In Defense of Columbus: An Exaggerated Evil

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Knowing Better : The President 42 years ago was not LBJ. Thanks to /u/scottsmith46 for pointing that out.

Real Engineering : Seriously impressed with the amount of research that went into this. Your point on intent was interesting, would like to hear your take on the Irish famine. Lots of people in Ireland, including myself, have called it a genocide. This is the first time I have really questioned that because of your points.

palomdude : "If we can pin 400 years of awful history onto one guy, it shifts all of the guilt for what happened to the native americans away from the rest of us." I think this quote explains a lot.

Asstyn Bummer Insulyn : Adam Ruins His Credibility

angonlu329 : I hate how we judge historical figures by modern standards

imagede zach : Good video, but seriously consult a linguist or philologist for the stuff regarding language, because using multiple bad translations (Google translate included) doesn't not necessarily give a good understanding of the original text.

Mr. Beat : Check out those sources, folks. This dude does not mess around.

Miguel Fernández : As a spanish, I only see Colombus as a explorer that happened to discover (for europeans) america, something that had to happen sooner or later. He just wanted to create a new spice route. I don't understand the controversy. You americans have a serious problem with him, I'm glad this video exists.

Legitpenguins69 : TLDR: History is complicated and has been corrupted by alot of different people to suit their own agendas

Janet Jongebloed : I hate Adam Ruins Everything. I knew he was bullshit, but this is such a beautiful refutation.

CHEEJOEKAY : I was shocked at the title, but after watching the video I am glad I did. Your video was great. Although Im critical of Columbus I did feel like Adam Conovers video was misleading and thats without me knowing all of the context you explained. We need more Youtube channels like yours that try to be objective and give context to complicated things.

KristenLucasSoprano : Colombus bravely set sail upon the great pear boobie.

Mr. White Dog : Finally, someone addressed the cancerous Adam ruins everything

Juan Alberto Vargas Mesén : I'm sorry, but you shouldn't probably use Google Translate, like, at all. It's a good overall guidance, but won't tell you nuance (or lack thereof) any better than a translation. There's another problem: this is very old Spanish, which I doubt Google handles very well. I struggle a bit in trying to understand what it says (and I'm a native Spanish speaker), but some parts are very plain. From what I can tell it says the following: "[something I don't understand]... when you commanded so, they can all be taken to Castille, or have them captive on the same island. Because with fifty men [I/you?] could have them all subjugated: and [I/you?] will have them do everything [I/you?] want." I remember having read this before, and if I remember correctly, when he says "you" he was addressing the Queen. I also have my doubts with the word "sojuzgado" because it sounds archaic and it's very similar to the word for "judged" (as in a trial), however, the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy does say it means "to dominate with violence". So yeah, even if translation is slightly changed, it does sound just as awful. Edit for clarification: other than that, those are very interesting points.

wet timguavass : America and the USA are two different things.

FireBirdTheEpic : The Vikings actually did continue to use the waters by Newfoundland to fish for many years. They were just not interested in fighting with the Natives so they kept away. Aside from that, good video!

Matthew Lee : How to conquer an entire continent. Step 1: sneeze on one of the locals Step 2: wait a year

horsemeattball : "History is the fable that everyone believes to be true"...I think it was Voltaire (I may be wrong). That's how I view history nowadays.

coulie27 : Good stuff, but for all the work you put in, you got lazy on breaking down the translations. Can do better than Google Translate!

Shii Jei : Can't agree with the viking point. Just because they didn't care or realize that they found a new land mass doesn't mean they didn't find it.

Will Lawrence : "They were forced to work against their will, but NOBODY owned them!" LOL

Limey Lassen : Huh. I came into this with an axe to grind, but ended up with shaken confidence in Adam Ruins Everything.

Nashib Farooqi : "The vikings didn't discover America first. They stumbled on it looking for timber, stayed for a year, and then left". Technically they did discover America. Just because you leave doesn't mean you haven't discovered something. Even if they had stepped foot on American land for 5 minutes and left, technically they would still have discovered it without knowing.

