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"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."  - Mark Twain

Columbus Education Project

The internet is flooded with memes that spread anti-Columbus propaganda.  Beware of these memes and don't fall victim to their lies.  The anti-Columbus crowds are clever at distorting half truths to mislead you and defame Christopher Columbus.  Here are some examples:

LIE: Columbus Provided Native Sex Slaves to His Men


This meme has been debunked by scholars but you may still find it floating on the web.  The meme makes a false accusation and then tries to use a Columbus quote, out of context, to prove its slanderous lie.


Here are the FACTS:


The quote in the meme comes from a letter written by Columbus to Juana de Las Torres, a female friend of the Queen.  (So right there you have to ask yourself, if Columbus is involved in sex trafficking, why’s he writing about it to the Queen’s friend?) At the time of the writing Columbus had been arrested by Francisco de Bobadilla and sent back to Spain in chains because Columbus had hung Spaniards for committing atrocities against the natives.(1) In this letter Columbus is informing Juana of the ongoing corruption being allowed by Francisco de Bobadilla and Francisco Roldan. 


The actual quote: “For one woman they give a hundred castellanos, as for a farm; and this sort of trading is very common, and there are already a great number of merchants who go in search of girls; there are at this moment some nine or ten on sale; they fetch a good price, let their age be what it will.” (Letter to Juana de las Torres by Columbus, from “Writings of Christopher Columbus,” p. 165.)”

Notice the “nine and ten on sale” is referring to the number of young women on sale at the moment, not the age.  And it is not Columbus searching for these young women, it's “the merchants” Bobadilla is allowing to conduct their operations.  Columbus is not involved in sex trafficking, he’s detesting the actions of the Spaniards. In the end justice prevailed. Failing to restore order in Santo Domingo, Bobadilla was ordered back to Spain by the monarchs, while Columbus was given back all the honors and titles taken from him after his arrest.


“More importantly, those were the actions of the Spaniards, not of Columbus, and he was denouncing them, not applauding them.”

— Rafael Ortiz, author of “Christopher Columbus the Hero: Defending Columbus From Modern-Day Revisionism.”

(1) "Francisco de Bobadilla" Encyclopedia Britanica

LIE: Columbus Was Interested In Slavery
Anchor 1

This meme uses a quote from Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" that intentionally merges 2 of Columbus’ sentences, that have nothing to do with each other, so it seems like he’s looking down on the natives and is interested in enslaving them.  

People see it and think, “Oh those are his words, he’s talking about ‘servants’ and ‘subjugate’, he must be an enslaver! Good enough for me!"  And they're off to tear down his statue.

But no valuable knowledge can be obtained from just 2 sentences, and if you read his journal and the context of those words, the truth emerges and exposes how misleading Howard Zinn and this meme are.

Columbus is recording what he sees and encounters for the first time.  As he island hops he encounters different tribes.  In the meme he describes this particular native tribe’s generous nature.  Then comes the half truth, “They would make fine servants…”  and the ellipses at the end purposely leaves out crucial context! 

When looking at the original Spanish language, which his diary was written in, and as translated by historian John Cummins, and many others, Columbus says, “They MUST BE good servants, and intelligent, for I can see that they quickly repeat everything said to them.  I believe they would readily become Christians.”(1)  Columbus is complimenting these natives as capable and intelligent and when he uses the word “servants” he does not mean slaves. He means they must be good servants to their leaders and chiefs.


The natives had both slaves and servants. From Columbus’ journal December 22,1492, ”The chief of this area, who has a village close to here, sent a large canoe to me full of his people, including one of his principal servants, to ask me to go in the ships to visit his land,”  In the same context, Columbus was a servant to the Queen of Spain.  Bartolome de las Casas, known as “the Apostle and defender of the natives” even called Columbus “an outstanding servant.”(2) Does that mean Columbus was a slave? Did Las Casas want to enslave Columbus?

But what about that “...With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." line?  That line came from a diary entry that was made 3 days later on another island.  This quote was cherry picked by Howard Zinn to take Columbus's words out of context.  Notice the ellipses before that quote.  Howard Zinn purposefully removed crucial context so as to make it seem that Columbus was interested in slavery. In reality, Columbus was considering a location to build a fort but proceeded to tell the King and Queen that he did not see the necessity for one since the natives posed no threat. They lacked fighting experience. How much so? “That with fifty men one could keep the whole population in subjection”
(3).  Here's the entire quote, read it and discern for yourself Columbus's true meaning:

"I bestirred myself to explore all this this morning so as to be able to give Your Majesties a description of it all, and also of a possible site for a fort. I saw a piece of land which is virtually an island; there are six houses on it, and it could be converted into an island with a couple of days' work, although I do not see the necessity. These people have little knowledge of fighting, as Your Majesties will see from the seven I have brought back with us so as to teach them our  language and return them, unless Your Majesties' orders are that they all be taken to Spain or held captive on the island itself, for with fifty men one could keep the whole population in subjection and make them do whatever one wanted."(3)


Columbus is humbly acknowledging that in the end he is a servant of the Majesties and will do whatever they order, but he informs them that the natives on this island are peaceful and smart as he's looking to bring seven of them back to Spain, show them the Old World, teach them the Spanish language and return them to their land.  He's not looking to enslave anyone.  Columbus even adopted one of the Tainos as his own "godson" and when they returned to the New World the native shared his experience with the rest of his tribe.

