if you want to take them all to Castile, or keep them on the island as captives ... with fifty men they can be subjugated and they will do whatever we want."[28]

In this passage, he was proposing immediate subduing of the natives. The Tainos were not worshippers of idols, nor infidels and they had not yet opposed conversion, neither had they resisted with arms the presence of the conquerors. Therefore, the first recommendation of Columbus reflects his predisposition to the Portuguese practice of the plunder and enslavement of the natives along the coast of Africa. But this policy had already been questioned by Rome, and the monarchs would not have accepted it. For this reason, it is significant that Columbus did not propose it in the letter, but substituted it with the other option, the charge of cannibalism. He referred to the existence of another people (that he had not seen yet) just at the entrance of the Indies, who were very ferocious and cannibal. This is the beginning of the myth that the Caribbean was populated by people who were violators of the natural law. Consequently their enslavement needed no further justification.[29] Also the degrading judgment passed on the natives as an argument for enslavement had close antecedents. Just decades before, Portuguese looters employed this argument and King Duarte of Portugal used it on Pope Eugenio IV during the Council of Basilea in 1436.30

Columbus reused this justification for slavery that over the years had become crystallized. It is interesting to observe that this ideological argument was there from his first trip, and indeed its use was almost inevitable. The cannibals were at "the gateway to the Indies," in a position to threaten strategically the Christian enterprise where the rumor of gold deposits was strongest. During the first trip, cannibals and gold were thus indissolubly wedded. If the gold was to be obtained the natives had to be subdued. All arguments, specific and symbolic, marshalled by Columbus led to the conclusion that the natives must be enslaved. For that reason he recommended immediate enslavement and exportation: "and slaves as many as you want and they will be idol worshipers." That option accomplished various purposes. One, in the absence of other, more immediate resources, slavery would help cover the costs of the expeditions. This same device, we should not forget, was used earlier for the Canary Islands. Two, it avoided conflicts with the Vatican that protected the converted natives and that forbade conquest as a way of spreading the Gospel. In many ways it was a clever proposition, since it played well into European prejudices that had been spread for centuries--the anthropofagia, as Hulme relates, was used to support antiSemitism--but it also excluded cannibals from the projects of conversion. Decades later, this interpretation was refuted by Las Casas and Francisco de Vitoria, the great jurist, who argued that violations of natural rights were not a cause for a just wary

But still, that counter argument had little support. For that reason, Columbus set a very important precedent in favor of slavery, which, although it had historical antecedent, had not yet explicitly been incorporated into the judicial system of the time. The later resistance of the Native Americans to conquest, their custom of keeping human bones as war trophies, and the general degree of ignorance among the conquistadors gave a certain credibility to this justification of slavery that was unwarranted by the facts themselves. Archeological studies have not to this day been able to confirm cannibal practices anywhere in America.[32]

The legislation against those accused of cannibalism that was approved by the monarchs years later manifested a shift of emphasis from traditional policies. In the case of the natives of the Canary Islands the sequence was conquest-subjectionconversion-freedom; in the Caribbean after 1503 it was conquest-subjection-inslavement. Columbus was the architect of a new ideological model derived from practice during his voyages.

The Second Voyage

The support for the second trip was more an acknowledgement of Columbus' ability to sell his ideas than a reward for his real achievements. The material results of his first trip were meager; the investment in his second, however, was very impressive-seventeen ships and 1,200 men. Everyone traveling was convinced of its economic potential. But reality did not meet expectations. The tropical islands defied easy conquest. There were rich gold deposits but the thick forests made it difficult to extract. The natives were friendly but this too had its limits. The enthusiasm of the invaders was greatly diminished when the new colonies became the exclusive monopoly of the Crown with Columbus as its only partner. The rest of the settlers were excluded from exploiting the resources. Moreover, free trade was prohibited, and this brought many to ruin, spreading desolation and frustration. The enterprise itself was called into question and dissension among the Castilians threatened to end the first colonial experiment in America. Columbus, afraid more than anything else that he would lose support from the Crown before the project began to be profitable, chose the slave option. With the memo of 1494 that he sent to the monarchs with the pilot Antonio de Torres, he also sent twenty-six prisoners clearly designated as cannibals and slaves. With this action, Columbus was making it clear that he regarded cannibalism as sufficient cause for enslavement. Through the native envoys (or slave offerings), he was in effect inquiring into the position of the monarchs on the slavery question.

