The Pathos of Politics (52-1) Christopher Columbus

The Age of Discovery began in the 15th century, when European shipbuilding technology afforded voyages over vast distances. It quickly morphed into the Age of Imperialism.

The weaponry on board allowed these floating tribes of foreign invaders to establish trading posts and colonies, and to violently claim ownership of territories on the other side of the globe from the outgunned natives. Imperial adventures in the ancient world were seldom the lopsided encounters that were typical of this later time, when European powers terrorized distant peoples with overwhelming technologies as a prelude to sustained pillaging and subjection.

The results were astonishing. Europe is less than 7% of the planet’s land mass. In 1800, Europeans controlled 33% of the world. By 1914, their power had risen to over 80%.

 Christopher Columbus

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force. ~ Christopher Columbus.

Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (1450–1506) set the tone for later encounters when he inadvertently discovered the New World. Upon arrival in the Bahamas, the native Arawak men and women brought the intrepid sailors gifts.

Their hospitality was met with abuse and enslavement. From the beginning, indigenous peoples learned from civilized men what savagery really was.