VOICE FOR AN INDEPENDENT MONTSERRAT
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE CARIBBEAN PAN-AFRICAN MOVEMENT
In 1978 Montserrat had already achieved internal self government and was in an excellent position to nurture in the minds of its people the necessity for us to determine our own destiny.
Within the past 5 years all that was achieved has been eroded.
Every recommendation made in the Gallagher Report (issued after the so-called off-shore banking scandal) has been covertly or overtly put into place and today we find ourselves in a position that is reminiscent of Government in Montserrat during the Merchant-plantocracy era.
Key departments in government are been directly or indirectly run by Englishmen. Each day we hear of more British personnel coming and more local control being taken over by them.
The Gallagher Report states that only British lawyers, accountants and managers should be allowed to control the lucrative offshore financing institutions of the island. Not only are the British taking over the public sector of the island, they also intend to enter the private sector and dominate it.
Soon after after hurricane Hugo had devastated Montserrat, the British Government presented the island with a Constitution. The people were so busy worrying about securing the basic necessities of life that very few of us took time to see what the document that governed our lives said.
To this day very few of us have given the Constitution serious attention. To be quite frank there was not much new in it, but reading about all the various forms of control that we are subjected to in a single document, shocked many of us who took time to read it.
I've now completed my visits to the dependent territories for the moment. I've been to all the dependent territories now ...to four of them, four of the Caribbean Dependent territories on this visit and the Cayman Islands last year.
Now the reason I wanted to come at this moment was because for several months we've been conducting a review in the foreign Office of the Dependent Territories against the background of two important features and they are this, the features.
First, that we are totally committed to good government in the dependent territories, in all of them, and in Montserrat as in the others. That I think you all know. The standards of good government are something that Britain is proud of and wishes to see, wherever it's responsible, promoted.
Alongside good government, of course, is the need for good, sound, honest investment. It's no use having shady investors and there are enough of them around in this part of the world coming to assist in the economies of these small islands. You've got to have good, substantial, honest, reliable investment and we are committed to rooting out any shady investment of any kind wherever we have responsibility.
That's the background to our review, with perhaps a third feature which is that there has been, notwithstanding all the difficulties you have suffered, a success over the last 20 years and even since the appalling problems caused by Hurricane Hugo, some three years ago, there's been a success in reconstruction of your country and developing your economy.
Now, our review has concluded that we have to pay more attention in government in London to the dependent territories, more of our imaginative attention. I'm just not talking about aid. Now I will say something about aid as well.
There's going to be a board, a dependent territories board, which will be chaired by me and staffed by officials from a whole range of departments in government, from the foreign office, the O.D.A., from the home office, the department of industry, from the department of transport and from the ministry of defense, for example, and other officials as well. And we will, in this board, focus our collective minds, in a general way, on the aspirations and wishes and future of the dependent territories.
Of course, aid in the case of Montserrat has played a large part in its past relationship with Britain and I'm sure that aid will continue, for some time to come, to be a feature with our relationship with you. But that isn't the only thing we can do because what we can do is to give you the collective advice of people in government in London as to how you should proceed.
Aid will play a part, however, as it has in the past, an important part, and we're reorganising the Secretariat, the staff, in Bridgetown in Barbados to form a new secretariat focussed entirely on the dependent territories.
The Dependent Territories Secretariat would have no responsibility for any other area in the Caribbean which is not a dependent territory. They would just look to the five Caribbean dependent territories. We envisage, that Secretariat will be answerable to me in London and this Board which I have referred to. We will communicate as we have in the past through the Governor, through him and his staff and we are increasing some of his administrative staff here with an extra person who'll come from the diplomatic service but that's a very small part of the whole framework I am describing.
Now, at the same time, we envisage also to proceed in the way we have with the Turks and Caicos Islands in one important respect and that is, in the TCI, the O.D.A. officials have negotiated a country policy plan which is a plan based on a three-year arrangement of where the British Government hopes we will be in TCI in three years and where the TCI people hope they will be. That's to say, both sides come to a partnership agreement in setting forth, in a document everyone can refer to, what each side will do over the following three years.
What the British government wishes the TCI to do. What the TCI hopes the British Government will be able to do ??? aid. And that's reviewable each year. It's an agreed plan which is reviewable each year and progresses on a three-yearly basis. And that I think will be an important feature in times to come as well.
Well, there by way of introduction is the major reason to explain this new board of management for my visit at this time. But of course, I've been very pleased to be have been warmly entertained by your Chief Minister and by the Governor and all the other officials and business people whom I've met.