The answer from the Courts was very cautious, accepting the action in principle, but recommending that conversion to the Gospel be made in the islands. The modifications demanded by the Crown were both religious and legal. But Columbus went further, and in another part of the memo proposed another line of reasoning, more strictly economic. In order to have a complete view, it is important to read the text:

Item, you will say to the monarchs that for the benefit of the souls of the cannibals and those that are here, I think that the more that are taken there, the better the crown could be served .... if your Majesties can give orders and license to a number of ships to come here every year bringing cattle and other useful things to cultivate and to take advantage of the land and all these at a reasonable price which could be paid for with slaves made from these cannibals, fierce people, well proportioned and disposed of good understanding, and which, taking away their inhumanity, we believe will be better than other slaves; and if in each one of the ships your Majesties put someone of trust, who will defend and command the ships and who will not stop any other place but here, where all the merchandise will be, and the slaves to take away, leaving it up to your Majesties to take care of their rights over there; then you will so reply, so that we can do our job here with more confidence, if your Majesties approve.

The answer of the Real Counsel to this proposal that slavery cover the expenses of the enterprise was not favorable. Possibly the magnitude was shocking or the proposal was made too early. The twenty-six natives sent with Torres in 1494 ended up in the hands of Columbus' commercial agent, Juanoto Berardi, who described them arriving in Seville: "Item, they bring twenty-six Indians of diverse islands and tongues... and here in our home we have twelve Indians who will be sent to the King, three were castrated, three were cannibals, and six Indians.[33]

Meanwhile in Hispaniola, the situation was changing; the capture of new slaves was accelerating with the resistance of the natives to the new abuses by the impoverished settlers. Though the native resistance was increasing, it was never a serious threat, and offered an argument for more enslavement, with "captured in war" as a reason. With this new allegation, the crown tolerated the subjection and sale of peoples who had initially accepted the government of the Christians but subsequently rebelled. With the Bull of Pope Alejandro VI, Intercoetera, of June 28, 1493, which named the Catholic monarchs as natural lords and the natives their vassals, the rebelling natives could be accused of treason for resisting enslavement. It is not known whether these legalities were known in Hispaniola or whether they were only the Court's interpretations. But subsequent shipments of natives to Castile during the time of Columbus were designated as rebelling natives, not cannibals, and accepted as "prisoners of war," legalizing this second justification for enslavement of the American natives.

With the arrival of a great contingent of slaves in 1495, Bishop Fonseca, in charge of colonial issues, informed the King and Queen, who sent their response from Madrid on April 12: "The King and Queen: Reverend in Christ, Father Bishop... and about what you have written to us about the Indians that came in the ships, we think they can be sold better in Andalucia than in any other place, and you can sell them the best way you think . . ." But a while later, the bishop received a different order, one that reflected the concerns of Queen Isabella, or one of her consultants, about the legality of selling Indians. In a letter dated in June of the same year, they had asked opinions of legal scholars about the selling of Indians, in order to advise Columbus, but the response did not arrive. Gimenez Fernandez, the biographer of Las Casas, charges that King Ferdinand and Bishop Fonseca conspired to hide the Queen's counter-order: "it was tolerated and everyone looked the other way five more years as successive arrivals in Seville brought new slaves, many by the defeated settlers returning to Castile."34

The truth is that from that point on, the human traffic from Hispaniola reached very high numbers.

