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Was Christopher Columbus a Slave Trader or Slave Owner?

Slave Trader nor a Slave Owner

By Sam Maffei

Christopher Columbus was a man of his own destiny. A destiny that would carry him from the civilized Old World of Europe to the uncivilized New World of the Americas. His quest and sole objective was to reach Asia: Japan, China and India – by way of a new western route that would ultimately be recognized as the greatest discovery in the annals of history…the discovery of The Americas.

Columbus’ first voyage was one of the most important ever undertaken through uncharted waters and the unknown. It had many results that carried an everlasting impact throughout the world. First, it confirmed the possibility of a westerly route to India and the discovery of the return route. Both were of great significance. The practical knowledge of the winds, which made both trips to the New World and the return to Spain possible, opened the way for the conquest and colonization of immense new continents. The new discoveries would establish the first colonial base of operation in the New World. The European nations, Portugal, England, France and Holland were inspired and attracted to the new discoveries and would zealously and courageously launch their ships into the new age of exploration.

The introduction of Christianity and the influence, adaptation and implementation of western culture would transform the lives and hopes of millions of people into a civilized world. The immeasurable consequences of the discovery of the Americas would determine the direction and outcome of history and create the greatest nation of immigrants in the New World – the United States of America.

The rise of navies, expanding international commerce and the development of the plantation system in the Americas were among the factors that led the western Europeans to become the greatest slave traders in history. The slave trade in Africa, previously dominated by Arabs who sold slaves in the Mediterranean markets, began to fall under the control of Europeans during the 15th century. In 1442, (fifty years before Columbus’ voyage) the Portuguese Prince, Henry the Navigator, while sailing off the west African coast, was presented ten Negro slaves by a group of Moors who had captured them. These slaves, taken to Portugal and Spain, inspired dreams of vast trade profits among some of the more imaginative and unscrupulous of Spanish and Portuguese mariners who proceeded to raid Africa for slaves. They also bought them in exchange for trinkets from ambitious Negro rulers who were not above selling their own people. The Spanish and Portuguese slave traders not only transported many hundreds of thousands of African slaves to Latin America, but also enslaved much of the Latin American indigenous population, notables the Aztecs, Mayas and Incas in South America – all of which groups had (it should be noted) built their own empires on the basis of slave labor.

Recently, there are those malicious people who are trying to equate and/or correlate the life of General Robert E. Lee with that of Christopher Columbus. General Lee was the commanding general of the army’s rebellious South that seceded from the United States of America over slavery, the most uncivilized and evil act perpetrated on any human being. Such an equation or correlation between General Lee and Christopher Columbus with regard to slavery is erroneous, a mischaracterization, a misjudgment and a distortion of factual and historical evidence of this country.

Christopher Columbus was never a slave owner or a slave trader during his lifetime. His discovery of the Americas was and is the greatest discovery of the world’s history.