Q. So maybe I should ask, could you tell us where lies the renewed interest in the British government in the dependent territories? Why is the British Government place interest in .... It seems as if there is some rejuvenation of the interest.
A. Well let me answer that. That's a very reasonable question because I've just set out what must mean a renewed interest in your aspirations and future. None of us knows where we are going to be in 10, 20 or 30 years time. The further you go on, the harder it is to predict the future. But one thing is certain is that countries like Montserrat will want to get more prosperous and we want to play our part in assisting that which is to obviously through our aid program to give what assistance we can in that area which we have in the past. But it's also to ensure that you get the right sort of investment. We feel we have not been paying enough official attention to your needs over recent years. We've got to be frank about it. We want to do more, in our thinking about your future because, for example, as I've said on may occasions throughout my trip, officials from the Home Office don't spend their time thinking about Montserrat. Many people in the Foreign office or those responsible in the Foreign Office do think about Montserrat, probably, on a daily basis. But other departments of Whitehall don't and it's very important that we should have regular meetings of all the people who could give assistance, help, advice and guidance to the Foreign Office in its dealings with the countries like Montserrat, meet together at a regular meeting point in order to discuss these things.
Q. So then you see a need to incorporate say dependent territories' citizens into this program board you were referring to earlier?
A. Well it isn't a form of government of the dependent territories that we are instituting in this board. I've been asked on my trip earlier, "how would we be represented?" I was asked, I think in TCI, but are we to be represented on this dependent territories board? The answer is no because it isn't actually this board which is going to govern the dependent territories. The same method of government of the dependent territories is going to continue now. At least I have no reason to envisage otherwise at this moment, as has in the past. That is to say, there are some powers which have been devolved through local constitu- tions to the local council of ministers, minis- terial ministers and there are some powers which were reserved for the Governor. Broadly, I envisage that continuing in exactly that same way. But this board in London will be there to help the British Government focus its mind on the needs of Montserrat and to bring advice through the Governor to the government in Montserrat and give guidance and help.
Q. Mr. Minister, we have seen an increase in British aid. His excellency has been spending some funds on development projects on the island. Is it that the British government now is more comfortable with the present administration?
A. Well, the British Government wishes to see administrations with people of integrity and which are democratically elected. We have always maintained an aid program in Montserrat. It hasn't changed over the years. We were very generous after hurricane hugo in 1989 for obvious reasons. So our aid program has not been affected by the complexion of the government here. We have, of course, reserve powers which we have not hesitated to exercise when we've felt that that was necessary. So in terms of good government we've still been able maintain a significant and important aid program in Montserrat.
Q. If I may just be allowed to follow up on something? In light of the world recession and the impact that it's had on the situation in Britain, on Britons at home, do you perceive that it will affect the amount of aid that comes to Montserrat and some of the other dependent territories?
A. Well, it's a perfectly reasonable question. I hope not, is the answer to that and I think that I can say that I don't have any particular fear that it will but I don't want to give a categoric assurance about it because the aid budget in Britain of the British government which, of course, the help for Montserrat comes from, is under threat and our public expenditure ?? and your public expenditure considerations by your local government consideration has to be given to cuts, so it's happening in London and I'm afraid in a big way. One area there maybe a request for cuts is in the aid program. I hope it won't succeed and I hope even if it did succeed we'd manage to protect the dependent territories within that but I can't promise it absolutely, categorically. So you're right to raise that. It is a problem.
Q. While we are on the question of aid for Montserrat, Mr. Minister, would it be possible if Montserrat were to use up all the aid that is allocated to it in the normal allocation arrangement, if this aid were all used up and Montserrat has ?? absorbed its capacity, would more money be available to use?
A. Well, we had a visit earlier this year, didn't we? Or we had an aid agreement earlier this year which sets forth agreed objectives and an agreed amount of aid for a three-year period. Now all that gets reviewed on an annual basis as we all know. But there's no way we're going to be able to find any fund, any sum of money which is outside that agreed program. We just don't have any more money. We have to operate on that basis and we will obviously look at your requests and needs each year that you provide them, as we do with other places. But we haven't got any money somehow which we haven't thought we had which we can dig into in order to help to countries like Montserrat.
