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Who Was Christopher Columbus? Besides Being A Superb Navigator, And The Father Of A New World, He Was Chosen By Divine Providence To Be The Herald Of The True Faith To Half Of The Human Race

Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain are like the godparents of the United States of America. But who are these two, most especially, who was Christopher Columbus?

The Reception of Christopher Columbus

If you have read my page about famous Spanish people in history, you will remember that it was believed since the evangelization of St. James the Greater, that Spain was the ends of the earth - the edge of the map. It was ludicrous then, when someone suggested traveling west to reach the east. But this, Christopher Columbus did.  

Bent on proving that the world was round, Columbus proposed sailing west to reach the Indies in the east. He calculated that the distance was 2,400 miles from the Canary Islands but the actual distance was 10,000 miles, and two continents stood in the way. He was scorned as a fool and no monarch would fund his expedition.

He finally approached the King and Queen of recently united Spain. Queen Isabella was especially interested in the idea and personally funded the entire expedition.

"I will assume the undertaking for my own crown of Castile, and am ready to pawn any jewelry to defray the expenses of it, if the funds of the treasury are found inadequate."

-Queen Isabella the Catholic of Spain

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She furnished Columbus with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Malachi Martin in The Jesuits informs us of these ships' fate:

Columbus' Flagship

"Early on March 15, 1493, after eight months of hazardous sea-voyaging, the fifty-foot sailing ship Nina entered the Spanish port of Los Palos carrying a weary but triumphant Christopher Columbus back from his epoch-making discovery of the New World. Her sister ship, the Pinta, followed in a few hours. Columbus' flag-ship, the Santa Maria, had gone down off Hispaniola, the island today by Haiti and Santo Domingo."

Spain was the instrument chosen by Divine Providence to carry the Faith to the newly discovered land in the west. It was under Ferdinand and Isabella that Spain became a prominent nation. In 1492, the same year that Christopher Columbus discovered America, these rulers had successfully driven the Moors from their county.

At "Time's Burst Of Dawn" Christopher Columbus Gained Land For Spain While The World Held His Confidence In Awe

On September 6th, 1492, the three ships weighted anchor in the Old World for the last time. Columbus had great confidence in his judgement, but he knew that the men would lose confidence, especially the further from familiar lands they sailed. By October, the crew was grumbling and upset. On October 9th, Columbus promised Alonso Pinzon, his second in command, that they would turn back if they did not sight land in three days.

One of my favorite poems, Columbus, deserves to be shared here. It recounts the distressed companions of Columbus, their despair of ever seeing land again and the "Brave Admiral's" ever ready response: "Sail on and on."

Columbus
By Joaquin Miller 

Behind him lay the gray Azores,
Behind the Gates of Hercules;
Before him not the ghost of shores,
Before him only shoreless seas.
The good mate said: “Now must we pray,
For lo! the very stars are gone.
Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?”
“Why, say? Sail on! sail on! and on!'”

“My men grow mutinous day by day;
My men grow ghastly wan and weak.”
The stout mate thought of home; a spray
Of salt wave washed his swarthy cheek.
“What shall I say, brave Admiral, say,
If we sight naught but seas at dawn?”
“Why, you shall say at break of day,
Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!'”

They sailed and sailed, as winds might blow,
Until at last the blanched mate said:
“Why, now not even God would know
Should I and all my men fall dead.
These very winds forget their way,
For God from these dread seas is gone.
Now speak, brave Admiral, speak and say”-
He said: “Sail on! sail on! and on!”

They sailed. They sailed. Then spake the mate:
“This mad sea shows his teeth to-night.
He curls his lip, he lies in wait,
With lifted teeth, as if to bite!
Brave Admiral, say but one good word:
What shall we do when hope is gone?”
The words leapt like a leaping sword:
“Sail on! sail on! sail on! and on!”

Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck-
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time's burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”

At 2:00 a.m. on October 12th, the lookout on the Pinta cried out that land had been sighted. When they landed on what was supposed to be the Spice Islands, Columbus and his crew thanked God for a safe arrival and then he claimed the land for Spain, calling it San Salvador.