The Shipment Of 1495

When Columbus returned to Hispaniola on his second trip, he was confronted by the terrible spectacle of the burned out village of la Navidad and the thirty-nine dead Christians who had been living there. This was the answer given by the Tainos to the gross abuses of the mariners: the attacks on their women and the spiritual licentiousness prevalent after Columbus' departure. Andres Bernaldez, the chronicler for the King and Queen, gives us an early description of what happened and the consequences:

The Admiral didn't forget the thirty-nine dead men and made his own inquiry and found out from the natives themselves who did the killings. He went out and captured many and sent them on the second shipment, 500 Indians, men and women, all of good age, from twelve to thirty-five. All were delivered in Seville to Sr. Juan de Fonseca; and they came from their countries the way that they were there, naked as they were born, with very little to eat, so they were starved and were taken badly advantage of, most of them dying.[35]

War had begun in Hispaniola. At first it was directed against the chiefs Caonabo and Maireni, who were accused of the attack on La Navidad. But the battles spread to other regions. Las Casas gives more information about the events behind the big shipment of slaves in 1495:

In those days the Admiral sent to make war on the chief Guatiguara because he had put out orders to kill Christians, in which the Christians... killed many and took some of them to Castile, more than 500 slaves in the four ships that brought Antonio de Torres on February 24, 1495.36

Under Columbus' direction that warlike day they took 1,600 prisoners. Approximately 550 were sent to Castile and the rest, as related by Las Casas, died in port during a storm.[37] As to what happened to the shipment, we have an important description by Michel de Cuneo, a fellow countryman of Columbus who traveled with them:

When we arrived near Spain about 200 of the Indians had died and we threw them into the sea; I think the cool air was too different for them... and soon we arrived at Cadiz. There, we unloaded all the sick slaves. For your knowledge let me tell you they are not strong, are afraid of the cold weather, and do not have a long life.

More than a hundred slaves were crowded into each ship, all naked in the middle of winter! We also know what happened to some of the survivors. Fifty of them were sent to the galleys in the Mediterranean under the orders of Juan Lezcano, a captain in the Royal Armada. They were to stay there until their legal status was determined, but it never was.[38]

In the archives of the cities of Seville and Valencia there are bills of sale for some of those who entered the commercial circuit as slaves.[39] In 1497, the first Taino was taken to Venice by the then Spanish Ambassador.40 Regardless of the ambiguous legal condition of the Amerindians in Spain in those days, the reality was that between 1494 and 1500 there was unrestricted and unquestioned slavery for the natives of Hispaniola. The justifications that Columbus elaborated were legalized by practice.

The Shipment Of 1496

On April 20, 1496, Columbus returned to Spain. But instead of taking the direct route from Hispaniola, he took the long route through the Minor Antilles. On the island of Guadalupe, he stayed for nine days preparing for his crossing of the Atlantic. According to the testimony of his son Fernando, there were thirty native slaves with him. In Guadalupe, he kidnapped two women, one the wife of a chief and the other her daughter, alleging that they were coming of their own accord. On the island of Santa Cruz in November 1493, his sailors also kidnapped women. They justified the action by saying that the women were cannibals. But that did not stop Columbus from giving a chiefly woman to his countryman, Michel de Cuneo. Nor did it stop the latter from raping her, according to a very graphic description that he wrote months later.[41] They eventually sent the unhappy woman chief to Castile as a specimen of what a cannibal was like.

The first time Columbus was in Guadalupe, days before the assault on Santa Cruz, he also took ten women, supposedly prisoners of the Carib natives. Alvarez Chanca, the doctor on board, said that they were from Puerto Rico. But some days later, when going past that island, the Spaniards did not free them.

Each of these incidents involves the kidnapping of women by Columbus, and while the justifications change, the results remain the same. This pattern was repeated again along the coast of Paria in 1498. These gratuitous actions by Columbus explain the later so-called aggression by the natives better than their allegedly inherent warlike nature.