Q. But if somebody were to underspend the allocation?
A. Well what happens, you see, if you underspend your allocation in one year, you can't just have it next year because next year's already been planned to go to someone else. So it has to be looked at in the round and if someone else who was going to get some money next year ... if that project which was planned for next year in another country falls down for some reason, which does happen, maybe there is something available. But just because funds haven't been spent this year doesn't mean to say that the money is waiting to be spent next year. It's next year's money, not this year's money. And, also what hap- pens is when an underspend in one country you can be sure that money is spent that year somewhere else in some disaster or in some other emergency allocation which is required to deal with the current problem.
Q. There seems to be some renewed emphasis and concentration on the operations of the dependant territories and if Britain had a choice what direction economically would it want to see Montserrat move towards?
A. Well it isn't just a matter of choice is it? But except in this. We only want Montserrat to move in the direction of good sound money we don't want any shady characters coming we can't possibly do business or wish to see you do business with anyone who is question- able criminally records or is involved with any nefarious illegal activities we are absolutely committed to that but as to the direction once you have made that principal clear it really is a question of where the opportunities lie. Now I am afraid although offshore finance has been attractive for a number of countries like Montserrat dependent countries in the Caribbean in recent years I don't think it's going to be in years to come. Though I expect there will be a market for you in that area, I don't think it's likely to be as good as the market in the past because increasingly we are getting concerned in Europe about scandals like Robert Maxwell, like BCCI scandal, and I think that we are going to expect countries like Montserrat to have the same standards of regulation disclosure and so forth that we have in Britain and in the rest of Europe because we can't have situations where people can hide the ownership of offshore companies which are registered in countries in the Carib- bean and the legal authorities in Europe and America can't go behind those registrations to find out who owns them, for example. Of course, you have advantages that we don't have you have all the sunshine and you have environment which is different from the environment in Britain but you can't, we can't expect the development of an offshore finance industry which is based on confidentiality which goes further than the confidentiality people are entitled to in Europe so I don't see that as a great goal for the future. I am always open to suggestions. We all spend a lot of time thinking of the future of Montserrat, I am sure, but I fear that there aren't any brilliant ideas or magic solutions. As usual it's a hard ground. Tourism will play a very large part in the future as it has in the past.
Q. So you would agree that the offshore finance didn't play some part in the past? I mean, perhaps it is a past you wouldn't want to remember. Why did it take so long for the British government to see that something was going amiss not only in Montserrat but in some of the other dependent territories as far as offshore finance which seems to be sort of lucrative directions?
A. Well I don't know that it did take us as long to see that it had been going amiss. We have been seen it going amiss for sometime ago but our earlier fears were more than confirmed by scandals like the Maxwell and BCCI scandals. I mean that's what all got all the publicity in recent months. And you've read about that and you've thought about that. We knew these dangers were always there and I don't think we've been so far off the mark. It takes time to get countries like Montserrat to have the new legislation. There's still some more things that you will have to do here which we will be pressing you about and there hasn't been time for your legislature to do it. Don't think there is anything new about this. What is new are two major scandals which everybody in the world who knows anything about offshore finance has heard about and those are the two I've referred to.
Q. The airport, Blackburne airport, what priorities has the British government given to that? We realize that without a good airport, a better airport, economic growth might be stifled to some extent. Can you tell me what the British government ... what priority they put on that?
A. Now the airport. Yes we have paid through ODA funds for a study of the airport, a feasibility study which is just about to come out and be available for scrutiny. I believe it is in draft form. I haven't seen it myself. When we agreed to pay for the study, we made it quite clear that we didn't give at that stage and couldn't give any undertakings at all that that we were going to be able to find the money to assist you to build this airport. We will have to look at this report when it comes and it will be available very soon. Of course I can see the aspirations of everyone in the island for a new airport because quite clearly that the present airport doesn't serve all the needs that you would like to have served there. But the difference between what you may get from the European investment bank and you may get from your own resources, such as they are, and what is needed, is gigantic and we have to tell you can't find any more funds. You asked earlier will there be more funds? We can't find anymore funds other than the ones you know we have allocated in the next three years. And when it comes to considering the report if it is favourable, it might say it's not right to do an airport though, I don't suppose its likely to be as depressing a read as that. But if it's opti- mistic about the prospects of an airport, we will have to look to see if there is something we can do to help put a package together. It's not going to be easy but we will look at it when we have studied the report.
Q. Would you agree that the airport as it stands now does not fit into the sort of aspirations and ambitions you have for Montserrat and Montserratian self-development? Is there is any priority in this effort or is way back on the back burner? Where is it? Where does Montserrat come?...