Finally, if Columbus’ goal was slavery why was he so intent on converting them to Christianity? According to Papal Law Christians could not be enslaved. Why did he not enslave them all right then and there with his 90 men, advanced weapons, and return to Spain a conquering hero? The answer is self evident, slavery was never Columbus’ intent.  If anything he showed respect and admiration for the natives and wanted them to be treated justly:

On Dec 21, 1492 Columbus wrote, “I gave them glass beads, brass rings and hawk bells, not because they demanded them but because I thought it only right, and above all because I look on them as already Christians, and subjects of Your Majesties even more than the people of Castile itself.”
With that quote Columbus sees the natives as equals to the Spaniards in Castile and thus should be awarded the same rights and protection as a Spaniard. And who would the Taino’s need protection from?

"The natives (Tainos) believed Columbus was sent by God to save them from the Caribs, a tribe of cannibals who constantly terrorized them. The Caribs would hunt the Tainos, raping their women, castrating the boys, and killing the men. They cannibalized entire islands before Columbus’s arrival. Ironically, [Howard] Zinn omitted all that information."(4)

Thus we see how the meme uses quotes from Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" that purposely puts 2 lines together to deceive the reader into believing Columbus is thinking of enslavement when in reality the opposite is true. Unfortunately, today this misquote/lie is repeated throughout Hollywood movies, TV shows, and our classrooms to mislead our youth.

(1) The Voyage of Christopher Columbus, Columbus' Own Journal of Discovery" by John Cummins p94
(2) History of the Indies by Las Casas, Book One, Chapter 80

(3) The Voyage of Christopher Columbus, Columbus' Own Journal of Discovery" by John Cummins  p97

(4) Debunking "Top 5 Atrocities Committed by Christopher Columbus" by Rafael Ortiz

LIE: Columbus Terrorized The Natives


This meme, and others like it, tries to promote a narrative that Columbus was feared.  Feared for what reason?  They leave that blank and let the reader’s imagination, fueled by other lies they’ve read, assume: they must have feared Columbus because he was a pillaging, murdering brute! But if you read his journals you get a better understanding of who Columbus was and why the natives feared him.

Oct 21, 1492: “After eating I went ashore, where the only habitation nearby was an empty house.  All the household equipment was still inside, so I think the people must have run away in fear.
I ordered nothing to be touched; instead I set off with my captains and the men to explore the island.” - “The Voyage of Christopher Columbus, Columbus’ Own Journal of Discoveries by John Cummins

Let’s keep reading from the same day: “While looking for water we went to a village nearby, half a league from where I am anchored. When the people heard us coming they left their houses and ran away, hiding their clothes and possessions in the undergrowth. I forbade the men to take even the smallest thing. Then some of the Indians approached us, and one came up to us. I gave him a few bells and glass beads, which pleased him very much, and in order to foster friendship and ask for something in return I had a request put to him for water. When I had returned to the ship they came down to the shore with their calabashes full and gave us the water with signs of pleasure. I ordered them to be given another string of beads and they said they would return in the morning.”

Oct 28, 1492: “I jumped into the boat and went ashore, and found two houses which I think belonged to fishermen, who fled in fear. In one of them was a dog which did not bark. In both houses I found nets of palm fibre, ropes, horn fish hooks, bone harpoons and other fishing equipment. I think many people must live together in each house.
I gave orders for everything to be left alone, and nothing was touched.

Nov 1, 1492: “I sent the boats ashore at sunrise, and the men found that all the people had fled. A good while later one man appeared, and
I ordered him to be left unmolested, and the boats returned. When we had eaten I sent one of the Indians ashore. He shouted to the man from a distance, telling him that we were good people and were doing no harm to anybody, and were not from the Great Khan, but had been giving things away in all the islands which we had visited. Then he jumped into the water and swam ashore, and two of the islanders took him by the arms and led him to a house to question him. When they were sure that no harm was intended them, they were reassured and more than sixteen canoes came out to the ships with cotton thread and other small items.

In all these instances it is clear that Columbus was not a pillaging brute.  The natives feared Columbus because they did not know him.  Once they saw Columbus’ peaceful nature, they went out to greet him and his crew, and even traded with him.

