Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: Christopher Columbus: Bringer of the Apocalypse

Part One: Christopher Columbus: Bringer of the Apocalypse

Tue, 06 Sep 2022 10:00

Robert is joined by Michael Swaim to discuss Christopher Columbus

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Who? Who? Who? Merry late summer. I'm Santa Claus. Normally I'd come to you from the North Pole, but due to a series of DEA raids and Bobo bogus felony charges, I'm in hiding right now. My friend Robert Evans has agreed to help me with all of the charges against me and his thanks to him, I've used some of my Christmas magic to put together the perfect behind the ******* script. But of course, how perfect script needs a perfect. Best so I've used centers Luciferian hell forge, powered by the bones of the devil himself, to conjure up the greatest podcast guest in who history, Michael Swaim. All right, that's all from Santa until the holidays, kids. And remember, those children were dead when Santa got there. Ohh thank you Santa. Ah, Robert Evans here with the the newly conjured Michael Swaim. Michael, how does it feel to have been birthed from Santas? Luciferian hellforge? What the ****? What the **** was that? Now he's an immortal. He's an immortal. North Pole man just told us Robert. Everything about my conception of metaphysics has shattered. Now Michael, this is interesting. Is it true that you never existed prior to this point? And all of the. Memories that people have of your many hours of content were created by the devil in the last several seconds. I come from the yes and school of improv, so absolutely that's my entire back story and identity now. Well, now that you exist and have an extensive backlog of content and projects in that have been well underway for several years at this point going on, why don't you tell the audience what what kind of stuff you do and where they can find you before we get into this this yuletide? Extravaganza of an episode. Thank you so much, Robert. Well, it's true, I was busy in Santa's sack, and I don't mean it's sad, but when I was but a gleam in Santa's eye, I was. Let's see, where can I take the elf metaphor? Cobbling together a brand new show about video games with my friend Adam Ganser right here on the iheart network. So check us out. We're called 1 upsmanship. That's the number one. And then the word lit upsmanship I used to say. Word. But Adam told me that that's ********. But I need people to know that it's the number one. So, yeah, we deep dive into various video games and argue about whether they would be shown to aliens if we wanted to, like, impress them and not have them destroy humanity. But it seems like the window is closing on that opportunity. But let's put it this way, when they sift through the ruins of Earth, these are the video games we want them to encounter. Now, Michael, it's it's very appropriate that you just talked about what we would show aliens if they came to Earth. Because today we're kind of talking about that kind of story. This is the story of essentially a group of aliens led by the most alien creature in all of the universe and Italian, who come upon a world filled with people who you know are are going to have to endure the realities of their of their appearance in this world. I am, of course talking about Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the quote, UN quote, New World. Masterful segue. Not planned, very good. Not at all. Not at all, Michael. What do you what do you what do you? What do you know about, oh, Chris Columbus? Not the director, but also the director. I assume they're guilty of the same crime. That's right, yeah. So the angrier you get it this Chris Columbus, if you have a chance to do harm to the other Chris Columbus, just take a swing man. It's fine. Yeah, they both are noted for their similar, like, rapport with children. Both Chris Columbus's have a well, I know, of course, the PAT version, which I wonder if it's still taught in elementary school, but I first imbibed, like the classic Happy Thanksgiving. Everything's fine. Christopher Columbus story and my my eyes were ripped from the veil. Whatever, you know what I mean. Probably middle of high school where I learned a few, let's say fun facts about Christopher Columbus that I bet will come up over the course of this podcast. And then this all culminated for me personally when at cracked, among many, many sketches, I got to portray Chris Columbus in a series we did called dead talks, which is an exhaustive. Like Chris Columbus bragging basically about the triangle trade and, you know, putting it in sort of neotech like we're going to change the world for the better terms is the premise of that sketch. And I learned a lot through that actually, because cracked, as you know, is very fact based. Something you brought to it honestly before you were hired. I got to make **** up a lot more. And then they were like, these kids really liked the facts. Let's do the facts. I murdered the fun for you. Yeah, that's right. No, we hybridized. We got jokes in there. I know the feeling. He does murder the fun. Fun just like Santa murdered those kids, according to the DEA. That's right. Yep, there it is. So Santa does not admit any wrongdoing in this case. So before we get into this episode, Mike, I think we should