A. It's so difficult to give a precise answer to a question which is seeking to get enthusiasm for something for which there is no funds to pay for ----laughter--- That's the point. I can understand your aspirations for wanting the airport but I have to put my answer in a slightly pointed way. You have to deal with priorities. Do you want an airport? Do you want an airport and a hospital? Do you want an airport and a hospital and roads? Do you want an airport and a hospital and roads and something else? I mean all these things are things that people want here and choices have to be made and the airport is the most expen- sive one of all those items too so when the choice is made in that category it means sacrificing an awful lot of other aspirations. You can't have them all. So we will have to see when the report comes whether there is something we can do to help you put a package together, but I don't want to hold out any hope now and it does depend on a favourable report.
Q. My question has to do with a specific group of people. These are some pensioners who lived in Britain for a very long time and have now returned home to Montserrat. Now it has always been their concern that whenever there has been increase in whether wages, salaries or cost of living benefits in Britain increased, the pensioners in Britain get an increase but not those outside of Britain or those of the dependent territories such as the case of Montserrat. Now is this kind of situation been looked at in the sense that it might create a much better situation for pensioners in Montserrat?
A. Well it has been looked at but I want to look at again. I want to explain a few things as well. The first thing I'd like to explain is that everyone who has paid pension contributions tends to think, and I've heard it many times from my own constituents, Oh, I've paid my contributions for 20 years, you know, I should be entitled to this, that and everything else, because I've paid for it. Well the first point I'm afraid I'll have to make is people haven't paid for it by paying their contributions for 20 years because their pensions cost far more to produce than their contributions ever got into the system. In fact, all our social benefit system, including pensions now, is paid for out of other sources of taxation. Current sources of taxation pay the pensions of today. The contributions of the past do not meet the bill of today. That's the first point and that is true of Montserrat- ians as well as people who are living in Britain. And the second point is that I'm afraid Montserratians are not alone in this worried preoccupation because they're are many many people who have left Britain, who have worked all their lives, born in Britain, worked in Britain all their lives, moved abroad to retire to countries like Canada, New Zealand and Australia who if Montserratians are given this increment and establishes this precedent which grows and there's great pressure therefore for all these people to be so treated in the same way. Now that would be very expensive indeed. That would be close to 300 million pounds and it would mean that some form of social provision in Britain, as of today, would have to be reduced by 300 million pounds in order to pay for it. That's a political decision which is very difficult in Britain. And I think that you can you see that it is not unreasonable for them to be very worried about it. However, when this Board is instituted, we will look at this to see if I'm right in my analysis as I've described it to you or not to see if they're any other factors that should be taken into account. And another thing we'll look, which is marginal but may be of some help, if it's requested by individuals is the possibility of pensions being paid, not by post from Britain, but by some form of bank transfer to your government here and then available in cash form to individuals here. If they wish to be paid in that way we'll look at that as well.
Q. So in actual fact if the pensioners want to leave England, this is the price that they pay?
A. Well I fear that's putting it bluntly but I do accept your words. Our social provisions in Britain, paid for out of taxes is in order to provide a large measure of assistance to people who live in Britain. It is true that in other countries, in European community in particular, they are entitled to this benefit as well but that is because the European com- munity is getting more integrated. And it is true that there are some other countries in the world who have the benefit that you are seek- ing in Montserrat. But I do know that it is impossible to extend it on the wide scale and I fear it's going to become called for increas- ingly if this form of extra benefit was extended.
Q. If a pensioner on Montserrat becomes sick...I mean, normally there in Britain, they would have had the service of your health insurance and all the rest of it. If a pensioner on Montserrat gets sick, can that person go back to England for medical treatment under your national health insur- ance arrangement?
A. Well I think we do treat anyone who arrives in Britain who's sick as far as I'm aware. Yes, but I think that's true. I think we do. We treat anyone who is sick in Britain. We can give them assistance. Yes. So people can go back but of course if they are very sick, they probably would hate to contemplate the journey. It would be very bad for their health if they did. Oh, they've go to pay their ticket, yes.
Q. Mr Minister, what light can you shed on some information that the British government has approved some funding for artillery antiquities on the island?
A. I mentioned it today and we are giving some three thousand pounds to set up a little area down near the war memorial where some cannons from the 18th and 19th century would be arranged attractively.
Q. I'm not so sure if I understand you equating the pensioner who lives in a dependent territory with the pensioner who lives in New Zealand and Australia. I'm not sure...