Landing of Columbus

For the next three months, the explorers would sail around islands believing that in any minute they would behold the flourishing and wealthy Eastern civilization.

But Columbus did meet Indians. He wrote in his journal:

"I want the natives to develop a friendly attitude towards us because I know they are a people who can be made free and converted to our Holy Catholic Faith more by love than by force."

This is proof that Columbus intended to preach the Gospel to the people of India.

As Christmas day arrived, India was yet to be found. The crew held the usual festival celebrations, and around midnight, the Santa Maria's stern was left unattended and she ran aground. The expedition had to abandon the flagship. Because of its substantial size, the Santa Maria's crew could not all fit on the Nina and the Pinta. Some of the men were left on an island to start a colony. On January 4, 1493, Columbus set sail for home. On this return journey, the Nina and the Pinta lost sight of each other and did not see each other until the Pinta weighed anchor in Spain a few hours behind the Nina.

Isabella was delighted with the news. She and Columbus both believed that he had reached India. At this point in his discoveries, Columbus could have retired a wealthy man but that was not his way. He wanted to ensure that the Faith was now easily carried to the Indies. He felt that God had called him to bring Christianity to the lands where Christ was not known. By finding an easier route, he now could bring glory to God. Isabella also shared his vision and the same year, outfitted Columbus for a second voyage.

Columbus would return again to the New World, but it was not until the 4th voyage that he was certain that he had not found the Indies. He realized that he had found an unknown continent. He continued to pursue a way through Central America so he could find the East Indies. But he did not find the way…because it did not exist.

The Catholic Kings Of Spain Paved The Way For The New World To Be Civilized Only By Conversion To Christianity

Still asking who was Christopher Columbus? Before Columbus, men feared to sail out of sight of land. They hugged shorelines and never dared to go out into the open sea. All Europe looked east. Columbus looked west and dared to leave familiar sights and shores behind him. In so doing, he turned Europe around. The world - old and new - would never be the same.

Queen Isabella of Spain

Malachi Martin continues to tell us what this discovery meant for the kingdom of Spain:

"Columbus' news was mind-boggling and electrifying for Spainiards and subsequently for all Europeans. Now, they realized, millions of other human beings existed - had existed for hundreds of years already - across the ocean in vast new lands full of unimaginable riches. All of it was Spain's by right of first discovery, so Spaniards thought. Overnight, the kingdom had become an empire. All had to be secured by conquest. All had to be civilized by conversion to Christianity."

Before long, ships were sailing frequently from Spain to the New World and back. Anne Carroll in Christ and the Americas tells us that some Spaniards "came for gold, some for glory, some for the thrill of discovery, some for the chance of starting a new life, some to spread the Gospel of Christ; most came for a combination of reasons...Most were heroic and admirable; some were greedy and cruel. But both the good and the evil could have only come from Spain, which at this time was different from any other country in Europe." Thanks to Isabella and Ferdinand -the Catholic Kings - Spain was unshakably Catholic.

Who Was Christopher Columbus? According To Radical Statue Topplers In California: He Was A Polarizing Historical Figure Whose Arrival Had A Deadly Impact On Indigenous People

In 2019, I toured "Old Sac". My adventure took me a little bit farther into the city and I ended up touring the Capitol Building. In the opening floor there is a life sized statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella. The statue, titled “Columbus’ Last Appeal to Queen Isabella,” was donated by a wealthy banker and installed in 1883.

For 137 years, this statue stood as a testament to the generosity of Queen Isabella and the selfless sacrifice of Columbus in founding our nation and claiming it not only for Spain but also for the Faith.

Christopher columbus statuePhoto Credit: Carole J. Buckwalter

During the George Floyd Riots, Sacramento headlines read: Statue of Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella to be removed from California Capitol.

Who was Christopher Columbus? According to a certain undereducated product of California public schools, “Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations. The continued presence of this statue in California’s Capitol, where it has been since 1883, is completely out of place today. It will be removed.”