Jordan : The video continuously tries to soften what happened. I'm really not understanding what the difference is between a peasant that has been forced into subjugation to work for free, versus a slave. If you were that peasant would you really be saying thank goodness I'm not a slave because I can't be sold. I guess they should be thankful that they have management stability since they can't be sold.

TheDarkrebel131 : i like how he just brushes offthe " yea he probably cut of native hands and noses to but the queen and king didn't care."

Apollo Cobain : "breast shaped" and pear shaped are the same thing. This video doesn't debunk some of these things -- it confirms them. Would love to see more videos where people who have done their own research debate each other. For example have "Knowing Better" debate Adam Ruins on this subject.

Badr eddin : *They're forced to work against their will but nobody's own them* Is this weirdo really know what he just said...

The Utte! : I mean yes, you are right in a lot of ways. That Adam ruins everything episode really simplifies everything to the point of historical revisionism, but while you point out the times people say he was ruthless when he wasn't you forget the times he actually was. Like how he murdered rebellious natives (including some of their families) and had their body parts paraded through the town. This was one of the points he was charged on so it's not like it was normal for the time either. But I do agree with your ultimate thesis.

LemonArsonist : Overall I agree with your point but I think you've swayed too far to the "Columbus was okay" side of the pendulum. And the use of small snippets from short videos containing true but ambiguously phrased sentences is no evidence at all. They had a point to make, they made it in the most succinct way they could (see pear-shaped earth. That's what he was describing! He just didn't use the word pear, so your argument against is was basically pointless.) To state Columbus was bad in basic terms to an audience who celebrate a whole day in his honour is to try push the pendulum to the middle so people don't have the even more wrong "Columbus was amazing" story.

Boris Kocmaruk : guns germs and steel amiright?

Elsenoromniano : Some corrections, "You can't really have large cities without domesticated animals". Well, you can, and we know that, because Aztecs certainly did have large cities, the estimated population of Tenochtitlan was a city of 200.000 (Smith, 2005), which is on par with the size of Paris during the same timeframe, and only third the population of the largest city in the timeframe (Beijing, with over 600.000, Morris, 2010). Second, I am Spanish and I know historical SPanish, he really does say "they are ingenious and good servants", that is exactly the literal translation of those words in 1500'ish Spanish. And also yes he says " With 50 men I could have them subjugetaed and I could make them do what I would want", using google translate is very, very lazy. You could have asked someone with knowledge of Spanish. "Subjugate" (O "Sojuzgar in Spanish) is actually the same as conquer, it means to be under someone yoke or metaphorically, be under someone's power, usually by force. Another mistake, the Encomienda system was a later invention, at first they were slaves and they were sold and bought, that is not weird, because Spanish people already practiced slavery (it was ok to enslave enemies of the faith, Muslim enslaved Catholics and Catholics enslaved Muslims. The Encomienda system was introduced around 1505,a s a way to treat the natives better and also gain the support in a lot internal conflicts. It must be said that the encomienda system was already abolish time ago in Castille. Also to note is that in 1509, the Crown gave the order to make encomiendas non permanent, although people with encomiendas or "encomenderos" found a lot of ways around that. The slavery of the natives under any ground was not forbidden until 1530 under the reign of Carlos the V. Also the reason was not "he was extracting to much Gold", the reason he was thrown in jail was that it was believed that he stole gold from the Crown. Also Colombus threw Bobadilla, which was the designated governor by the Crown and thus disobeyed orders from the Crown. So his punishment was for mutiny and stolen funds, not because he was extracting less gold than expected. Part of the investigations done by Bobadilla and subsequent judges had one of the points of contention if Columbus deny some baptizes because of religious zeal (he wanted the natives to be fully prepared for the baptism) or for economic gain (you couldn't turn Christians into slaves, as soon as a native was baptized, he couldn't be a slave, it was the same rule that applied to moorish slaves). Also of importance, because you omitted it and it kind of gives the wrong impression of Las Casas,. las Casas later recanted his views about black slavery, lamented his role in the initiation of the Slave trade and tried very unsuccessfully to fight against the importation of black slaves. Saying that De las Casas advocated the slavery of blacks without giving the information that later in his life fought against it seems like you tried to paint him in a bad light just because he was anti-Columbus. But in fact, if you know the whole story that makes him more admirable, because he was able to change his views in an era where the view that all humans were equal was certainly not the norm. Also, while it's true that he didn't travel with Columbus, he was an historian among other things and he certainly interviewed people that traveled with COlumbus, it's not like he fabricated everything from whole cloth. So I know this is a long text, but I tried to be the fairest possible and only point mistakes to better the understanding of the topic. Columbus was not a monster, but certainly, even for the people in his time he was a dodgy character.