A. Well, it is, he is. In fact he will claim a greater right than you. In fact, he will say I don't agree with you at all. He will say, I was born in Britain. My father was born in Britain. My grandfather was born in Britain. I went to school in Britain. I worked all my life in Britain. I've gone to live in Canada when I'm an old person. I should be entitled to the uprate in pension before anyone else. Certainly before someone who came to Britain in middle age or middle life or as a young man or worked there and then went back home. I'm actually someone who's left home and gone abroad and I should be entitled before that dependent territory. That is what he's going to say. I tell you, I've heard people say things like this. So, you see how everybody else sees it from their own perspective and I'm afraid that's a feature of it.
Q. What hope do you hold out for the pensioners on the other dependent islands?
A. Well I've explained to them I think in the same terms that I've explained to you that we will look at it again on the board. I didn't hold very much, I didn't hold a lot of hope.
Q. Are the British pensioners who live on Montserrat allowed the same arrangement as Montserratians who've lived in England for many years and returned to Montserrat?
A. Yes. They won't get it either. If some of the English born people, who have a right of abode in Britain and all that and come and live and retire here, they won't get the uprate. No, you see? They won't get it. There's no discrimination.
Q. Mr. Minister you spoke earlier of paying more attention to the dependent territories. These are hard economic times. We think too that we should try to help ourselves some- what. I was wondering what Britain's attitude would be, if there would be any impediments to local government borrowing or deficit financing in order to help relieve the economic pressures that exist without being totally dependent on foreign aid?
A. Well this is a very difficult area but I think it is an important area. It certainly would be very difficult to envisage any of the current problems being relieved by deficit financing. I wouldn't envisage that for the moment but as the economy of Montserrat develops and becomes a more developed machine and so forth, I do not rule out on grounds of principle, the possibility of consideration of what you are saying. It's something that ought to be looked at in due course but I don't think it would be wise for anyone to imagine that it's going to be available at the moment to solve current problems. I don't think that would be right.
Q. But would the permission of HMG be required before the local government made any decision to borrow money for whatever reason?
A. Yes it would. It would and it would for this reason: we pick up the tab if you can't. I mean, we are ultimately responsible for Montserratian debts, national debts and so we would have to give clearance and not only foreign office but the British treasury would want to give clearance and they're notoriously mean aren't they? As all my colleagues will know from the foreign office, they are notoriously difficult about these things. So we would have to do a lot of work on it before it could be considered. But I personally don't rule it out on the grounds of principle.
Q. Just some observations. There seems to be one operative word today which was partnership. Partnership. I think you mentioned it several times and I think our Chief Minister mentioned partnership several times. What does it really going to mean as a result of your visit to Montserrat? How do you see this partnership really developing to the benefit of Montserratians?
A. We talked of partnership. Quite. Yes. Now I think the point I'd like to make here is as I touched upon in my earlier remarks, we are envisaging a country policy plan. It's an agreed plan, an agreed country policy plan. That means agreed between the two sides. At least the staff has thrashed out and a consensus reached between the two parties of this negotiation. That's why it's a partnership and in that, we envisage setting forth our concerns and aspirations in terms of good government and we envisage your government setting forth its aspirations in terms of good government in terms of aid support and so forth. That's the way we see it going. It's the agreed plan for three years, reviewable each year. I think that is a substantive answer to your question which was rather doubtful as to whether there was any genuine partnership envisaged.
Q. I was also concerned as to how this new, probably renewed friendship will redound to the benefit of Montserratians. How do you see it benefiting?
A. Well if it benefits people in their standard of living it will enhance the relationship won't it?
Mod. Any other questions?
A. I think I must go. I know that someone is waiting for me.
Columbus died in 1506, penniless and forgotten just two years after he made his final voyage. Today we have presented to us, a giant of a man who "discovered the new world" and opened it up to be civilized.
The entire world is now aware that Christopher Columbus discovered nothing. That, however, has not stopped the textbook writers from stating, or the school teachers from teaching, that Columbus discovered.
Afrikans were in the "Americas" two thousand years before Columbus, and Afrikans were trading in the Antilles during the era of Columbus.
Christopher Columbus grew up on the adventures of Marco Polo. At age fourteen, Columbus was already sailing on the Mediterranean and by sixteen he had taken a fulltime job as a crew member on a pirate vessel. By the time he was eighteen, Columbus joined Portugal's mercenary army and had no qualms about going to war against his own country, Genoa.
The European man of the early sixteenth century was the end product of seven hundred years of Roman Catholic indoctrination and seven hundred years of war against people of color with an opposing religion. The economy of the entire region revolved around war and the social fabric was laced with the religious interpretations of the Roman Catholic Church.
