Why is he in need of defense, you ask? Columbus' noble character and great achievements are being maligned by public school educators. Children are being taught that "he was very, very mean." Some 4th graders in Pittsburgh put him on trial, charging him with misrepresenting the Spanish crown and thievery. They found him guilty and sentenced him to life in prison. Columbus great discovery of the new world to the Europeans opened the door to bring Christian civilization to a savage, primitive world with many human-sacrificing cannibals. That discovery is now being mocked and misrepresented. Since Columbus is not here to defend himself, I must make an attempt on his behalf.
The name Christopher means Christ-bearer, and he believed God called him to bring Christ to the heathen. He desired the wealth of the Indies to finance world evangelism and one last great crusade to take the holy land away from the Muslims. Ferdinand and Isabella had finally stopped the advance of Islam into Spain, which enabled the sovereigns to start the new exploration venture with Christopher Columbus. Columbus asked for 10% of the discovered wealth, the title of Admiral, and to be made governor of all the lands he found.
The first sentence in his logbook for the voyage was, "In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ."After sailing due west by dead reckoning, (he said he didn't make use of navigational instruments but the Holy Spirit led him), Columbus landed on an island, fell to his knees with his men in prayer and praise to God, planted a large cross, and named it San Salvador. It means Holy Savior.
The naked natives rejoiced to see the pale men from the east and Columbus took care to make sure that they were not taken advantage of by his men. Some of the Spaniards had been released from prison to man the ships and were not of noble character. They were trying to give cheap trinkets in exchange for valuables. Columbus forbade it and gave good gifts to the natives, asking nothing in return, hoping to win their favor so they'd be receptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He cared for the souls of the natives and where they'd spend eternity. Pardon me, but who could characterize that as mean? Columbus said they were so gentle and child-like that he believed they would make good Christians.
While Columbus was absent from some of the islands, his crew (former criminals released from prison for the voyage) engaged in despicable behavior with the natives. The spreading of disease traveled both ways, from the natives to the Europeans and from the Europeans to the natives. Christopher Columbus was never implicated in wrong-doing by the honest whistle-blower who reported it.
Everything I've read from primary and secondary sources has revealed Christopher Columbus as a kind man of strong faith and great courage. He opened the door for the exploration and colonization of the new world, bringing the knowledge of God through Jesus Christ to those who had never heard the gospel. Our nation was built on that foundation. Thank you, Columbus! I'm celebrating Columbus Day and hope you wil, too.