probably have a discussion about morality and the distant past. Because whenever we talk, particularly about dead famous white guys who were once worshipped as heroes and are now being criticized for bad things they did, there's a cry that goes up from a certain corner that's like, you can't judge people from the past by modern moral standards. This is usually meant as a callow and cowardly attempt to stop all critical moral analysis of these people, but also the the sentiment is not entirely without value because things are different in the past, and if you are applying entirely modern standards to things then you're going to like wind up just getting angry at **** and condemning people rather than kind of understanding their actual place in the moral universe of the time. And I think slavery is a good example of that, because viewing all slavery and all people who have owned slaves in history. As the same as the worst slave owners in history, and I'm generally talking about the American Confederacy in this period of time or when I when I say that is kind of counterproductive because slavery has been the normal state of affairs in most society throughout human history. Most societies either had slaves or individuals in them were always at risk of being enslaved. This is the thing that has gone on basically forever. There have been some notable exceptions like the Persian Empire and whatnot, where like there was no such thing as slavery. But there were generally structures within things like the Persian Empire or like structures like serfdom that, even though they weren't technically slavery, were worse off than slaves were. And a lot of other, like, you could compare a surf and the Russian step to like a slave and urban Rome. And the slave and urban Rome has a lot more autonomy as a general rule. So, like, discussing all of these things as if they're kind of the same, I think does lose us some nuance. And so when we're talking about Christopher Columbus, I obviously none of this is set up. In order to defend him or mitigate his history. But I think hours of defending him, no, just yeah. I think if you want to actually understand what he did that was like super ****** **. It's important not to just kind of look at here's the things he did that we can say now in 2022 are bad, but here is the things that he made worse. Here are the things that like he he ways he changed the world in ways that made it more brutal and horrific than it had been because he came into a pretty gnarly. ******* world. And he made it a lot worse. And I think that's the reason to condemn him rather than being rather than stuff that he did that was like more or less in line with common morality at the time. So I think you do have to have an understanding of like what was accepted in his culture to understand the things he did that were particularly ****** ** if that makes sense. Oh, it absolutely makes sense. Although I do want to say something that came to mind for me was a trip to the Slavery Museum in New York that I where I encountered. Like a series of letters from people at the time when the triangle trade was first like getting built and the slave ships were coming to the shore. And what was really eye opening for me is several of the letters are, and I'm paraphrasing here. Holy **** these are human beings and they're enslaving them. They're doing this now. What the **** is going on? That's insane. We can't do that. What is this? It's so it's interesting that on and they it was on rare occasion but there were people who saw it with modern eyes instinctively like you can't do that to a human being. Well here's the thing I I will argue we'll get into this more. They're not seeing it with modernized because most of those people accepted slavery in other forms. Specifically the kind of slavery that Columbus. Instituted they were like, Oh my God, this is so much worse than anything we've seen. Like everybody does a little bit of slave trading, but what he is introduced is like a new plague upon the world and is, is, is so much worse than anything that had been seen before. I think that's part of what's interesting about him because like some of the people who are condemning him like de Las Casas, or people who like grew up with slave trading in their local, in their own society and like didn't really speak out about that being an issue. Yeah and yeah, it's Taylor's case is I I take the podcast wherever you want to steer it, but if you do get into the list of just like, Oh yeah, imagery, it's pretty grim cronenbergian ****. It is a nightmare. But we do. I do want to in order to actually, I think in order to properly condemn Christopher Columbus to the with the most understanding that we can condemn him, we have to set the moral scene and and talk about the world he came into and like, what was the norm in this society. That he and his critics came into. So this is not just when we talk about the **** that was normal in Columbus's world. This is also the thing that the people who condemned him at the time saw as normal, which gives you an idea of, like, how ****** ** what Columbus does later is because it's bad. But yeah, we will be talking about a number of different kind of historic defenses because we had this. So if you want to look at the broad sweep of how people have talked about Columbus, you