Humanity linked to Christianity was already deeply impressed in their psyche. Killing a non-christian came as easy as killing a roach. Soldiers of fortune could be found throughout the entire region as the Christian forces continued their onslaught against the last stronghold of the Moors/Afrikan Moslem empire in Spain.
There was no doubt in the minds of these soldiers that they had the right to destroy all people who were not Christians. The church sanctioned it, and the state rewarded it. In order for the sixteenth century man to gain riches in his lifetime he had to be willing to go out into the world and take what he wanted by any means necessary.
Christopher Columbus was a man of his times and he wanted fortune and fame more than anything else. At the age of twenty two (1478) Columbus was trafficking between the west Afrikan coast and the Madeira islands for his wife's brother. By this time the sugar industry was already flourishing and the trafficking of captured Afrikans had already begun.
It was a habit of the ships' captains when they did not get enough cargo to make their trip profitable, to go along the coast and kidnap Afrikans. A major part of Christopher's cargo were Afrikans bound for the slave markets of the Europeans.
In 1492, the war for control of Spanish territory between the Moors/Afrikans Moslems and the Roman Catholic Christians came to an end. After eight hundred years of domination by a civilization that far outclassed anything in Europe the last Moslem stronghold in Spain surrendered to Ferdinand.
When the war ended, there was mass unemployment in the region for the large numbers of soldiers of fortune who made their living by the sword following the armed camps to whatever region the next campaign was taking place. These were the men who would become the vanguard for the destruction that was to follow.
On his first voyage into the Antilles, upon seeing the Arawaks, Columbus noted in his diary, "As soon as I arrived in the Indies on the first island which I found I took some (6) of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of what there was in these parts. .... They should be good servants. .... They are good to be ordered about, to work and sow and do all that is necessary. .... Once they have got rid of the habits to which they are accustomed they will be better than any other kind of slave. .... These people are very unskilled in arms. With fifty men they could all be subjected and made to do all what one wished."
His report to Queen Isabella stated that he had found India and that he would provide for the crown as much gold as they needed and as many slaves as they asked for.
With the enlargening of the Europeans scope as to the size of the world, Portugal and Spain, the two seagoing powers of the Holy Roman Empire, were on a collision course for world domination. To avoid a clash between the two countries the Pope had on several occasions issued edicts. As the adventurers and profiteers returned home with more merchandise and profits, Spain and Portugal became even more antagonistic toward each other.
In order to prevent a war that had a ready market of unemployed mercenaries waiting to be hired, which would have rent the Holy Roman Empire asunder, the Pope called the heads of state together in 1494 and divided the world into two. He gave one half to Spain and the other to Portugal.
With information gathered from Afrikans on the west coast and from the Arawaks that Columbus had kidnapped the King of Portugal was able to determine that there was a large land mass to the west of Afrika. Based on this information he insisted on where the demarcation line should be drawn.
Information given to the Spanish crown by Columbus made them confident that there was nothing to be lost by placing the line where the Portuguese insisted because there was nothing there. When it finally became clear that the southern land mass was indeed a continent and not Asia as Columbus insisted, Brazil, the largest country in the region became a Portuguese possession.
The island of Espanoala had an estimated 300,000 inhabitants when Columbus and his fifteen hundred soldiers of fortune arrived there in 1493. Finding nothing to load on his ships and his fort burnt to the ground, he did what was customary.
He attacked the natives and captured fifteen hundred of them. From those captured he chose six hundred of the best and shipped them back to Spain, a cargo of slaves to be sold by the archdeacon of the city.
Columbus required the Arawaks on Espanoala to pay a tribute in gold which they (the natives) could not. There was no large quantity of gold to be found on the island. As Columbus had noted in his diary on his first voyage, the natives had told him that the gold tip spears that they had were obtained through trade with Afrikans who came to their shores regularly.
All of the natives who could not supply their quota of gold had their hands cut off.
By 1498 when Columbus was returned to Spain in chains, the population of Espanaola had been reduced by half. Over the 5 years since they first arrived, Columbus and his soldiers killed more than 150,000 Arawaks. By 1508 there were fewer than 60,000 of the original residents left alive and by 1548 fewer than 500 Arawaks were left on the island.
