Unfortunately, although we would all like to believe rosy self-serving scenarios, a little research shows that "slave trader" is about the nicest thing we can say about this guy. Columbus was not only the first American slave trader but a mass murderer and torturer of peaceful people, motivated by European-style greed.
One of your readers, Jack Fallon, points out quite correctly (Letters, Feb. 7) that Columbus brought Christianity to the new world, although he draws the wrong conclusion if he thinks it had anything to do with causing the slave trade to become a thing of the past.
To the contrary, Columbus's 1495 expedition sent 500 Arawak natives to Spain as slaves and curiosities (200 of whom perished enroute) and then wrote, ''Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."
He proceeded to do just that, though he may have found it economically unfeasible, as not enough slaves survived the voyages. He also enslaved the native Arawaks in their own homeland, hunting them down with dogs, cutting off their hands, bleeding, burning and working them to death, all in search of gold for his royal sponsors.
The genocide initiated by Columbus and his men, who often sliced off pieces of Indian flesh to test the sharpness of their blades, resulted in the total decimation of the peaceful Arawaks in a few short years,
according to the journal of a priest, Bartolome de las Casas.