had Columbus, great Guy, hero. Schoolhouse Rock You know, yadda yadda yadda. Let's let's show him dancing and then you have Columbus is was a monster and and a war criminal on a on a on a historic scale. And now you've got a pushback, largely coming from conservatives. If you want to go Google Columbus misunderstood, or like Columbus, you know, revisiting or whatever, you'll find a bunch of daily wire ******* articles and **** about him and a lot of them are going to quote one of the books that also is going to be. A source of our in our episode today, and it's a book by Carol Delaney that is about it's called Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem. Now, this is a book that has some original research in it. We will be quoting from it quite a bit, but we will also be quoting from other sources to point out how ****** ** what Delaney is trying to do in rehabilitating Columbus. She is clear to note that she's trying to look at him quote from a contemporary perspective rather than from the values and practice. Or she's she's. She complains that people try to judge him, quote, from a contemporary perspective rather than from the values and practices of his own time. And then she goes ahead and leaves out all of the different judgments that people out at his own time made about him, and a whole bunch of other details, too. That's just wild, too. It was a different time, like stabbing pregnant people in their bellies. You're like, yeah, different. That was always a problem. Yeah. But it's interesting. I think part of the value of this episode is as we go through Columbus's life, we will be going through Delaney's book and pointing out all of the things she leaves out. Because it's useful when you try to engage with people who are currently in the process of trying to rehabilitate Columbus. Because that is like, you may not have noticed it in all of the other problems, but it's like a thing the right has been trying to do, particularly in the last two years. So I think it's worth not just being like, **** that book, but also being like, here is why that's books ****** ** and here is the things that it leaves out. And here's the holes in her research that other people have not had holes in. So yeah, Christopher Columbus was born. Not at long after the Black Death finished its last series of waves throughout his world. He's a he's a child of the Mediterranean, he's born on the Italian coast, probably. We don't know exactly, but there's a bunch of records of him as a young man in the city of Genoa, and he always claimed to be from Genoa, so it's pretty safe to say probably born somewhere around Genoa. And, you know, Genoa is, it's worth, like, again, to kind of set the stage for like, the kind of people who are around when he's a kid. The plague is still kind of in its last waves when he's born. And the Mediterranean is particularly like one of the places where the Black plague does the there's a lot of cities and towns, including Genoa, where it's not uncommon for like plague waves to kill 50 to 75% of the population, whereas if you're looking at like, England and stuff, it's often more like 20 or 30%. There's still devastating, right. You think about how bad COVID has been and how much damage like a million dead has done in a country of 320 million. And like you're talking about, you know, 75 times that many people dying more or less in like or actually no, like 150. I don't know. I'm not great at math. A lot more of as a percentage of your population, much more people. So number one, that one of the things that this sets up understanding, like the fact that an apocalypse has just occurred when Christopher Columbus. Let's go over there and do another one he he is going to cause an apocalypse, but he's also, he is the child of an apocalypse. So he's he's born into a world where, like, a whole lot of **** got ****** ** really hard very recently in ways that are. It would be difficult for us to put our heads, to put ourselves in the place of like, people living in that world because the collapse that they endured was like so much more severe than anything we've seen yet. You know, check back in about a month and 1/2, but at the moment. And obviously slavery was extremely common in the world he grew up in. The city of his birth, Genoa, was an influential Italian city state that made a significant amount of its income through slavery. Italy is not a thing, like, it's a a geographical thing, but like, nobody would say that, like, I'm an Italian, you'd say, like I'm genoise, you know, I'm from Venice, I'm a Roman. And they all hate each other. Like they hate each other and they're, yeah, they're city States and they're constantly murdering each other. And yeah, it's it's it's Italian's favorite thing in this. Is killing each other. It's like the thing that they they do the most of other than make a **** load of money through trade, a lot of which is the slave trade and the wasn't good historic upgrade that rebrand in Genoa from slavery to salami, which I think is their most associated with now. Major upgrade. Yeah, no, it it sounds like general was a ******* nightmare back in the day. And it is worth noting when we talk about this city, there's about 75,000 people in Genoa when he's a kid, which makes it. I think it's like in the top five or ten cities. In Western