These "controversial historical figures" were removed from the state capitol building in Sacramento as lawmakers feel a need to reconsider monuments celebrating Catholic historical figures and heroes in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests. Centuries of celebrating national heroes which tie us to our founders thrown out overnight to please a minority?

California has already changed Columbus Day (October 12th) to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, saying that the former holiday name was  “commemorating conquest.”

“We’re Not Ashamed Of Our History” Spain Begs That Statues Be Sent Overseas To Be Enjoyed By Spaniards

Spain is not afraid of calling this revolutionary behavior out for what it really is. When asked about the removal and defacing of statues in the U.S., a Spanish mayor named Javier Úbeda said that people like Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus, Fr. Junipero Serra, and others were “architects in part of what we so proudly today call western civilization”.

The same Úbeda said he was disappointed to see the statue toppled and another statue of Don Quixote and author Miguel Cervantes (who fought alongside Don John of Austria in the battle of Lepanto) defaced.

Towns throughout Spain offered to erect these statues in their own country. One of the movement's organizers said, “We’re not ashamed of our history. We’re aware that mistakes were made, but we also know how unfair it is to judge the past from the point of view of today’s society.”

Recommended Reading On Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella Which Portrays These Heroes In A Good Light

Christopher Columbus: The Catholic Discovery of America

Still wondering who was Christopher Columbus? One of the best works that I have read about Christoper Columbus is Fr. Hardon's book, The Catholic Discovery of America.

Fr. Hardon briefly, but straight to the point and matter-of-factly, drives home the fact that Columbus' discovery of America manifested to the world that this was the Catholic discovery of America. "It was Catholic in many ways, but in none more evidently than the apostolic zeal of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus."

Fr. Hardon credits the discovery of America to Christopher Columbus' Catholic genius. The author hits the mark where secular historians miss and that is that Columbus, "was the instrument of extraordinary grace … the destined herald of the true faith to half the human race."

Queen Isabella the Last Crusader

In his book Isabel of Spain: The Catholic Queen, Warren Carroll states "Queen Isabel was the greatest woman ruler in history and made her country of Spain supreme power in the world of her time." In defense of this Catholic Queen, William Thomas Walsh states in his work, Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader, that Isabella was a Queen of Queens from the time when she opened her eyes upon a muddled world until she passed away she was a crusader Queen."

Isabella was to be successor to the throne of Spain, being only three at her father's death. Her half-brother was named King and became Henry IV. He made Isabella his successor, but for political reasons he withdrew his support of Isabella when she married Ferdinand of Aragon.

After a war of succession follow Henry's death Isabella did become the rightful Queen of Spain. Isabella was regarded by contemporaries as virtuous, with spotless moral integrity and a deep love for her Catholic Faith which was the force behind her benevolence and justice throughout her reign.

Isabella met her many challenges as Queen and as a mother with steadfast acceptance and trust in God.  Her succession of tragedies were her cross. Isabella had compassion for foreign peoples yet without compromise or incompatibility with her Catholic Faith. She advocated for education, medical care and improvement and growth of the Catholic Faith throughout Spain.

Warren Carroll states that, "Studying the life of Queen Isabel will inspire children, because her life shows that in the midst of a corrupt culture, a person of virtue and determination can change history."

Columbus: Adventures to the Edge of the World

And if little kids are asking who was Christopher Columbus? Turn on Saints and Heroes' Columbus: Adventures to the Edge of the World. I grew up with this short film and I watched it recently as an adult and it still warms the heart. This is the thrilling story of how one man's vision and courage brought continents together and changed history forever. The entire Saints and Heroes series can be watched on PureFlix!

I did a little but of research on the events surrounding the removal of the statue from the Sacramento Capitol building. The information that I found on Spain asking for these statues to be given the respect that they deserved came from the following course: 
https://www.newsmax.com/us/statue-california-spain-colonizers/2020/07/01/id/975266/

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