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.

Timi Olotu : This just ruined "Adam Ruins Everything" for me. It's a shame to learn that even Adam uses such cheap tactics to skew facts, for his selfish gains (i.e. views derived from sensationalism). I am grateful for this video though—it helped me realise that I've been giving Adam way too much leeway and sparing him the high level of scepticism I usually employ, when considering other sources of information.

Rob Hild : I study Hispanic literature and am familiar with archaic Spanish and latin. Your idea about slaves versus religious servents was dead on. The word in the journal is seguidores which literally means followers and is used to describe followers of a religion just like in English. Instead, the words escalvo or serviente which are not in the journal would be used to describe a slave.

erwin669 : Columbus Day was originally conceived as an Italian-American Pride Day; sort of like how St Patrick's Day is for the Irish in the US. The Italian-Americans pushed for it to become a national holiday and when the Feds got a hold of it they decided that it needed to more inclusive so the holiday shifted from being proud to be Italian to being about Columbus. So we could have had Get Drunk, Eat Pasta, and Pretend to be Italian Day, but someone messed that up. And good job for debunking the boatload of crap that Adam Ruins Everything and Cracked dump out.

Robert B : Btw, the quote "with 50 men"--if you read the entire context, he's actually making a note to argue AGAINST the King and Queen bringing troops to control the natives. He's explaining, in essence, how weak the natives are and that any military occupation is just over-kill, and that Spain would be better off allowing them to be converted through religious or social means. From a selfish perspective we could look at this as Columbus wanting to keep the military from ruling lands he wanted to rule. But regardless, they always frame it as him bragging about conquering the natives--but with context, he's clearly arguing against any kind of military conquest.

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

Trent Kozelek : I know this video is old... but I happen to be Italian, so I can translate that journal page at 15:50 - "...well done. I Noticed that some of them had signs in their bodies that looked like wounds, and with sign language I asked them how that came to be. They made me understand that some populations from islands nearby tried capture them, so they defended themselves. I understood that some populations come to capture and imprison them. They must be good and of high intelligence as I saw that they would repeat what I told them in a short amount of time. Also, I firmly believe that they could easily become christian as it appears that they have no religion. If my lord agrees with me, when I come back there, I'll bring with me 6 of these men with me so that they learn our language. I haven't seen beasts of any sort, except for some parrots, in this island.>> all the admiral's words."

Frank Delgrosso : Complete agreement with you. On pretty much everything except the blamy bit. No one alive today bears any responsibility for it regardless of when they came to America. I don't care if your ancestor was one of the people mentioned that still doesn't make you culpable in any way. Having said that I think there should be a day of rememberance and celebration of Native American culture and people. It honesly sickens me that we still don't have that.

Spencer Kindra : I'm glad you critiqued cracked's videos because their take on history is just the "condescending liberal douche's guide to history." They're purposely misleading about so much history, it's pretty much propaganda.

Blondie Shackleforde' : 3.2k didn't watch the video and only read the title.

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

TnT FoX : Don't worry, after Columbus I'm sure they'll start talking about how Louis and Clark Gang raped Pocahontas after getting drunk with their frat buddies in a party back in 1485. Wait I might be mixing up crazy rants again.

Jumja : I honestly don't think that people that criticize Columbus are actually criticizing him specifically, but criticizing the mythology built up around him, i'm sure most people know that Columbus wasn't the first European in the Americas, they know it was Leif Ericsson, and they also know that Columbus had no way of knowing the vikings were on the continent centuries prior, however they're actually angry about how our educational systems create the belief in children that Columbus was the first European in America or that he actually came to the United States or any of the myths about him that education in schools has perpetrated for a long time. And so because of this outcry about Columbus the school sylabus has been slowly changing to stop pushing these myths forward.

Hello There : Post this link in every anti columbus video

Ioannis Morakis : Well in Latin America its call the "Día de la Raza" (day of the races), "Pan-America day" or the "Discovery day" witch celebrate the mixture of culture and races, I think the USA should have something like that. In Latin America we celebrate what the discovery of america created, a new culture, we don't celebrate the achivement of one person, witch is what I think the main issue of the colombus day is, it was created so Italins would be accepted as americans and so it try to romanticized the Italian that discovered America and to me romanticizing history is as bad as exaggerating it

Jobin : I thought this video would just be a bunch of weak points with filler, but you actually changed my opinion.

Salokin : Video: Columbus was a "bad" person, however was just a normal explorer/conqueror for the times Comments: HE WAS A SAINT AND THE NATIVES DESERVED IT!

robbo28 : "They were forced to work against their will, but nobody owned them" ... uh huh.

Ayla Stewart Wife With A Purpose : Thank you so much for amazing research! I homeschool my children and this was super useful for my teens! I'm so grateful!

