Columbus Was a Pimp
Take it from an Italian-American the great explorer was nothing but a con-man
I’ll be lynched by my “people” but so many have done more for Italian-Americans than this disgraceful representative of an amazing group. Every year I watch Italian-Americans get up in arms with the way Christopher Columbus is attacked and they protect him like he had achieved some kind of sainthood. But he’s not a saint. He’s a pimp. A no good con-man looking for ways to scheme easy money and yearning for the kind of fame that is now equivalent to an instagram influencer shaking their ass for likes. I know, I know I’m riding the “cancel culture” train, but really I’m not. I’ve been saying it for years. Enough is enough already with this guy.
Let’s take this back to the old country. First and foremost Italians barely acknowledge Columbus as one of their own. While the U.S. has erected hundreds of statues over time you may be able to find one or two in his own hometown of Genoa. They proudly boast they are the birth city of one of the world’s greatest explorers. After that it’s slim pickings. You may find one or two in Rome, a few scattered here and there, but nothing like we see here in the U.S.
As a young adult Columbus was motivated solely by money and fame, only fame and fortune was hard to come by in a country without a name. The 1400’s were a bleak time. Long after the fall of the great Roman Empire, the Italian republic was made up of a few Northern Italian cities, but they actually didn’t call themselves Italy yet. The south was controlled by Spain. So for a fame starved Columbus, trying to rise up the political totem pole in Italy was meaningless.
Columbus came from humble beginnings, moving around Northern Italy until eventually settling in Savona. By the time he was a young adult Columbus was known as a thief and conman who would make up elaborate stories like he was a descendant of a legendary Roman, General Colonius. It is now widely believed that Columbus used this persona to ingratiate himself with the aristocracy, an elaborate illusion to mask a humble merchant background with the goal of swindling people out of money. He’d eventually be shunned from Savona. Columbus and his brother Bartholomew made their way through Portugal, running the same schemes. In Lisbon, Columbus and his brother studied contemporary globes and theories from explorers so that they could come up with a new scheme. Maybe they believed the world was spherical, maybe they didn’t. It didn’t matter because what the Columbus brothers were peddling was their biggest con of all: The world was round and there is an embarrassment of riches waiting for them. All they needed was the resources to get it done.
Their first target was Portugal King John II who had already heard the rumors that both brothers were known as storytellers, they would tell tales of their explorations. The stories were true, but it just wasn’t their story. The idea was intriguing, new land, new trade, untapped resources and riches, just proving the Earth was round would put Portugal ahead of the game and more importantly ahead of Spanish exploration. King John decided against it, citing that it was too expensive, but the reality was he just thought Columbus would take his ships, crew and money and disappear.
So he goes to Spain, appeals to Queen Isabella’s need for more foreign gold and jewels and tells King Ferdinand he’d open up more trade with Asia. He bit and the rest was history. The one thing you’ll need to take from this is that he was full of shit. He never explored anything and his theories weren’t his own. He sold King Ferdinand on greed. And he was off on the Nina, Pinta and Santamaria.
What he did to an indigenous population once he arrived in what is now Haiti/Dominican Republic and Cuba wasn’t anything worse than any other imperialistic man of seas would have done. If he wasn’t going to murder them someone else would have eventually. That being said because he didn’t find gold, he brought back to Spain people who were turned into slaves and released the women to his men who either raped them or sold them off at the right price so that someone else could.
Does this sound like an Italian-American hero to you yet?
His next few trips Columbus inched closer to the mainland USA, but the closest he came was Cuba. The closest he came to South America was Panama. So really we’re eliminating him discovering the “Americas” altogether. Mind you the entire time he thought he was in Asia. Some great fucking explorer here still talking about this new map and how he had rounded the world and reached the other side. With each trip the lack of gold and jewels pissed some higher ups off in Spain. That and his inability to keep shit under control in the new lands he did take over was all a bad sign for him. They had to send war admirals to clean up his mess, stop rebellions created by former crew members and the same indigenous people he had enslaved. Despite his disappointment, Spain figured they could build on this. They gave Columbus a piece of land he could live out his days on and gave him what he always wanted. Fame and money.
Fast forward to the 1800s. Italians are making their way through the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, Ellis Island and landed in New York City. They were looked at as peasants, laborers and unwanted immigrants. So Italians who settled in the U.S. created a narrative that the Italian people should be thanked and protected for all they’ve done for American history starting with the great Columbus. Not unlike Columbus’ many tales belonging to other explorers, Italians went with the idea that Columbus was the sole reason for the new world and made the Spain sponsorship a side note and of course the killing and raping non-existent. By then Columbus was already recognized as a great explorer, so it was an easy sell. But never had an ethnic group or country for that matter claimed him. After all he wasn’t Italian. He was Genovese, which didn’t officially become part of Italy until 1862. 400 years after Columbus was born.
Still want to claim him as one of your own?
Here’s the biggest discrepancy. Because he had no actual experience as an explorer he had no fucking clue what he was doing in the West Indies. Was he in Asia? Was he not in Asia? If he admitted it wasn’t Asia then he hadn’t really proved the Earth was round. He created a lie. He did in fact go around the world and the people he brought back were Indians and Muslims, but really they were just native Indians. Without the ability to speak for themselves Columbus created his own narrative for them. This idea that he was some fantastic explorer is garbage. He never actually set out to do anything he claimed he would do which means everything he did discover was a complete accident. He didn’t even know where the fuck he was.
Look Italian-Americans deserve their day. Just like anyone else. They came to this country, suffered here, started families, businesses and died here. They worked their asses off and the ones that didn’t fall into the criminal underbelly always contributed to their neighborhoods in one way or another. The truth is we don’t need this guy. We made our own imprint on this society. We created pizza for crying out loud. Sure Dominos and Pizza Hut became the biggest beneficiaries of it, but without Italian-Americans there would be no pizza, no cappuccinos, espresso, pasta with white clam sauce and the list goes on and on. Italian-Americans shouldn’t lose sight of all they did to become part of the fabric of America. We don’t need a false idol to represent the true passion and spirit we have shown for hundreds of years.
We’re never going to take away his “accomplishments” he got his ass near here in whatever way it took for that to happen. So cheers to him on that. But the raping and killing that sort of cancels out this idea that he should be presented as some kind of hero to anyone. He was just as bad as any of history’s evil dictators.
If you absolutely need to go the explorer route then do a bit of research on Amerigo Vespucci. He actually did land on North and South America. No stories of rape culture and mass murders haunt him. He might be the way to go.