Bartolemew de la Cassas was a Bishop of the Catholic church who came to the Antilles to bring Christianity to the natives. The church which had approved of and profited from slavery owned slaves and had them working on church properties. La Cassas left Cuba and went back to Spain to plead with Charles V, then Emperor of the western world. La Cassas told the Emperor "he had seen with his own eyes cruelties more atrocious and unnatural than any recorded of untutored and savage barbarians, all for the greed and thirst for gold by Spaniards."
La Cassas' plea caused the Emperor to issue an edict freeing all the natives from labour. The new law received so much protest from the populace that the Emperor was forced to repeal it. In desperation, La Cassas again returned to Spain and suggested that in order to save the few remaining natives in the region that Afrikans be used as slaves for the labour force.
By 1540 over one hundred thousand Afrikans had been forcibly removed from their Motherland and enslaved in the Spanish settlements of the "new world." For the next three hundred years the agony and anguish of Afrikans in the "new world" would fall on deaf ears as every nation in Europe filled its treasury time after time from the raping of the Motherland and the sale of Afrika's children.
When the carnage finally came to an end, more than fifty million of Afrika's finest had paid the price with their life's blood for the "civilized" Europeans' progress. All protest mounted against the enslavement of Afrikans was banned and suppressed by the Catholic church. The genocidal practices Columbus started on the people he met in the islands of the Antilles, were continued on the Aztecs by Cortez, on the Incas, by Pizarro, and completed on the nations of the northern land mass (America) by the English.
Hernando Cortez went into Mexico in 1519. What he saw when he arrived at the capital city of Tenochtitlan amazed him. A city of two hundred and fifty thousand people. A market square in the city where sixty thousand people shopped daily. Temples of worship, libraries, a flourishing civilization. In an audience with Aztec King Montezuma, Cortez told the ruler, "I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart that only gold can cure."
Two years after his arrival (1521) Cortez had destroyed the entire civilization to acquire its riches for the glory of Spain, for himself and for his soldiers. The destruction was completed when the bishops of the Roman Catholic church burnt all the books and libraries of the Aztecs. Since they were not able to understand them they reasoned they must contain things of an evil nature.
Today there exists only fourteen books from the Aztec empire. Almost any history book written by the European will boast that this was one of the greatest military victories ever won by a European soldier.
In 1531 Pizarro, and his four brothers, all soldiers, along with their soldiers of fortune went into the Inca empire of Peru. After arranging a meeting with the Inca ruler, Pizarro stationed his men out of sight around the meeting place and calmly destroyed the royal entourage. With the blend of greed for gold and religious fervor, Pizarro and his soldiers systematically pillaged and destroyed the Inca empire. After two years of brutal and murderous warfare the Inca empire was no more.
The English entered America (north) with their desire for gold, land, and their manifest destiny. Through open warfare, germ warfare, deceit, overt and covert acts of genocide, wanton destruction of food sources, the English systematically reduced and removed the natives from their lands and territories. While they were eliminating the original inhabitants with one hand they were enslaving Afrikans with the other.
It took them a little longer to complete the job but when they were finished the natives of America (north) were practically decimated. Today the original inhabitants of America are tourist attractions in their own land residing on reservations.
Within twenty years of the coming of the Europeans a population of thirty million in the Antilles and America (south) was reduced to three million. Flourishing and growing civilizations on the three land masses of Afrika, America north and America south have been destroyed beyond repair and recognition.
This then is the legacy of the myth we are about to celebrate.
Seventy five percent of the information recorded here can be found in any good encyclopedia. Approximately forty percent of this can be found in the average text book. History can no longer be studied or taught in a vacuum. The end result of this practice is the perpetuation of a massive misinformed public who can only draw improper conclusions due to the lack of pertinent information.
Christopher Columbus was born in the fifteenth century (1456-1506). His true name is Christobal Colon. He had an older brother, Bartholemew, and a younger brother, Giacome, also known as Diego. He had two known sons, the eldest, called Diego.
He was born in the city state of Genoa, in Italy. His early career before leaving Genoa list him as a wool weaver, and a clerk. He left home about the age of sixteen to follow his brother who had left home earlier to seek his fortune. In 1472 he began his apprenticeship on the sea by becoming a pirate. About two years later, he was shipwrecked along the coast of Portugal and found his way into the Portuguese mercenary forces as a soldier of fortune.
In 1474, the King of Portugal launched a major offensive against the Republic of Genoa to break the merchants of Genoa's control of the rich trade routes from the East to the Mediterranean. Christopher was a soldier in the mercenary forces of Portugal.
Christopher married a Portuguese lady in 1478 and became the Captain of one of his Brother-in-law's ships which traded between the Madeira islands and the kingdoms of West Afrika. From that marriage, his first son Diego was born in 1479.