Andrew McArthur : I would translate it to mean (with my life experience as a fluent Spanish speaker) "They should come to be good servants, and of good mental capacity, for I have noticed they have quickly repeated everything I have said to them. Furthermore I think that slowly" (or perhaps "with time") "we can make them Christians..." The translations were done well, and I wouldn't trust Google translate at all, it is a God aweful source. I suggest you find someone who speaks good Spanish to translate for you next time. You could even call a local University to consult with a professor. For that second tid bit "because with 50 men I all of them could be conquered, and made to do anything that I want."

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

Steven Gordon : Wow. Just wow. You’re obviously just a privileged, entitled white male. You shouldn’t be allowed to talk about *anything* Haha lol jk, i liek u, ur cool. You’re no ME, but hey, who is these days. Just me. What can ya do, ya know? Nothing. Great vid on Chrisofo-Colombo by the way, I loved it & learned all of the facts of it Anyway I want to know what you think so lemme know in the comments below and don’t forget to like me on patreon a’bye

ni ko : Thumbs up for colonialism.

Tenacious Dean : I still think it's important to not overlook the fact that he was like "these are the kindest and most hospitable people I've ever met, they know nothing of fear or anger" to "they would be perfect to subjugate, we can use 50 men to do it"

jravage77 : 1st let me say I hate generalizing and demoning White people. Now at 16:25 He's saying he'll keep them captive on their island if the Queen wants and it will only take 50 men to do it. 18:12 If you're forced to work against your will without pay you are slave;indeed, at 28:51 line 21 he clearly uses the word slavery. What was the death toll during Colombus's admittedly short regime? He is complicit and he had negative intent even if he did seem to regret later. Still good vid.

Emmett Leone-Woods : Considering his habit of torturing, mutilating, and immolating people I'm not exactly inclined to give Columbus the benefit of the doubt that he was not talking about enslaving or conquering people. And by definition a person who is forced to work against their will is a slave, the fact that other Spanish peasants were treated the same doesn't make them any less slaves. Also as many native Spanish speakers have pointed out in the comments your arguments on language and translation are bullshit. Finally I find it rather hypocritical that in a video talking about how people Misrepresent Columbus to make him seem worse than he was you do the exact same thing to Bartolomé de las Casas by intentionally omitting the fact that he latter fought against slavery and the importation of African Slaves.

Nuno R : If you are ignorant of the Spanish and Italian languages, don't try to judge translations. That part of your video was embarrassingly flawed (you even imply that the Italian version translates 'servidores' as 'cristiani' when this is completely wrong; the word appears in the next sentence as a translation of Spanish 'cristianos'). It completely destroys your credibility.

Anonymously Done : This isn’t related to the whole argument about morality, but I want to point out that by the time Columbus found the Americas, the European greatsword had only just been invented in earnest, if at all, and full plate armour had not yet reached it’s peak with the Maximilian style in the early to mid 16th century. It’s interesting to put these things into historical perspective.

funstuff81girl : I'm black I'm not feeling guilty about this mess.

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.

Rhaaffie : I really love how unbiased this video is. And that is not sarcasm. Neither is that. or that. plus I 100% agree with what you said about the intent mattering when we label crimes. 100% nail on the head.

Calvin Coolidge : So you are saying that Columbus is evil, but the degree is exaggerated? Way to defend him.

HooDatDonDar : HooDatDonDar Columbus left a continent in which, as elsewhere in the world, religious persecution, slavery, and civil wars were commonplace — and found mostly the same in the New World; the difference in destruction was largely one of scale that hinged on demography and smaller New World populations. Otherwise, the organization and efficacy of religiously driven human sacrifices of Aztec prisoners and subjects sometimes had a proto-Auschwitzean nature about them — but without dissident voices and opposition. So, what did Columbus accomplish? If demography was destiny, he found a New World in which, to take one later example, North America was by European standards largely underpopulated and his successors opened it to exploration and settlement from a continent whose cities were sometimes 100 times more densely populated. Whereas Europeans had the ability to navigate around the world, indigenous people tragically did not. The logical result was that the more technologically advanced, poor, and overpopulated were going to seek out the naturally rich and sparsely settled, not out of evil per se, but out of collective individual desires to survive and prosper. Both tragedy and civilization followed. It is fashionable to trash the civilization that created Columbus as destructive and pathological, but those who do so often have never experienced the alternative first-hand or at length, and assume that their own prosperity, security, and protected freedoms are birthrights rather than fragilities that exist largely only in the West and Westernized Asia or emanate only from the Western anomalies of self-criticism, secular rationalism, unfettered inquiry, free expression, constitutional government, free-market economics, private property and religious tolerance. None of which existed among the Indians. And research any given tribes treatment of women sometime, for extra shock.

