Back in the day, we were taught that Christopher Columbus was a brave explorer who sailed around the world to prove that it was round and bumped into America in the process. Over the past few decades, revisionist historians have brought new insight to this conversation — like the fact that Leif Erikson was a half-millennium ahead in the whole finding North America game, and that Columbus never set foot on the mainland of what would become the United States. Somehow, the Italian explorer hasn’t had his day revoked (yet) though many communities are starting to rethink their celebrations, with states like South Dakota and Hawaii leading the charge.
Columbus was a skilled sailor with an intention to establish a new trade routes to India. When that plan went sideways, he took to extreme measures to save face — measures which look pretty ugly in retrospect. He was also a “European explorer” which, by it’s very nature, implies a certain d*ckishness, lack of regard for Native cultures, and piggish behavior.
As a result, it wasn’t a insurmountable challenge to find seven d*ck moves by Christopher Columbus — and we didn’t even count the fact that he inspired the movie 1492: Conquest of Paradise:
He Lied To His Bosses To Save Embarrassment
It’s been long established that no one in the 15th century believed the Earth was flat. Columbus, however, believed he could reach Asia by sailing west, which would result in a new trade route. Instead, he landed in the Caribbean islands, populated an indigenous population with little to offer in the way of goods or gold. He sailed back to Spain and proclaimed the world to be pear-shaped, blaming that on why he never managed to find passage to Asia.
He Wormed His Way Out Of Giving Promised Rewards To His Crew
During his first voyage in 1492, he had promised a reward of 10,000 maravedis (roughly a sailor’s yearly income at the time) to whomever in his crew first spotted land. Sailor Rodrigo de Triana had been the first to do so, though afterwards Columbus refused to pay him, keeping the reward for himself and claiming he’d seen a “glow” the night before.
He Lied To His Crew. A Lot.
While Columbus had grossly underestimated the circumference of the Earth, he wasn’t sure as to how long the voyage would take. So, according to excerpts from his journal, he consistently would under-report their progress. For example, days where they would sail 50 leagues, he’d tell the crew 47, so that his crew wouldn’t be dismayed by the long voyage.
He Was Two-Faced With Indigenous People — Befriending Some, Enslaving Others
With nothing in the way of goods to trade, Columbus needed a way to justify the expense of his trip. While he’d made friends with some of the chieftains of the tribes, namely because he needed to leave some of his crew behind, he decided to take other natives back to Europe with him to show off how they’d be effective slaves.
He Slandered The Native Tribes He Encountered
Initially, Columbus was (relatively) complimentary to the indigenous people, describing their generosity and willingness to trade. Still, his first impressions also included his observation that “they would make fine servants…. With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” Several months later, he allegedly murdered two tribesman while trading and went on to describe them as “evil and I believe they are from the island of Caribe, and that they eat men,” he would go on to call them, “savage cannibals, with dog-like noses that drink the blood of their victims.”
Ugh. F*ck This Guy
Columbus, took to slave-trading in order to eek a profit out of his four voyages to the New World — including selling girls to members of his crew. He wrote in 1498 that “a hundred castellanos are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to 10 are now in demand.”
Seriously. What A D*ck
The practice of montería infernal (the infernal chase), in which armored war dogs would hunt down and kill natives had evolved in the Canary Islands, and was employed by Columbus during his second voyage the New World. Referred to as a “pacification campaign,” with the intention of better preparing natives for a life of servitude, his men would even go so far as to feed infants to the dogs in front of horrified parents.
In conclusion, we get that you can’t hold 1492’s most famous explorer to 2015 standards and all that sh*t, but this dude was a jerk.