May 22, 2005

Reading Zinn

Here's a quote from Christopher Columbus that I found in the very beginnnig of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States:

They...brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned...They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features...They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane...They would make fine servants...With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
Yeah, that guy deserves to have a holiday named after him.

1 comment:

Ron said...

You know, to me that's probably the most memorable quote from the whole book. It pretty much sets the theme that Zinn follows through all 500 years of American history: wealthy white Europeans oppressing everybody else, including non-powerful whites. They should teach this in elementary schools, that the first thing Columbus started doing in the New World was enslaving and killing the natives.