Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus Day Chewables

It's Columbus Day again.

Not-So-Fun Facts:

1. Only 35 of the 102 colonists aboard the Mayflower were Pilgrims. Others were fortune-seekers fleeing the depression in Europe or indentured servants.

2. The colonists were supposed to join the tobacco plantations in Virginia. They landed in Massachusetts because of a storm or a navigation error, or perhaps because the leaders hijacked the expedition.

3. The colonists didn’t hack a home out of virgin wilderness, they settled on the already cleared land of Squanto’s decimated village, Patuxet. Some of them took the Indians’ belongings and even dug up their graves.

4. Seventeen years after Squanto welcomed the Mayflower’s Pilgrims, these Englishmen and their Indian allies burned a Pequot village on the Mystic River in Connecticut while its inhabitants slept.

5. Until approximately 1629, there were only about 300 Puritans living in widely scattered settlements around New England. As word leaked back to England about their peaceful and prosperous life, more Puritans arrived by the boatloads. As the numbers of Puritans grew, the question of ownership of the land became a major issue. The Puritans came from the belief of individual needs and prosperity, and had no concept of tribal living or group sharing. It was clear that "heathen savages" had no claim on the land because it had never been subdued, cultivated and farmed in the European manner, and there were no fences or other boundaries marked. The land was clearly "public domain," and there for the taking. This attitude met with great resistance from the original Puritans who held their Native benefactors in high regard. These first Puritan settlers were summarily excommunicated and expelled from the church.

There is nothing noble about the puritans.

They were a divisive and extremist sect of the protestant Anglican faith who were not satisfied with the middle of the road approach to religion that King James I took when he came to the throne of England. They were involved in many civil and Parliamentary skirmishes during the reigns of Great Bess, James I and his son, Charles I due to their insistence to conform the National Church of England (of which the monarch was the head) to the word of God in worship, government and religious practice.

They wanted strict, literal interpretation of the bible as public policy in spite of the crown. (Can you say "Taliban?") That's like the extreme fundamentalist Christian right attempting to usurp the Constitution and Bill of Rights because it was too secular for their tender sensibilities—Wait! Isn't that what's going on now?

OK, history lovers. Let's put history back into our history classes.

The puritans didn't believe in religious freedom in the 17th century, and the religious right certainly doesn't believe in it today.

By the way, neither "Christopher" nor "Columbus" is either Italian or Spanish.


Columbus began the official report of his first voyage to America, addressed to Ferdinand and Isabella, with the following words:"And thus, having expelled all the Jews from all your kingdoms and dominions, in the month of January, Your Highnesses commanded me that...I should go to the said parts of India." This is a strange fact to mention in this context, and it is not even correct: The order of expulsion was not signed until March 31st!

The connections between the timing of Columbus's voyage and the expulsion of Spanish Jewry are indeed curious. Historians have noted that, though Columbus was not scheduled to set sail until August 3rd, he insisted that his entire crew be ready on board a full day earlier. The timing becomes more intriguing when we consider that August 2nd 1492 was the day that had been ordained for the last Jews of Spain to depart the country. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were departing Spain on that black day. LINK

Just some juicy bits to chew on today.

File this under:


Blogger cloklis said...

I was just browsing blogs when i came across yours...

Of course that it wont be in english nor italian because its Cristobal Colon in spanish and Cristoforo Colombo in Italian.

Why are you linkin the pilgrims with Chris Colombus day? It has nothing to do with one another.

im from dominican republic, so i know the whole american discovery history by heart...

3:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home