Christopher Columbus: Hero or Criminal?

After 8 years of soliciting funding for an expedition west, having been turned away by King Henry VII of England and King John II of Portugal, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain invited him to court in 1491 to consider Columbus’s plans.  The “last crusade” had ended, the Moors had surrendered their last foothold in Spain and the 700 years war was over.  Floating carved driftwood had been found west of the Azores; Columbus had the ambition and navigational skills to explore west for a shorter trade route to Asia.  With crosses on the sails, the King and Queen gave Columbus 3 caravels to go west.  On October 12, 1492 the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria arrived in the modern day Bahamas after sailing more than 30 days from the Canary Islands.  The “innocent, trusting, and peaceful” natives would soon be deceived by self seekers.  The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “What do you want?  Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?”  Instead of receiving the liberty of Christ, gentleness, and love, the natives would receive a rod of selfish ambition that would include kidnapping, slavery, and many kinds of cruelty.  Gold was seen on some of the jewelry of the natives.  The covetous desire for more of the “fortune” would dominate future explorations.   After returning to Spain with fabricated stories, Governor Columbus would return on a second voyage with colonists to settle what is now the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  Conflicting reports caused King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to send a third expedition with a new Governor and supplies to the young colony to investigate the rumors of chaos.  Columbus would be arrested and sent back to Spain for his crimes.  After some time, Columbus was given an opportunity to explore more of the Caribbean on a fourth expedition, but was not permitted to return to the Spanish colony. Columbus would discover Central America-Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica and the source of gold.  Spain would later send the conquistadors, Cortez and Pizarro to further expand the Spanish Empire.  Columbus was a heroic seaman, but had a lot to learn about being a “Christ bearer”.  He was corrupt and cruel to the naive natives that he supposedly came to serve.  “Love suffers long and is kind…love does not parade itself…does not seek its own.”1 Corinthians 13:4-5

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