Information gathered in his trading on the West Afrikan coast along with new knowledge filtering out of the European reawakening convinced Christopher that there was another route to the riches of the East, which up to that point, could only be reached overland through a hostile Moslem Empire.
From 1480 to 1492 Christopher spent his time at the royal courts trying to convince any head of state who would listen that he could provide them access to the riches of the East by a sea route. His price for the venture was-:
He was to be named Viceroy for all territories claimed for the crown. This title would become hereditary and be passed on to his heirs. Once he claimed any new territory for the crown he would automatically be promoted from Captain to the title of Admiral of the Sea. One third of all spoils from the voyage would be his. A further one eighth of all profits were to be his and one tenth of all goods shipped back on the ships returning were to be his.
No royal house at the time could afford such a deal. Not only was the investment high in terms of cost, it would also, if successful, make a commoner richer than most of the Dons in the various kingdoms.
In 1492 the last Moslem stronghold in Spain was overcome by the combined Christian forces of Aragon and Castile. The Moorish/Afrikan kingdom of Granada after being under siege for more than one year surrendered and Ferdinand and Isabelle incorporated Granada into their combined kingdoms of Aragon and Castile. Isabelle, in whose court Christopher had spent the larger part of those twelve years, decided to invest in Christopher's venture.
In August of 1492, Christopher Columbus took his first voyage across the sea with three ships and about one hundred men. It took Christopher seventy days to cross the ocean before he came upon the island of Guanahani occupied by the Arawak people.
Christopher claimed the island for the crown of Spain, renamed it San Salvador and took six Arawaks as prisoners to be interrogated. He then went on to two other islands one, which the natives called Cuba and which he insisted was Cipango or Japan and the other, which he renamed Espanoala.
In Espanaoala, the Santa Maria ran aground. The wood from the vessel was brought ashore and a fort was built called Navidad. Christopher left the crew of the Santa Maria to gather the riches of the island and store it for his next trip.
On his return voyage to Spain a storm forced Christopher to stop in the port of Lisbon. Don Juan, the King of Portugal would not allow his subjects to destroy Christopher and his crew as he was seeking additional information about lands to the west of Afrika.
Christopher submitted his report to Queen Isabelle upon his return to Spain. In it, he said that Cuba was India and Espanoala was an island off the coast of Indo-China.
Having convinced the court of Spain that he had found a sea route to India and all the riches of the East, Christopher had no trouble financing his second voyage. In 1493 he started his second voyage. This time he had seventeen ships and fifteen hundred men. He went again to Cuba and Espanoala calling the region Asia.
Upon reaching Espanoala he found his fort burnt to the ground and all the crew of the Santa Maria dead. After searching the region for the treasure that he was sure the crew had gathered and finding nothing, Christopher lost no time in attacking the Arawaks. He captured 1500 of them from which he selected 600 of the best and shipped them back to Spain to be sold as slaves.
Further exploration took him to an island that the natives called Xayamaca. Christopher renamed it Sant Jago. While still in the region, the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) was signed between Portugal and Spain. The pope of the Holy Roman Empire (Roman Catholic Church) divided the world into two and gave one half to Spain and the other to Portugal.
In 1498 Christopher and his brother Bartolemew were taken back to Spain in irons. Court intrigue and misunderstood instructions were the reason given by Isabelle who had him released. That same year he made his third voyage. Taking a different route which took only thirty three days, he came upon an island with three peaks which he renamed Trinidad. He then came upon the mainland of the southern continent for the first time and renamed the area Venezuela.
In 1502-04 he made his fourth and final voyage. He came upon the central area in the Mexican Gulf and renamed them Nicaragua, Panama, and Honduras. There is no record of Christopher setting foot on any of the mainland areas or many of the islands of the Lesser Antilles that he renamed. In his report upon returning to Spain he claimed Honduras to be Indo-China.
Columbus died in 1506 at the age of fifty. Right up to his last days, in spite of information supplied by other European explorers for profit, Columbus insisted that he had found a sea route to the East and that the region where he sailed and settled was India, mainland China and islands off the coast of the Asian mainland.
Two years after his death, a German cartographer named the northern and southern land masses America. Amerigo Vespucci, Christopher's countryman and associate who in 1501 sailed to Brazil for the Portuguese, recognized that the southern continent was a land mass and not Asia. The misnomer of the West Indies is a tribute to Christopher's insistence that he had reached India.
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