Some months after Columbus' departure for Spain, his brother, Bartolome, who was in charge of affairs in Hispaniola, sent a new shipment of 300 slaves. The three ships under the command of Pedro Alonso Nino arrived in Cadiz on October 29, 1496. From this lot, 24 were sent to Seville immediately, but 10 died going up the river Guadalquivir. Las Casas relates the circumstances: having received the letter from the Admiral and with them the ones that were being sent to the monarchs, his brother Bartolome decided to send them immediately on the three ships swollen with slaves (about 300 innocent Indians), and with the reasons and justifications stated above, because the Admiral wrote to the monarchs that certain Indian chiefs from the island had killed some Christians (without saying how many of the Indians had been hacked to pieces); and the Kings responded that all of the ones he found guilty should be sent to Castile, I myself think as slaves, as captives of war. Considering the justification and counsel that the Admiral had given to the monarchs for war against these peaceful people who lived in these lands without offending anyone and in whom the Admiral, on his first trip, saw so many qualities of goodness, peacefulness, simplicity, and gentleness, at the very least it seems that we should question that justice or injustice; but only the Admiral was believed, and since nobody spoke for the Indians, their side of the justice or injustice was not considered... they remained judged as delinquents from the beginning and were destroyed until they were all one without anyone feeling for their deaths or taking it as a crime.

This wonderful defense of human rights shows that at the very time that slave colonies were begun in America, there was also, in Columbus' own time, a voice of repulsion and censure of the Admiral's actions. But from the very first Las Casas, who was hardly an enemy of Columbus, was always cautious to widen the circle of responsibility for the practices that he criticized. Of Columbus' slave policy he said: "as for his errors, blindness, and ignorance... there is no excuse... but that the Admiral, not being a learned man, was ignorant of the injustice by the monarchs and the Courts is no great surprise."

In other words it was the advisors to the Court who should be condemned for tolerating slavery, and what could be expected from someone like Columbus who was not educated? Las Casas used Columbus' poor education and intelligence many times in attempting to exonerate him, and shifted the responsibility to those who had the power and authority to avert what was happening.

The Shipment Of 1498

In 1498 the slave enterprise of Columbus reached its pinnacle. If the Indian chiefs would pay the tributes imposed on them and produce enough food, the settlers would survive. But the land did not spontaneously yield its fruits and the settlers did not have an efficient administration. The colonies under the Columbus brothers were a caricature of what an enterprise was supposed to be, and only the terrible human costs prevent us from calling the whole enterprise a comedy. The inefficient administration, the severe bureaucracy, the envy for little favors, the deep resentment against Columbus for being a foreigner, and the effects of the high cost of living induced the Castilians to insubordination and conspiracy. These factors helped the natives intensify their resistance. Ironically, when the native insurgency started, the anxiety and tension of the Castilians toward each other dropped and they united in the face of war, with its prospects of booty, plunder, and the capture of new slaves. Las Casas stated: "those taken alive will become slaves, and that was the principal crop of the Admiral, with which he expected to cover the expenses that the monarchs exacted for supporting the Spanish in the islands to the advantage of the monarchs, in order to tempt merchants and people to live there without expecting a salary from the monarchs, and without any necessity of giving one."[43]|

Columbus administered Hispaniola as a Guinean trading post. Peasants, who could have changed the nature of the whole undertaking, were excluded. The Royal monopoly of all the benefits raised the cost to levels that were insupportable. Florentine friends of Columbus pressed for an opening of business just as Berardi, Columbus' partner and agent, had done. But the crown was not ready to share with anyone else the fruits of the looting and exploitation, being still resentful of Columbus' participation in the benefits. In 1498, Columbus proposed an increase of the slave trade to attract merchants who would supply the island, paying them with slaves. And he did not wait for a reply. On October 18 of that year, five ships left Hispaniola carrying 800 Taino slaves. Of these, 600 were to be sold and the rest were payment to the sailors to cover the cost of the fleet. Columbus had converted the Indians to merchandise, and they became the principal means of paying for the enterprise.

