La Vega—in Columbus’s Final Thoughts

Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain, on May 20, 1506—515 years ago. In his will of February 1498, he had directed his heirs to build a church on “Española” dedicated to Santa María de Concepción. On his deathbed, he instructed that the church lie in the valley he’d...

Columbus’s Choice of Isabela

In early January 1494, the fleet of Columbus’s second voyage anchored at the site where he founded “Española’s” first permanent European settlement—named Isabela in honor of the queen. Most modern historians roundly criticize Columbus’s selection of the site, but my...

Taíno Resistance

This October 14—528 years ago—Columbus seized his first seven slaves in the Caribbean, only two days after arriving on the island he named “San Salvador,” the Taíno Guanahaní. They were to serve as guides and interpreters. He wrote in his Journal that the island’s...

Discussion of Enemies of the Human Race

526 years ago, on July 7, 1494, an elderly, indigenous man on Cuba’s southern coast admonished Columbus for inspiring great fear and warned that the souls of the enemies of the human race traveled to a dark place on death. Some locations where Columbus and Taíno...