Appalled ByFurries : This makes me view "Adam ruins everything" and all the other educational channels with a leftist slant as dodgy propaganda factories.

teresaguerrasalazar : US citizens think that Native Americans are the original people of the United States and Canada only. I went to Europe and the Greeks believe that too. when I went to Greece they did not know that either. I'm Zapotec and Tarahumaran from Mexico. Native Americans are the original people of the entire Continent from the Bering Strait to Tierra del Fuego. The US has imposed its name as America in Europe when referring to the US, they say America. That is totally wrong. America is the entire continent, we the people of the Spanish speaking countries reject the US wanting to claim America name for themselves. All the citizens living in the American Continent are Americans. We mexicans are indigenous Americans, original to the American Continent. Mexico is the cultural center of the American Continent, cradle to one of the 7 ancient mother cultures of the earth.

Martin Booth : Something important about the columbus slavery point Columbus was Catholic and Catholics didn't enslave Christians because it says so in the bible, not to mention the Pope at the time had written letters and created legislation he demanded all of christendom to not take slaves from the new world but to convert them, again christians couldn't own fellow chrisitians this is why surprisingly south african boers were some of the first to free african slaves due to them converting to Christianity

Scorpius Jones : Even still, f Columbus.

Chris Meyer : Wait, wtf you only have 2k subs? How is that even possible. I have no doubt you are breaking 100-200k within 6 months if you keep putting out this level of quality video. Great stuff man. Keep it up.

Gonzalo Paredes : 15:36 It sayss in spanish; "They must be good servants and ingenious or gullible, (nnot sure), for the do everrything you tell them"thwn goes on to talk how theyd convewrt easily. Next he say "I could subjugate them all with fifty men, and make them do whatever I want"So yeah he did pretty much saw them as free labourers, yeah potential slaves. Nothing more

Diego M : Bro, I would have put a like on your video, but I think you posture too much about your knowledge on the whole, and it seems you are taking the stance of an expert. I certainly dislike that. Too much apologizing atrocities of the empire, of colonialism, and you are a bit too biased in your “translation.” Making it seem that subjugation has nothing to do with colonization. And just because there weren’t as many people here after the 90% collapse of an entire population did that mean it was just anyone’s land. It is a tragedy beyond the scale the world has seen since or before and you act as if the plague was just as bad. It would have been just as bad if an invasion would have come after the plague and exterminated European culture, history, art and the people in it. What happened to the Americas is horrifying and you don’t really seem to understand that. That bothers me.

Thomas Clark : Sooooo subjugating someone is more positive than conquering them? In my mind they are both the same thing.