Europe, by population it's one of the most. I mean, it's which makes it one of the most populous cities in the world at the time, because there's not all that many people, you know. Anyway, the book Columbus by Lawrence Bergreen, who's a much better historian than Carol Delaney, I think ably describes the status quo in his home when he was born RE slavery. Quote slavery was deeply woven into the fabric of the Genoese economy, especially traffic and girls who were only 13 or 14 years old. Every Gino's household, even modest ones, had one or two female slaves. Although Christianity prohibited ******* an exception was made for these non Christian slaves. They were Russian, Arab, ******. Bulgarian, Bosnian, Albanian and Chinese slave traders and pirates sold them on a regular basis to Genoa. Occasionally their wide net included a Christian girl whom they kidnapped and would return for a high ransom. The transactions were formal, nor terrorized and deeded. Most slaves were sold as is if others whose health had been guaranteed developed epilepsy or other health problems. The owner demanded an annulment of the contract. Some cautious buyers kept the girl of their choice on a trial basis to judge whether she would remain charming and adapt to a life of slavery in Genoa. Once acquired by a Genoese master, girls became mere property, bound to gratify his sexual once as well as those of his friends. Merchants able to afford a concubine, and many in this prosperous city, could maintain them in households separate from their families. The Master of the House specified the terms of the arrangement with the local notary public, especially concerning sensitive matters such as inheritance rights for children born out of wedlock. So. Couple of things here. Number one, that's bad. Like, it's bad to have your society based heavily around child sex trading, but also, this is the norm, right? And this is what he's born into, right? It's yeah, it's just hard to put yourself truly in the mindset of an actual other time with truly different social morays in the sense that this is someone who's going, here's a 14 year old girl I purchased if you'd like to have sex with her, my friend, we're doing it. We're doing a society. This is civilization. Now it's so inconceivable through modernized. And yeah, I totally get what you're saying in the opening about the contrast between what yes accept and what is normalized. And it is important again, obviously it is bad to sexually traffic children as slaves, but also this is not just the norm. In Genoa in the 1400s this was going on, has been going on for a very long time, and you could argue the system is less ****** than it was, for example, like the height of the Roman Empire. Because slaves in Genoa are primarily this kind of slave, like house slaves who exist to satisfy like a old dude, sexual whims, which is gross and bad. But a major factor of ancient Roman slavery was we are going to enslave these people and work them to death in a mine, like in the worst conditions imaginable by the thousands, which is probably worse. And the fact that that's less common in the 1400s, you could say is better. I don't think it's super useful to look at it that way, but like 6-1, man. It's important to note that like, all like Italian wealth for the last 3000 years prior to this was built on the back of slavery on a massive scale, right? Always had been, you know, and that's that's the world Columbus comes into. Not just a world in which the trade in girls is a major industry in his city, but also a world in which no one can remember a time in which Italians did not make, did not base a significant portion of their economy on slavery. Right. And, like, that's still world pre taken one as old as that movie is. Yeah. There's no about it. Yeah. Not a single Liam Neeson. Yeah. No. So nothing can free these people. And yeah. So by the standards of the time, an individual who, like, accepts within this society that, like, yeah, there's just gonna be slavery around me. That's pretty normal. And it's worth noting. Well, actually, there's debate as to whether or not Columbus himself owned a slave. This is the kind of thing that you're not going to get a satisfying answer on. But. It is probably fair to say that, like, if Columbus were just another Italian who existed within a slave owning society and perpetuated it, he would not get an episode on his own. Because there's like, like every Italian prior to this point in history was involved in the slave trade basically. So yeah, anyway. What I think is important is kind of setting the scene because the thing that he creates is like, it's not just worse than slavery that exists in Genoa of his birth. It's something that the Roman Empire would have looked at and been like, Jesus Christ, dude, like, what the ****? And he would have been like, that's right, Jesus, he would have told you to do this. Yes. I mean, he, yes, he, he literally would have. But also, like, not not only did people at the time judge him, but like if you could go back and talk to, like, ******* Cicero, he would have been like, what the **** man? This is like. This isn't how you treat people. So yeah, uh, Christopher Columbus was not, as I think he gets, described a lot by people on the left, just an URR capitalist who wanted to enslave people and like