October 12: In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-three

Columbus filed a report. It is like the famous Herman Mankiewicz telegram:
In 1926 Mankiewicz left a job as drama editor at The New Yorker magazine to write for Hollywood. Shortly after his arrival on the West Coast, he sent a telegram to journalist-friend Ben Hecht in New York: "Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots."
Compare and contrast with:
Hispaniola is a marvel. Its hills and mountains, fine plains and open country, are rich and fertile for planting and for pasturage, and for building towns and villages. The seaports there are incredibly fine, as also the magnificent rivers, most of which bear gold. ... They have no iron, nor steel, nor weapons, nor are they fit for them, because although they are well-made men of commanding stature, they appear extraordinarily timid. The only arms they have are sticks of cane, cut when in seed, with a sharpened stick at the end, and they are afraid to use these.
Did Hispaniola even have gold? If so, this is the first bullshit real-estate prospectus in our hemisphere -- so everything we needed for our civilization was there right at the start, including this, which makes me smile:
But our Redeemer has given victory to our most illustrious King and Queen, and to their Kingdoms rendered famous by this glorious event, at which all Christendom should rejoice...with fervent prayers for the high distinction that will accrue to them from turning so many peoples to our holy faith; and also from the temporal benefits that not only Spain but all Christian nations will obtain.
God made us our money!

I know there should be a certain amount of deploring over the European depredation that began with this letter, and I see it, but, being an American and all, I don't wish to wish myself other than what I am; and, without Columbus, there wouldn't be this picture from a Columbus Day parade:
That's America to me.

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