The increase in the sale of slaves from America began to become politically difficult for the monarchs. According to Herrera, the official chronicler, Columbus proposed that, "the monarchs profit from the natives the way the Portuguese monarchs profited from the blacks of Guinea"; but Castile did not have the sugar colonies into which Portugal had invested a vast number of slaves. The Tainos were not highly regarded for domestic purposes because of their high death rate. For one reason or another, Columbus' policies opened the way for a confrontation. In his correspondence with the monarchs, the Admiral admitted that without doubt the slave trade would continue to move forward, the prose being less rhetorical and more calculated. When, for example, he brought up the mortality rate during travel, his attitude was naked and stripped of any pretense: "it is alright that they die now, it will not be always that way; such was the case with the blacks and those from the Canary Islands, and despite that we profited from them." Las Casas recognized that out of 100 slaves, a year later, only 10 were alive and he asked: "How enormous and blind is this insensitivity?"

The Last Shipment Of 1499

In that year, the seditious Castilians under the order of Juan Roldan, who had been causing Columbus so much trouble, returned to Spain with 300 natives given to them by Columbus to win them over. The sharing of slaves among individual settlers with permits to take them out to Spain was for Columbus a serious abuse of his power. The Queen, who was in Seville when the shipment arrived, gave the order of confiscation and freed all the slaves. This action taken on June 20, 1500, has been blown completely out of proportion by conservative Castilian historians and used to support the notion of the Queen's anti-slavery position. Taken out of context, it leaves Christopher Columbus as the only guilty party in the slave traffic of the Antilles. The truth is that what the Queen was protesting was the introduction of private interests into participation in the slave trade. Columbus had not been given authority for this. As long as Columbus was acting within the limits set by the crown, they did not have many scruples. And even the order for confiscation had arrived too late. The natives had been sold in Andalucia. They could find only 21, 2 stayed of their own free will, so out of 300 they returned only 19.

Since 1494, about 2,000 slaves had been brought to Castile. Ferdinand and Isabella allowed this because they were considered prisoners of war. In 1492, using the same argument, the monarchs acceded to the sale of the Guanches. In 1503, Isabella authorized the unrestricted seizure of the Caribs, opening the door to the vicious hunting that would last for centuries. Then the cover was the incentive for exploration, because private initiatives were easily made palatable. And it was also Queen Isabella who had legalized the distribution of the natives through the ominous system of the encomiendas, which in practice became a decree responsible for the disappearance of the Tainos. Decidedly, Isabella has passed into history as a pious woman, and no doubt she may have been; but that is one of the reasons for the popular Spanish saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. After her death in 1504, Ferdinand openly supported all the slave projects that the encomenderos and merchants on the islands asked for. Decades later most of the islands were "unpopulated." The mining companies now in full operation were the incentive. Seen in perspective, Columbus becomes only a factor in an historical process moved by a complex interplay of interests.

With the arrival in Hispaniola of Knight Commander Francisco de Bobadilla, the administrative regime of Columbus was over. Licenses for exploration were given to other entrepreneurs, taking away his exclusive control. Moreover, Columbus was prohibited from setting foot in Hispaniola. With the arrival of Bobadilla, the settlers, relieved after years of Columbus' chaotic administration, did not forget their resentments. From all over the island they came to complain about the Admiral who, according to them, was only interested in pursuing an unjust war against the natives "in order to send slaves to Castile." That slave policy seems to have affected the settiers, who would have preferred to keep the natives on the islands working for them. Columbus had touched too many interests on and off the islands. He was personally blamed for delays of the enterprise and also for what the enterprise could never have achieved. Gimenez Fernandez, for example, states: "During the period from 1493 to 1500, Hispaniola was nothing more than a military base and a merchant trading post, without ever becoming a colonial settlement much less a missionary post."[44]

