Monday, October 11, 2010
Celebrate the Insatiable Hunger of White People for Gold!
Here are some excerpts from the journal of Christopher Columbus, 1492:
"At daybreak great multitudes of men came to the shore, all young and of fine shapes, very handsome; their hair not curled but straight and coarse like horse-hair, and all with foreheads and heads much broader than any people I had hitherto seen...They came loaded with balls of cotton, parrots, javelins, and other things too numerous to mention; these they exchanged for whatever we chose to give them. I was very attentive to them, and strove to learn if they had any gold....I gathered from them by signs that by going southward or steering round the island in that direction, there would be found a king who possessed large vessels of gold, and in great quantities.
"About sunset we anchored near the cape which terminates the island towards the west to enquire for gold, for the natives we had taken from San Salvador told me that the people here wore golden bracelets upon their arms and legs. I believed pretty confidently that they had invented this story in order to find means to escape from us...
"We set sail about ten o'clock, with the wind southeast and stood southerly for the island I mentioned above, which is a very large one, and where according to the account of the natives on board, there is much gold...
"[These islands] are all extremely verdant and fertile, with the air agreeable, and probably contain many things of which I am ignorant, not inclining to stay here, but visit other islands in search of gold.
"Now, writing this, I set sail with a southerly wind to circumnavigate the island, and search till we can find Samoet, which is the island or city where the gold is, according to the account of those who come on board the ship.
"The wind being favorable, I came to the Cape, which I named Hermoso, where I anchored today. This is so beautiful a place, as well as the neighboring regions...Tomorrow morning before we depart, I intend to land and see what can be found in the neighborhood. Here is no village, but farther within the island is one, where our Indians inform us we shall find the king, and that he has much gold. I shall penetrate so far as to reach the village and see or speak with the king, who, as they tell us, governs all these islands, and goes dressed, with a great deal of gold about him.
"Presently we saw several of the natives advancing towards our party, and one of them came up to us, to whom we gave some hawk's bells and glass beads, with which he was delighted....I shall depart immediately, if the weather serve, and sail round the island, till I succeed in meeting with the king, in order to see if I can acquire any of the gold."
Finding little gold among the Arawak-Taino population, by 1496 Columbus was writing back to Spain: "In the name of the Holy Trinity, we can send from here all the slaves and brazil-wood which could be sold." Which is what he did!
And continuing in Columbus' tradition, here's FoxNews' Glenn Beck on gold: "I've been spending a lot of time with the founding fathers lately...they talked about what the future of America was going to be like... There would be troubled times, and then it would reset self....I'd like a little bit of insurance. That's why I want to talk to you about Goldline."
Happy Columbus Day!
Read more about the Taino people of Boriken (Puerto Rico) here. An excellent essay by Howard Zinn on Columbus and the Indians is excerpted here. Art snagged from "Columbus Day: American Holocaust."