mine their society because he was personally greedy. What's interesting about him as a ******* is that the reason for everything he does is that he becomes a Messianic Christian holy warrior. And the genocide that he's going to commit, which heavily involved slavery, is done in the name of funding a war to retake the holiest city in Christendom, Jerusalem. Like that's. Why he does it. And so his excesses that we're going to be covering aren't just because he's greedy, although he certainly is. But it's because he's a frenzied narcissist who believes he's chosen by God to bring about the apocalypse, which is a different story than the one I had heard even on the left, for the most part. Yeah, I've only heard the Chamber of Horrors version. I have not heard the Messianic cultist version. Yes, he is. He is a messianic apocalypse cultist and that's why he does a genocide. So cristofaro Colombo, which is his actual birth name and it's ridiculous, so we're not going to call him that again. Was born near Genoa in the summer of 1451, quite possibly around July 25th. We don't know the exact date or even month, but Carol Delaney notes that Saint Christopher's Day was celebrated on July 25th. And that his first name might be a hint as to when he was born. I have my issues with Carol, but this is not an unreasonable deduction. Delaney also notes quote the name given to a child at baptism was believed to have an influence on the child's character. So when Susanna, that's his mom, selected the name christoforo, she may well have been trying to affect his destiny. The name christoforo Christopher means Christ Bearer and is derived from the story of a Pagan man reprobates who once carried a small child across a river as they crossed the child. Became heavier and heavier until he revealed to reprobates that he was carrying the weight of the entire world. With that reprobate realized that he was carrying the Christ Child for his service. Reprobates became a St known as Christopher. So that's the guy he's named after and that's relevant because he is going to take that name that he gets. Super. Literally someone sold you a bag of rocks, dude. You've been scammed. History, dude. Yeah, you have been scammed. And you know who else has been scammed, Michael? Ohh gosh, me. In the future, after I hear these great, wonderful products and services, I would say the people who haven't heard of these products and services have been scammed. But you know, you can judge for yourselves. You really turn me around on that issue, hmm? Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. 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That's better Com behind this fall on revisionist history there anything that we haven't talked about or or I should have asked you or you'd like to add that seems relevant? You should have asked me why I'm missing fingers on my left hand. A story about sacrifice. I think his suffering drove him to try to alleviate suffering. And the shocking discovery I made where I faced the consequences of writing a book I thought would help people? Isn't that funny? It's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Revisionist history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. Ohh, we're back. O Christopher is born just two years before one of the most critical events in Christian history, the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire. Now, this is a really fascinating story in and of itself, but it's importance to our story is that this was both seen as a sign of the looming apocalypse. The enemy was quite literally at the gates, and it was a calamity for European access to global trade. Constantinople was one of the I mean, it's still is like one of them. Manager if you just look at it on the map, you can see why it's an important port city, right it's you can't get **** by sea thrum from Asia to the Mediterranean without sailing around a bunch of ******* extra ******** unless you cross through the Bosphorus in the Dardanelles, which Constantinople effectively allows you to guard. And prior to its fall, Christian control of the city gave Europe basically all of its access to spices and textiles from the Orient, right? That's how you get stuff from China. That's how you get stuff from like, even, like, Eastern. You know, the Russian provinces, places like Kazakhstan, it flows to you through over the Black Sea, through ******* Constantinople. Constantinople falls. The Ottomans blast the **** out of it with some very cool cannons. And then suddenly Christians are like, Oh no, we're we're ******. And there's a fun little story here. They almost end the Eastern Orthodox Church as part of an agreement with the Pope to, like, send reinforcements to save them. But it doesn't quite work out in time, and it falls anyway. And then I guess the Eastern Orthodox Church is like. Well, why are we gonna, you know, yeah, **** it, I guess, yeah. Keep this party going. Yeah. Yeah. So when the Ottomans take Constantinople, which they call Istanbul, there's a good song about this setting up me finding my favorite bands 1000 years later or whatever. Although, you know, a lot of different ethnic groups in the region would say that it's quite a few other people's business. But the Turks, although under air to when the Turks would say that there are only Turks in