Monday, March 1, 2010
Columbus by Eduardo Galeano
Defying the fury of the winds and the hunger of ship-eating monsters, Admiral Christopher Columbus set sail.
He did not discover America. The Polynesians had arrived a century previous, and the Vikings four centuries before that. And three hundred centuries before them all came the oldest inhabitants of these lands, the people who Columbus called Indians, believing he had entered the Orient by the back door.
Since he did not understand what they said, Columbus was convinced the natives did not know how to speak. Since they went about naked, were docile, and gave up everything in return for nothing, he believed they were not thinking beings.
Although he died insisting his travels had taken him to Asia, Columbus did begin to harbor doubts on his second voyage. When his ships anchored of the Cuban coast in the middle of June 1494, the admiral dictated a statement affirming that he was in China. He left written evidence that his crew agreed: anyone saying the contrary was to receive a hundred lashes, be fined ten thousand maravedies, and have his tongue cut out.
At the bottom of the page, the few sailors who knew how to write signed their names.