Hector Rojas : I dont understand why people in América (north and south) hate Colombus so much if It is widely known that the worst acts against the natives where done once the american countries gained their independence. USA citizens should blame and delete from history a good number of their presidents then. Great video.

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.

Roman Cabay : HOW IS THIS VIDEO NOT DEMONETIZED????? I'm actually glad that it isn't, I just don't understand why.

Ja-Shwa Cardell : re: the section that ended at roughly 17:00 Yes. it's possible that he was taken out of context and he didn't really mean slaves in his journal, but, his journal can be cross confirmed with his actions, and through his actions we can glean what the proper interpretation of his journal might be. Columbus began a process of particularly brutal slavery, worse even than Chattel slavery in it's savagery and committed a mass slaughter against the Taino people. I think his actions carry much more weight than possible interpretations of his words. Talk to the people who live in La Republica Dominicana, who live in the area most affected by Columbus, who still have the relics of these victimized peoples standing among them, and you'll see that there is very real evidence that Columbus was an "evil" person. You may not be trying to minimize anything, but you are. regardless, this is a good video, even though I disagree with key portions of it, and you've got my subscription.

RobertRTB9 : Hey nice video, clearly you put a lot of time and thought into this. I still think you are misleading with saying an exaggerated evil though. Most of your points were that he was not stupid (think the earth is flat, or a pear shape etc.) which I 100% agree. The second is that he wasn’t going for genocide, I absolutely agree with that as well. But you brush over things such as the 19:50 mark about cutting off hands saying “he was doing that to the Spanish, I’m sure he Also did that to the natives but the king and queen didn’t care about them”... Sooo yea, he chopped of men, women and children’s hands dude... you don’t just get to say “well he did it to his people too”. That doesn’t make it better. Lol. You also kind of make an excuse saying well we are comparing to today’s standards, it was more normal back then. That still doesn’t make it better... I do really like that you cleared up some obvious wrong information being spread. But he was a pretty terrible dude. Influential, yes. Good, no.

PrimoMagazine : We should celebrate "Columbus Day." He rightly discovered North and South America. Without him, we would not be here. He symbolizes the settlement of America. He is the spirit of America; a breaking away from the Old World to the New. Not just Italians, but Spanish, Portugese and all those who make up the first-comers to the New World love Columbus.

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.

Ric Sims : but..but white people need to feel guilty about themselves!

Brian Arbenz : Your exaggerations are exaggerated. It is not reports of Columbus seeking sexual slavery or believing in the pear shaped Earth that are at the center of criticism of him or his legacy. You admit Columbus "probably did" murder and forcibly amputate the Taino, and you only suggest alternate translations of his journal entries. The versions of him calling for obliterating the Arawak and Taino are equally reliable. Yes, you show that the absolute notions are oversimplified by zeal. But you don't make a strong case that Columbus has been misjudged.

zeleni sok : 16:20 Really, Some News is biased for choosing a translation which says "conquer and govern" bc alternative translations exist, and the alternative translation you show says "subjugate" hahaha, as if "subjugate" is much different or better? xD What was that? You got so into the big-brain-rational-centrist role (/caricature) you do nonsense like this? Also saying they weren't slaves, but "only" forced to work, in tone as if that's much better? Couldn't have said that in a different way? Really, man, cmon. You could have gives these interesting info (like that about the letter) without blunders like this.

Richard Mattingly : Every band, clan, or tribe has its cultural myths/enemies, and Columbus serves that need for many indigenous people in the America's even though they had all the evils known to "mankind" before first contact. Indeed Adam Ruins Everything is often guilty of doing bad research and Columbus was just first and its disease that makes him look like the Hitler of 1492 for many though others deserve it more than him.

Tech Showdown : Awesome video dude, very informative, I think another interesting person to look at is Calvin Coolidge since most people say he caused The Great Depression to see if he truly did or not.

Marcos Reves : People nowadays loves Tesla and kinda hates Edison. Is it true the first one was a genius and the latter a salesman who just profited on other people's ideas?

The Berk of the Berkshire : Claiming that conquer and subjugate aren't synonymous is exactly as disingenuous as you frequently accuse others of being.

SC98 : Columbus was a pioneer of the West, and that's all I need to know to respect him and support his holiday. Every people has their heroes, and those who want to throw him under the bus are contemptible. I'm sure the Mongolians don't lose sleep over all the raping and pillaging of Genghis Khan. He is their own, he fought for them, and that's good enough. This of course shouldn't be interpreted as meaning we'd be willing to repeat these actions. When you compare that normal and healthy attitude to that of white Western liberals (NOT ALL), you realize there is something defective about their mindset.

TnT FoX : The only people who question if we should Celebrate Columbus day are whiny people with nothing better to do in their lives. So what if he didn't discover America... that is just the dumbed down example they each kids in school. It was an important exploration that greatly effected American history for the good and the bad. (as in North/South America not just USA)