Anatolia. This is a whole contentious. Strategical man hates universe man. Yeah, particle man hates universe man and recognizes the reality of the Armenian genocide. Good for him. That's what everyone knows about particle man. So when the Ottomans take Constantinople, they get the ability to tax and control all trade throughout the city, or that comes through the city, right? And so and obviously, like, you know, they're Muslim, Christians are Christian. There's some like bad blood there. So they don't have like the most interest in making it easy for Western Europe to like get goods from the east. They want to make their ******* cut. They've spent a lot of time going to war in order to get the ability to do this and. You know, this is a problem for Europe. There's attempts at crusades. None of them really work out very well, which is generally what happens with crusades. Usually they go very badly. And as Christopher goes grows up, he was probably a little too young, you know, when Constantinople falls to remember it. But a lot of his early memories are going to be adults talking about these attempted crusades, talking about the need to reconquer Constantinople and talking about fallen Jerusalem, right. And the fact that, like, that is a thing. That Christians should be trying to reconquer. So Jerusalem it was believed. Again, this is not like this is a belief at the time, but it's also a belief among a lot of Christians today that Jerusalem has to be in Christian hands. And particularly there's some ******* temple there that has to be returned to like being a Christian Church or turned into a Christian Church. I don't know if ever I'm not an expert on Jerusalem history. Don't yell at me. But like there's a Jerusalem has to be in control. Like the Christians have to be in control of it so that God can end the world, right? That's that. That's the idea. You know what Metatron said word for word? Yes, yes. But the problem is that Jerusalem fell to saladine in 1187 because again, crusades. Bad idea. That's not what we predicted. What? And and saladine very cool guy. We'll talk about him one of these days. But it's worth noting that like, this is very recent. Number one, things move a little bit more slowly back then in terms of history. This is 300 years before his birth, but this is also very recent. History to everybody in a lot of ways. And to think about, like, the way in which, like, this might have been talked about at the time, remember, the founding of the United States is a political entity, is about the same distance from you and me as the fall of Jerusalem was to Columbus as a young person. Think about the degree to which that period of time shapes all of our lives right now, the degree to which every people still talk about the quote UN quote, founders and ****. And that'll give you an idea of, like, how immediate and relevant the fall of Jerusalem would have been to Christopher Columbus as a kid. Right. Yeah. You can still win any argument if you can prove that. Thomas Jeff. Well, that's what Thomas Jefferson would have wanted. Which is. Exactly. And so why? And he cares about that. And in his day, the Trump card is, well, this will help us retake Jerusalem. Like, well, you're not focusing enough. Right. You know, totally makes sense. Yeah. So for young Christopher and for any good Catholic, it would have been taken as read that the chief goal of Christian Civilization ought to be the reconquest of the Holy Land. Now, this was, for some people, an actual fervent belief that they devoted their lives to. For most people, this is kind of like the way old people today talk about the deficit, right? Like they'll say, like, well, of course I want to retake Jerusalem, but like that we gotta do this too, 1st. And like, we got all this other stuff to do, right? Like it wasn't really on their front burner, you know, which is why it never gets retaken, among other reasons. So since there was no real hope of taking the city, and most of the actual rulers were not going to burn all of their treasure and all of their armies probably failing to retake Jerusalem Christians. At the time, who were fanatics had to content themselves with fantasies in order to, like, feel like there was a chance of actually retaking the city. One of the most common fantasies was about a guy named Prester John. They believed in. Who was this, like, mythical Christian warrior King. He's supposed to have a powerful Kingdom with a mighty army somewhere between Russia and China. A lot of times people would say it was like, kind of where Tibet actually is. And basically the way people talk about it is that, like, any day now, Prester John's going to save us from the the rampaging Muslim hordes. You know? He's going to come down from somewhere in Asia. And we'll we'll we'll beat those devious Muslims. You know, the other hope they had, and this may be surprising to people, was the Great Khan now. They're generally talking about Genghis or or or Kubla Khan right when they talk about the Great Khan. Now, none of those guys were around in Columbus's day. They were still talking about the Great Khan. The western connate had ended, which is like Russia Ish had ended in 1370 in the eastern connate was deep into decline by the late 1400s. But news didn't really travel back then, right? So like people just knew