LIE: Columbus enslaved the innocent and raped women


This meme is both misleading and a flat out lie. Again, the purpose of these anti-Columbus memes is not to educate or spread truth, but to spread a lie and radicalize the uneducated.  Here are the facts:

The first part combines two quotes said by Columbus at two separate times to make it seem like he’s a fanatical Christian looking to enslave the masses.

“And thus the eternal God, Our Lord, gives to all those who walk in His way triumph over things which appear to be impossible, and this was notably one.” (1) This is from a letter Columbus wrote to the sovereigns describing his success in discovering the new lands never known to Europe, or the “Old World”,  let alone Spain.  The meme purposefully puts that quote out of context to make it seem like “His way” (the Lord’s way) is to enslave people.

“Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold…”(2)  Anyone that has read Columbus’ journals and the accounts of his contemporaries will know Columbus was not intent on enslaving anyone for manual labor or profits.  His mission was one of evangelization; to convert the natives to Christianity and by doing so, according to Papal law, Christians could not be enslaved.

In his book, “Christopher Columbus and the Christian Church” Rafael Ortiz explains, “To the modern-day uninformed student, that statement sounds insensitive and religiously fanatical…It also gives the misleading impression that Columbus proposed to enslave anyone just for profit…But Columbus only proposed from the beginning to enslave the cannibals who were terrorizing the Caribbean.  He promised chief Guacanagari as an ally he would get rid of them for him. Since Columbus was forced to fight some of the natives of La Espanola, he sent some of them as slaves, or prisoners of war, to Spain.”

That “Columbus described how HE HIMSELF ‘took his pleasure’ with a native woman after whipping her ‘soundly’ with a piece of rope” IS A LIE.  These are the supposed words of Michele de Cuneo, one of the 1,200 passengers on Columbus’ second voyage. In his letter to friend Hieronymo Annari Michele describes his adventures and discoveries in the new world.  I say “supposed words” because the original letter disappeared and the existing manuscript is a copy made by Jacopo Rosetto in 1511 after Columbus’ death.  Some have challenged its authenticity because of inconsistencies in style.  In any case, Columbus never raped a native.  More can be learned about this letter and incident in episode 36 of Christopher Columbus University.

Finally, the only TRUE statement in this entire meme is the last part: Yes, “This man deserves a holiday!”  But only the educated know this.

(1) "The Journal of Christopher Columbus" Translated by Cecil Jane, p201
(2) "Historia de las Indias" by Las Casas, Tomo II Cap. CLI p323


The following memes, and many others like it, try to discredit Christopher Columbus' achievement by saying Vikings discovered North America (New Foundland) 500 years before Columbus.  First off, it's laughable how revisionists have no problem telling everyone you can't "discover" land that's already inhabited, but it's OK for them to say Vikings discovered America first.

Fact is, yes the viking Leif Erikson did stumble upon New Found land 500 years before Columbus.  "According to Eiríks saga rauða (“Erik the Red’s Saga”), while returning to Greenland in about 1000, Leif was blown off course and landed on the North American continent..." (1)  Now notice how revisionists love to laugh at Christopher Columbus and claim he was "lost", but no one laughs at the vikings for being blown off course by a storm, getting lost themselves, and accidentally discovering new land.  No one wants to mention that.  At least Columbus knew where he was heading, WEST, with direction and purpose.  He was going into uncharted waters.  That's what explorers do.  They go into the unknown.  If that makes him "lost" then are we to also laugh at Marco Polo, Vasco Da Gama, James Cook, Lewis and Clark, and every other explorer throughout history, that went out to discover the unknown?  Let's no longer honor them for their bravery, vision, and sense of adventure. Let's mock them instead. It's a sad way to look at these titans of history that had more bravery than most revisionists have today.

Finally, the Vikings' attempt at colonization in North America was unsuccessful. Their settlements were destroyed and any discoveries they may have made were lost to all humanity. Their voyages amounted to nothing in the annals of history.  For the next 500 years the Old World and New World went on living, completely separated, unaware the other existed.


Up until 1492 many sailors would sail around Europe and Africa never losing sight of land.  They stayed close to the continents using their landmarks and shape as guides as to where they were on the sailing journey. Christopher Columbus was willing to lose sight of the shore and sail into the unknown.  Christopher Columbus was the first European to successfully use wind currents to sail across the uncharted waters of the Atlantic, discover new lands, and triumphantly return back with proof of the New World.  It was Columbus' voyages that gave courage to other explorers to come and map out the New World. It was Columbus that started a transatlantic exchange of agriculture, plants, livestock, and cultures that continues to this day!  That's why it's called the "Columbian Exchange" and not the "Leif Erikson Exchange" or the "Viking Exchange".  It was Christopher Columbus' journeys that had the biggest impact on history and ultimately united two worlds separated since the Ice Age.  For that reason Columbus' achievements can not be discredited and when the foolish try to compare Columbus to the Vikings, Columbus always wins hands down.  So Happy Columbus Day!

(1) Britannica:"Leif Erikson":

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