One name for the Western Hemisphere is Columbia. Our nation’s capital is called the District of Columbia. One South American country honors this celebrated explorer by taking his name for their own: Colombia. The westernmost province of Canada, British Columbia, also honors this great man.
Christopher Columbus’ explorations were chartered to find an alternate route to India for purposes of trade between the western world and India and the Spice Islands.
The Muslim caliphate, the Ottoman Turks, ruled all the lands between Europe and much of India so a way around the Muslim pirates, robbers, thieves, and tyrants was highly desirable.
Historians and critics have much to say about this amazing man. But, what did he say about himself and his motivations?
“Who can doubt that this fire was not merely mine, but also the Holy Spirit who encouraged me with a radiance of marvelous illumination from his sacred Scriptures, . . . urging me to press forward? ”
“With a hand that could be felt, the Lord opened my mind to the fact that it would be possible . . . and he opened my will to desire to accomplish that project. . . . The Lord purposed that there should be something miraculous in this matter of the voyage to the Indies.”
To what good outcome of his voyages can we point? What merits?
Over three centuries, the number one objective of all Spanish kings was the evangelization of the New World, establishing missions from the 21 in California to several in the present-day southeastern USA, Mexico, Central America, all of Spanish South America, all the way down into Chile.
Catholic evangelization, however imperfect by modern standards, was nevertheless a massive, far-reaching undertaking.
Here in Texas, Spain established 21 missions. Within the City of San Antonio, there are five along the banks of the San Antonio River, four of which remain active Catholic churches. One is a state shrine: La Misión de San Antonio de Valero – aka The Alamo.
Liberal historians mischaracterize Catholic evangelization as conquests, tools of the Spanish conquerors to subjugate indigenous peoples. My own study of history says otherwise.
Full disclosure: I am not now nor ever been a Catholic, but I truly appreciate its history and ministry to this day, despite the ongoing and devastating scandals plaguing it.
I invite you to join me in honoring the memory of Christopher Columbus on this Columbus Day, 2018.
1) The Journal of the First Voyage of Columbus
2) THE LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS FROM HIS OWN LETTERS AND JOURNALS
3) THE DIARIO OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS’S FIRST VOYAGE TO AMERICA (1492-1493)