Gabriel huhu : Hi I have a few problems with the video. I watched it in its entirety, and consequently I felt a need to comment on it. Since I don't intend on watching a second time, I will merely comment on the problems that arose towards the latter half of the video. By problems, I mean the two that are still fresh in my mind. (mind that I only use "you" for ease of explanation rather than an attempt at an ad hominem argument) Some minor definitions before you begin to read. Europeans are those coming from Europe including Columbus and those accompanying him and participating in these acts. The Indigenous peoples are the Taino peoples. I continued to use these two umbrella terms though since they can be applied to the rest of Europe’s conquest if the examples were removed. Firstly the genocide bit. Concerning the attribution of the label "genocide" to Columbus' crimes. You claim that his crimes cannot be labeled genocide due to the lack of intent to "destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." You left out the rest of that quote, just like those sources you shamed. Here it is: "as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." So don’t use the source when it has specific examples, but go ahead and use it when it fits your narrative I guess. ( 23:21 ) You claim it was conquest motivated, yet conquest requires the subjugation of peoples. Surely you might argue that subjugation isn't as bad as killing people and thus doesn't fit into the category of destruction. However, subjugation includes establishing dominance, or placing the victims in a position to serve the subjugator. In the video you claimed that if they refused, they would be killed. Having these two option would have two results, both fitting the description of genocide by the UN. If they were to refuse the *glorious* life of subjugation, they would be killed. That is the first example given by the UN. If they agreed to forcefully serve the Europeans because it is *mere* conquest, they would be put in a condition of life, which is calculated to bring physical destruction to that group. Their numbers would diminish and most should die off. Even if you disagree with the latter point, this is still the destruction of an ethnic group “in part”. You said you never deny mass killings took place. If you are to argue that the ethnic aspect of the indigenous peoples is inarguable, you are right, *in part*. Indigenous peoples also came from a relatively (relatively as explained later) similar ethnic background. Europeans also came from a relatively similar ethnic background. Of course to say relatively is imprecise, but this generalization is important. From these standards, it is also fair to say that the relative Indigenous culture was extremely different from the relative European culture. This is a clear difference in ethnic backgrounds, which separates them into two different ethnical groups. The Europeans did intend to subjugate, and kill the Indigenous populations. You claim to not be trying to minimize the crimes etc. of what happened, but by removing the label of genocide, that is exactly what you are doing. This was a genocide of the Indigenous populations, and the explanation and excuses you give are shameful. The second “problem” I have is kind of the culmination of weird things you seem to just mess up towards the end of the video. A clusterf*** if you will. You just assume you know what people watching your video lines up with your beliefs. Your repetition and misuse of “objectively”, objectively proves your lack of understanding of the word. Perhaps Stalinists (M dash)because there are so many sects of communism that to just say communists as a whole love him would be unfair and completely wrong (M dash) love Stalin. They might believe that he isn’t as bad as Columbus, because at least he was nationalist and promoted national well-being. Perhaps Nazis love Hitler, because Hitler was more direct in his genocides. Nazis might believe Hitler wasn’t as bad as Columbus. This use of “objectively” completely ignores the individual opinions people might have since, you know, they are individuals. You use it again every single time you use the word “worse”. I hope you realize that those two words are, in fact, separable and it is not required to only say “objectivelyworse”, when “in my opinion, worse” will suffice. Next, I know I had two, but count this is the above grouping, you claim that soldiers fighting under governments or commanders are the absolute worst. Sure they committed crimes, but these crimes are being accepted by their superiors, they believe that this is the way they are meant to act. This is not a defense of them (as you clearly stated your video was of Columbus), but they act according to what is expected of them. It is their superior’s job to manage and regulate their behavior, as a hierarchy does. This claim that soldiers are the absolute worst, is just wrong. Firstly for the assumption that there is a general understanding of what “worst” is, and secondly for the assumption that one soldier who is being forced to fight in order to survive (M dash)not the indigenous people, but in their own community(M dash) are the “worst”. THEN IM SORRY BUT YOU JUST DIDN’T LIKE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY! AFTER WATCHING ONE VIDEO, SELECTING ONE SMALL PART THAT ISN’T EVEN REPRESENTATIVE OF GENERAL FEELINGS TOWARDS THAT DAY, YOU JUST SO DECIDE THAT EVERYONE MUST JUST WANNA S**T ON COLUMBUS AND THAT’S WHY THEY CREATED THE DAY. WHAT IS GOING ON IN YOUR HEAD, LEADING YOU TO GENERALIZE THE OPINIONS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE LIKE THAT! AGAIN WITH “THE REST OF YOU”, HOW CAN YOU, A RELATIVELY RECENT IMMIGRANT, NOT ASSUME THAT THERE ARE OTHER RELATIVELY RECENT IMMIGRANTS WATCHING YOUR VIDEO (M dash)THAT NOT TO BE NEGATIVE, BUT A VIDEO THAT HAS THE INTEGRITY OF A CHOCOLATE BUNNY. Oh also the whole middle is kinda useless when you “debunk” all of the misinterpretations of his journals, if all you are going to do is just say the journal itself is a fabrication. And the whole part where ur tryna disprove him finding America misses the entire point. The entire argument is that there were people there already so he cant really discover the damned land mass. K im done.