that a couple 100 years ago, the the Mongolians had been unstoppable. And assumed they still were. And one of the things that the Mongolians did was ******* absolutely curbstomp a big Muslim empire. Like they they ******* melt Baghdad. Basically. It is gnarly ****. And so. Another thing is that, like, you get these stories from Marco Polo, right, who's like 100 and 5200 years earlier than this. And still would have been very relevant in the day that Columbus is going up. In part because Columbus tells the story of like, his magical journey to Asia while he is captured by Gino's soldiers and imprisoned in Genoa. Right? Like he's another Italian and he like, gets captured in a war and he tells this ******* story. That's at least the the the story about how the story comes out. Hey, everybody. I screwed up here at this point and a couple of other points. I say Columbus when I meant to say Marco Polo makes it a little bit confusing. I apologize for the error and will burn a city in penance. And Columbus, one of the things he'd said in his purported voyage to, like, hang out with the Great Khan in Asia is that the Khan was really interested in Christianity. And if we could just get some guys to go talk to him about Jesus, he might convert and then we'll be able to retake the Holy Land, right? Because the ******* will do it for us once they're Christian, you know? Yeah. And so yeah, these are the stories people, and particularly people in young Columbus's orbit would have been telling themselves. And we know from his own writings and from things he says later, he grows up believing all this, both that there is a great con with a powerful army who's probably you can convert to Christianity if you can just he just is waiting for a guy to come talk to him, you know? He's just got to get the right dude and he'll be like, alright, we're Christians. Well, we almost got him, but we ran out of pamphlets. He. And out of pamphlets, we could have turned them. We we we got right up. We got right up to Jesus. But then we no one could tell what had happened after Jesus turned, like, 30. And so he was like, well, I don't see why this is. Yeah, we forgot, you know, Bible got wet. That's my deal, man. You should have been there, man. Yeah, if only the Pope had been there. None of us knew what Jesus did, because we're not allowed to read the Bible in this. Which is actually not wildly far from the truth. So. Columbus grows up believing all this and so probably do most of the people around him because Genoa is kind of people are pretty fanatically ******* Catholic there. His family is middle class, probably upper middle class, although again those terms in the 1400s not super useful for actually understanding, for one thing, politics. Even so, obviously all of the city states are constantly murdering each other. All of the different political factions in the cities are also constantly murdering each other and so your ability to be like. Quote UN quote middle class or whatever is heavily tied to like you being friends with the people who are in power and if they happen to get murdered, which happens constantly, **** can change very quickly for you because you're very much reliant upon them for like the right to sell or buy certain things or get this, you know, whatever government job. His father Domenico was a cloth Weaver who does good enough. He makes friends with the people who are in charge of the city. When Columbus is a little kid, he gets a cushy job at one point, like is the gatekeeper, which is a pretty, pretty sweet gig now as Columbus grows up, he goes to, obviously. He's he's attending church constantly. The cathedral that he would have gone to as a kid was most noted by this gigantic fresco it has of the apocalypse, which he's probably spending a lot of time thinking about the end of the world as. Yeah, interestingly, it was the first thing he saw, and he was gazing upon it as he lost his virginity for some reason. He got, like, really into it. Yeah, weird. It's his Star Wars. It's his whole personality. Understood? Yeah. He's got, like, all sorts of ******* what? The column funkopops of like pagans, whaling is Christ burns them. The heads really bubble. One of the most influential religious minds of his day, or slightly before his day, would have been the Franciscan monk St Bernardino who had given famous sermons in Genoa about a generation or so before Christopher was born. Bernardino was an apocalyptic preacher. He warned of an imminently coming end time and he would screech that today's Christians had slipped into sin and were in danger of damnation. God was angry at them because they weren't Christian enough. Yada yada Yada visited San Bernardino. It's pretty apocalyptic. It is. It is, yeah. It's the end of days. Blasted wasteland. That is how I feel. We gotta nuke it, just like the great light anyway. We'll talk about that later, Carol Delaney writes. Quote people would gather in town squares day after day, sitting for hours, listening, transfixed by this fascinating but horrific moral tales about the wages of sin. Bernardino focused especially on sins committed by witches, consorting with the devil, the sin of ****** and the sin of fraternizing with the Jews. You have to do that voice in that tone of voice, of course. Yeah, it's the only way. You know, specifically, you