In the July 18 Maine Sunday Telegram (“In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus scarred the world anew”), Bill Nemitz lists the misdeeds of Christopher Columbus when he arrived in the Caribbean region in the late 15th century. Mr. Nemitz shows a level of outrage that would be appropriate if a 21st century Italian adventurer named Chris Colombo had just committed these actions. It was the 15th century! The whole world at that time ran on invasion, plunder and slavery.

Slavery at that time was widespread in Africa, Europe and Asia. Just to the west of the Caribbean region, in central Mexico, the Aztec Empire not only practiced slavery, but often literally ripped the hearts out of those slaves in mass human sacrifices. Mr. Nemitz was correct in asserting that the Taino people Columbus encountered in the Bahamas were largely peaceful. However, he made no mention of the Caribs, a native people originally from northeastern South America, who were engaged in a bloody colonizing conquest of the islands of the West Indies in the late 15th century.

Focusing only on the nefarious actions of European explorers and colonizers while ignoring historical context is patronizing at best. At worst it is racist, implying that there is a higher standard of conduct for whites than for other races.

Joseph Sanders

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