Benett Willbanks : "When I was in the boat, I took a beautiful Cannibal girl and the admiral gave her to me. Having her in my room and she being naked as is their custom, I began to want to amuse myself with her. Since I wanted to have my way with her and she was not willing, she worked me over so badly with her nails that I wished I had never begun. To get to the end of the story, seeing how things were going, I got a rope and tied her up so tightly that she made unheard of cries which you wouldn't have believed. At the end, we got along so well that, let me tell you, it seemed she had studied at a school for whores." - Michele De Cuneo (1448-1503)

Kaul is I : Wow it really helps your argument that you trust google translate's translation of 15th century Italian over a scholar's translation. And saying that "good servants" could also mean servants of god or the crown, not just slaves, makes you sound like you think forced conversion and annexation aren't problematic.

Wesley J : Columbus partook in the enslavement, murder and butchery of indigenous people. The fact that other historical figures did it too doesn’t absolve him. We shouldn’t have a federal holiday named after him and there’s nothing wrong with having an indigenous people’s day

Kurt Richter : "While paling in comparison to his crimes against Caribs and Taino Indians, Columbus's rule over Spanish settlers was also brutal. He ordered at least a dozen Spaniards "to be whipped in public, tied by the neck, and bound together by the feet" for trading gold for food to avoid starvation. He ordered a woman's tongue cut out for having "spoken ill of the Admiral and his brothers."

koth : Tbh, 550 years ago, the goal for tribes and empires was to expand. The Native American tribes that succeeded, succeeded for a reason. They were savage in their colonizations. When Columbus came to the Americas, he was just expanding an empire using techniques just as savage as the Native tribes, but with better technology and more people.

Dan_GD : This is a great video. The research is impeccable. Not only I learned a lot about Columbus, but also a lot about USA culture. I didn't know USA people had an issue with Columbus as an historical figure. At least here in Mexico the controversy always revolts around Hernán Cortez; I'm not going to take a side on his case, but official History usually portrays him as the "genocide", they take him as the epitome of the conquistador. Also, it's still somehow disturbing (even when I discovered it a while ago) to hear someone referring América as two continents (both USA people -- yes, I refuse to say 'Americans' -- and Cubans do it -- funny, isn't it?).

A Taurus Knows Best : Made it too 18:15!!!! Surprisingly! This (majority) rubbish is HARDLY defensible. Although CC's actions have been exaggerated over the past couple generations, no one can legitimately state that CC left a GREAT legacy. He helped accelerate the decline of any entire race of people; and let's be honest- the New World was bound to be discovered by a European in CC's lifetime. Too bad it wasn't from the Pacific side. But, I can at least say: "Thank GOD it wasn't first the Dutch or the Portuguese!

moonlington : As somebody who speaks italian and has studied Columbus at a University level, you are so, so dumb. So many mistakes, mostly subjective arguments, and misinterpretation throughout.

garret morris : We need more people like you who can accurately and being unbiased depict history. As most people like to sell something, to make people emotion. The sad thing is that most people accept anything from anyone that has a popular reputation, so no one cares to do the research themselves. And i believe that this is a major problem in this world. As people just assume that what they hear on the news is correct, forming they're opinions. There's zero free thinking nowadays, most everyone gets their opinion from a popular publication or from the media.

neomp5 : wait, what's going on with the part where you're trying to prove that he never said he wanted to enslave or conquer them, but then you offer and alternate translation that says "subjugate", which means much the same thing, but you let that go without comment?