But the author mistakenly assumes that the latter reasons were the ones that took Christopher Columbus to America in the first place. The statement thus has an ideological subtext. In reality it was the gold that kept Columbus in the Antilles and gold that attracted the invaders in the first place. The Antilles were the first enterprises of this type overseas. The error, if we can call it that, was in not being able to survive the initial stage. Curiously the church, and doubtlessly for religious reasons, was the most critical of the Hispaniola adventure. Father Juan de Robies, in a letter to Cardinal Cisneros, the Queen's confessor, and the leading representative of the Castilian interests in Court, said: "if he came back everything will be destroyed and in this nothing will remain alive, neither Christian nor religious"; Father Juan de Trasiera, another priest on the island wrote: "Dear Reverend Sir: For the love of God, so much good was done when Pharaoh (name given to Columbus) left this place, make sure that he or any of his countrymen never return to these islands." The criticism was extended to the people of Genoa in general. The Franciscans also sent an accusatory memorandum: "Item, that your Majesty never send Genoese here again, became they rob and destroy, became of their greed for gold... they will take the money to other lands, and the island would be laid to waste, at much too high a price."

In the final part of the story, capitalist merchants, who had been promoting the "Indies Enterprise" from the beginning, appeared beside Columbus. They were his accomplices. History is not made by individuals after all. Columbus and the coterie of Italian and Spanish merchants that were behind the early conquest of America were only the forerunners of a new international order that was crystallizing as the new hegemonic power. Implicit in this structure was a new division of labor that now, with the new wealth from America, would be imposed as a worldwide order. The Caribbean was its first manifestation on the American stage. In the bill of indictment of that long and terrible history of servility and slavery in the capitalist world system, Christopher Columbus has the distinction of being the first to introduce that new order to America.


1. Samir Amin, "The Ancient World-Systems versus the Modern World'Systems," Review 14, no. 3 (Summer 1991): 354.

2. Beginning in 1493, Columbus was directly responsible for the enslavement and sale in Spain of some 2,000 Amerindians. In 1493, Columbus brought 12 slaves back to the Old World from Cuba and Hispaniola. In 1494, he sent 26 from the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico; in 1495, he sent 550 from Hispaniola; in 1496, he himself carried off 32 from Hispaniola and Guadelupe while his brother shipped on a separate trip 300 additional slaves also from Hispaniola; in 1498, he sent 800 slaves, and again in 1499 another lot of 300 Tainos left the island-colony for the Mediterraneean slave markets.

3. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Before Columbus: Exploration and Colonization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, 1229-1492 (London: Macmillan Education, 1987).

4. Stuart B. Schwartz, Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society, 1550-1835 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 8.

5. Vera Lucia Amaral Ferlini, "Polemicas e Controversias sobre a Genese Do Escravismo," Suplemento de Anuario de Estudios Americanos vol. 46 no. 1 (Seville: Escuela De Estudios Hispano-Americanos, 1989).

6. Jacques Heers, Esclavos y Sirvientes en las Sociedades Mediterraneas durante la Edad Media (Valencia: Institucio Valenciana D'Estudios I Investigacio, 1989), p. 130.

7. Douglass C. North and Robert P. Thomas, E/Nacimiento del Mundo Occidental: Una Nueva Historia Economica, 900-1 700 (Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1978), p. 127.

8. Fernand Braudel, Civilizacion material, economia y capitalismo; Siglos XV-XVIII vol. 3 (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1984), p. 111.

9. Schwartz, p. 6.

10. William D. Phillips, Jr. "The Old World Background of Slavery in the Americas," in Barbara L. Solow, ed., Slavery and the Rise of the Atlantic System (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 60.

11. John W. Blake, European Beginnings in West Africa, 1454-15 78 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishers, 1937), p. 85.

12. Heers, p. 127.

13. Isacio Perez Fernandez, O.P., ed., Brevisima relacion de la Destruccion de Africa (Salamanca-Lima: Editorial San Esteban, Instimto Bartolome de las Casas, 1989), p. 167.

