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Columbus's Letter Regarding the Gold

Christopher Columbus posts a letter to Queen Isabella of Castile (Spain) regarding the establishment of colonies on Hispaniola and regulations on the collection and transportation of gold back to Spain. About 90% of the letter concerns individuals collecting gold. They must be registered colonists and receive permission from the mayor to collect gold, accept regular inspections and pay a church tax. When transporting gold back to Spain, a chest will be double locked with a key for the captain and a key for a designated official. Should any gold be found outside of the chest, it will be confiscated on behalf of the Queen. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Queen Isabella is borrowing to the hilt to finance this adventure with the promise of gold, spices and silk in return. With so much gold at stake it is difficult to know who one can trust not to skim off the top... too much. Secondly, planning on a certain return based on precious metals is risky when the so-called plan is to dump ships-full of silver into the economy. This causes INFLATION. Thus you will need MORE silver to buy the same things that it used to buy. Or... if you are selling products, you must charge more for your products so that you can turn around and buy the things you need with that same silver which buys less. The lesson here is that silver is not money. Money is money.[2] [3]

The Indians Pepper-Spray the Colonists of La Isabella

Christopher Columbus is proving to be a better sailor than a governor. After failing to notice that the water barrels were leaking, he and the colonists are forced to drink the local water which is contaminated. Instead of solving his water problem he orders the colonists to plant gardens and build stone walls for a fortress and town. He sends 400 of his men out into the jungle to look for gold. Still believing he is in the East Indies (think the Philippines) he sails away to look for China. He returns a few months later, deathly sick, to find that his men have gone back to Spain to complain, and the colonists are trying to steal food from some of the Taiyo [TAY-no] villages. Columbus looks on as the Indians hurl gourds filled with ashes and ground peppers... a pepper bomb... and attack. When steel meets pepper gourd, steel will win and each small battle pushes the Indians back. The Indians burn their own villages and gardens. By 1496, Columbus will return to Spain to beg for more money. When he returns, La Isabella will have failed. [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Now you understand why the continents Columbus discovered are NOT named "North, Central nor South Columbia." A modern day Boy Scout, First Class, would have had more sense. An Eagle Scout would have had this nailed already. Columbus can sail a ship to find a continent but he can't organize his way out of a paper bag. He is probably sick from a parasite he picked up when he drank the contaminated water around La Isabella. He will continue to suffer from it until his death several years later. FYI, this isn't a race war. Thinking in terms of race is a modern phenomenon. These people don't give a rats backside about race. If they care about anything regarding groups it's religion but it's religion PLUS intent. The Indians have never been offered Christianity so to the Spaniards point of view, the Indians have pure souls but ugly actions which the Spaniards resent... and something else, but that's a longer story. These Spaniards can be jerks but it's not about race.

La Isabella Hit by Its First Hurricane and Its Second

The Spaniards have never experienced a hurricane before. Here it comes. One comes around late-September, some time. Records are not precise. The second will hit in late-October of next year. It will hit the colony of La Isabella so hard that the ships in the harbor will spin around their anchors until the cables break. Three ships will go to the bottom with all hands. [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The records are sparse on hurricanes at this time so take everything with a grain of salt but we all know that hurricanes hit the Caribbean a lot. It must have felt like the hand of God was swatting at... someone. I know there are people that attribute natural disasters to the sins of some person or group of people. I'm not saying it couldn't happen. I'm just not seeing WHY it would happen. For example: I remember this one fellow on YouTube saying that a particular earthquake was caused by the sins of a particular group of people. Doesn't matter which people. I just wonder.... why couldn't God have created the earthquake for Mrs. Abramowitz? Maybe Mrs. A is a pious woman and God foresaw that she would be hit by a bus on Wednesday as she walked to her daughter's charity luncheon. So... God creates a small earthquake which frightens Mrs A so that she calls her daughter and tells her she can't come to the luncheon. Mrs A's life is saved and we don't have to be punishing anyone at all. Why not my theory? My theory is as good as this knucklehead's on YouTube.[7]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1494, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Columbus' letter to the King and Queen of Spain (1494). Internet History Sourcebooks Project, fordham.edu, 1494.
  2. Klondike Gold Rush - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 January 2015.
  3. Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy (BOOK), 3rd, Perseus Books Group, 290, 351, 355. ISBN 9780465002603. 
  4. Indies - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 4 January 2015.
  5. "Chapter 1: Two Monuments", 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (BOOK), Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “In an early form of chemical warfare, the Indians threw gourds stuffed with ashes and ground hot peppers at their attackers, unleashing clouds of choking, blinding smoke. Protective bandannas over their faces, they charged through the tear gas, killing Spaniards.” 
  6. List of Atlantic hurricanes before 1600 - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 4 January 2015.
  7. Alex Shrugged notes: I could provide a link to this guy's YouTube video. He has lots and lots of them along the same lines, but I don't want to promote his stuff. Frankly, the example works even if I made it up from whole cloth (which I did not).

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