14. Fernandez-Annesto, p. 237.

15. Perez Fernandez, p. 167.

16. Ibid., p. 172.

17. Juan Gil, Mitos y Utopias del Descubrimiento: Colon y su Tiempo (Madrid: Alianza Universidad, 1989).

18. Consuelo Varela, Cristobal Colon: Textos y documentos completos (Madrid: Alianza Universidad, 1982), Prologue.

19. Perez Fernandez, pp. 186-187.

20. Consuela Varela, Colon y los Florentinos (Madrid: Alianza America, 1988), p. 37.

21. Fernandez-Armesto, p. 203.

22. Fernand Braudel, quoted in Pedro Coilado Viiialta, "La nacitn genovesa en la Sevilla de la Carrera de Indias," in Presencia Iraliana en Andalucia, siglos XIV-XVII (Seville: Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos, 1985), p. 93.

23. Fernandez-Armesto, p. 205.

24. Manuel Lucena, Descubrimiento de America, novus mundus (Madrid: Grupo Anaya, S.A., 1988), pp. 23, 33.

25. N. Coil y Julia, "Vicente Yanez Pinzon, Descubridor del Brasil, Corsario en Cataluna," Hispania 10 (1950).

26. D. Ramos Perez, El Conflicto de los lanzas Jinetas (Santo Domingo: Ediciones Fundacion Garcia-Arevalo, Inc., 1982).

27. Luis Rivera Pagan, Evangelizacion y Violencia La Conquista de America (San Juan: Ediciones, 1990).

28. Varela, Colon y los Florentinos. All documents written by Columbus are reproduced in this anthology.

29. On the subject of the Caribs and cannibalism see Jalil Sued-Badillo, Los Canbes: Realidad 0 Fabula (Rio Piedras: Editorial Antiliana, 1978); Peter Hulme, Colonial Encounters: Europe and the native Caribbean, 14 92-1 797 (London and New York: Methuen, 1986 );Robert Myers, "Island Carib Cannibalism, New West Indian Guide 60, nos. 3-4 (1986).

30. Perez Fernandez, p. 156.

31. Bartolome de las Casas brings up the subject in various occasions in both his Historia de las Indias and his Apotogetica.

32. See previous note. For a recent discussion see Neil L. Whitehead, "Carib Cannibalism: The Historical Evidence," Journal de la Societe Des Americanistes (Paris, 1984); Dave Davis and Christopher Goodwin, "The Island Carib Origins: Evidence and Nonevidence," American Antiquity 55, no. 1 (1990).

33. Juan Gil and Consuelo Varela, Cartas de Particulares a Colon y Relaciones coetaneas (Madrid: Alianza Universidad, 1984), p. 214.

34. Manuel Gimenez Fernandez, Bartolome de las Casas 2 vols. (Seville: Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos, 1953, 1960), vol. 2, p. 461.

35. Octavio de Mederas, Antologia (Madrid, 1945).

36. Bartolome de las Casas, Historia de las Indias vol. 1 (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Economica), p. 405.

37. Michel de Cuneo, in Gil and Varela, Cartas de Particulares a Colon, pp. 235-260.

38. Jose Antonio Saco, Historia de la esdavitud (Gijon: Ediciones Jucar, 1974), p. 238.

39. Vicenta Cortes, "La tram de esclavos durante los primeros descubrimientos, 1489-1516," Anuano de Estudios Atlanticos, no. 9 (1963).

40. Ana C. Pena Vargas, Lenguas indigenas e indigenismos: Italia e Iberoarnerica (Caracas, 1987), p. 23.

41. Cuneo, in Gil and Varela, Cartas de Particulares a Colon.

42. Las Casas, p. 439.

43. Ibid., p. 71.

44. Gimenez Fernandez, vol. 2, p. 574.
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Title Annotation:Columbus and the New World Order 1492-1992
Author:Sued-Badillo, Jalil
Publication:Monthly Review
Date:Jul 1, 1992
Previous Article:Columbus and the Indians.
Next Article:United we stand! Joint struggles of native American and African American in the Columbian era.

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