also are supposed to go ******. ****** kinda didn't. Yeah. Thank you. That's good. Yeah. His sermons were important enough that they were transcribed, copied and distributed widely by the time Christopher was a kid when he was nine. This fixation with sin and the need to fight for God would have been reinforced by the launching of a crusade by Pope Pius. The second being a port city, Genoa was a major rallying point for Crusaders. So it was a little kid. He's probably seeing a bunch of guys go off to do a crusade, which, again, doesn't go great because none of them. It is noteworthy that young Christopher grows up knowing how to read and write. This is not common at the time, and it is in fact widely agreed upon that his penmanship was gorgeous and that he could have made a solid living on the fact that he was really good at writing. Maybe he ******* should have done that then. Maybe he ******* should have done that. We aren't certain where he learned to read and write. His family was friendly with a group of wealthy nobles, the de Kunos, who will be relevant later in the story. It's also possible that he attended classes. With them just because, like, they're like, oh, you know, we've got a tutor for our rich kids. You're a friend of the family? Come on, learn how to read. It's. He also might have just gotten educated through the Guild that his father belonged to. Guilds are kind of doing running a lot of civil society in Genoa, and they they do provide education to kids of people who are in Guild. Sometimes it's worth noting also that because Jenna was a port city and the economy focused entirely around maritime trade, the fall of Constantinople leads to like, economic ****. ****. For Genoa, to make matters worse. The French, who are allied with some of Gino's enemy city states, are like in the period where he is a child and a young man, steadily raiding Gino and shipping and dominating its economy. Lawrence Bergreen, author of Columbus the Four voyages, notes that there are rumors that the Columbus family had once been half wealthy, but, like Janowa, had fallen from their past glory by the time Christopher came into the picture. Bergreen proposes that he may have been motivated to regain that lost glory and build a legacy for himself because both his city and his family. Used to be doing good, sure, but yeah. You think a guy named Christ Pharaoh might have grandiosity or like. Yeah, yeah. Well, it's. Did you say cristofaro? It's also got Ferrari. It does. It does a little bit. It does a little bit. And you're not that far from Egypt. So in late 1459, when Columbus was around 8, his family home was 50 yards from the Porta de San Andrea, where the dogs, who's basically the mayor of the town, gets cornered by a gang of rivals who are backed by the French and, like, murdered in the street. Like he's beaten to death with iron rods and his corpse is torn apart in front of everybody. This is 50 yards from Columbus's front door. There's a good chance he watches this, right? Like a pretty good shot. He's just looking at this from his window or something. And his father is allied with the guy who gets torn apart in the street. So this is this causes problems. He thought that mural was good. Get a load of this ****. This is his. This is his. Watching the Rugrats on Nickelodeon, you know, is is seeing this man torn apart in front of his house. What is that, an iron rod? That's pretty good. Yes, that's the, that's the, I don't know, The Simpsons season four of his child. The iron rod would be Angelica, clearly ohk. OK, then. That's fair. I I was gonna just, I was gonna compare the that man getting torn apart and beaten to death in front of his house to the the monorail episode. But yeah, it's all sure. Yeah. So I can't emphasize enough just how religious his upbringing would have been. The genoise, for all of the fact that they're Italians and sailors are a dower and joyless people, they are members of a *******. Death Cult, which is premillennial Catholicism, and in order to make that point, I want to quote from Lawrence Bergreen's book now. Clothing worn by the Genoise was strictly regulated by the Office of Virtue. Beginning in 1439, the office enforced a series of sumptuary laws to regulate morality by curbing luxury and excess as well as prostitution. These laws limited the amount of money genoise could spend on luxury items and even on weddings. Limited to 50 guests, they regulated the days on which prostitutes, a safe a staple of Gino's nightlife, could roam the streets. They measured their time with clients by the half hour, marked by a flickering candle. Girls with a candle, as the prostitutes were known, were forbidden to enter a cemetery or approach a church, and had to wear Insignia indicating their profession. If caught out of bounds, the prostitutes were punished by having their noses amputated and their livelihood ruined. Holy Shiza, so it's again, not fun people. Ever surprises me when it's like, and they were executed, but when it's so specific, when they're like, and they're left eye was plucked out and pinned to their breast and they wore it for a week and you're like, damn, she really thought this through. Yeah. They really put a lot of put a lot of work on the back end of this. Exactly. So these sumptuary laws mandated that men should wear only Gray clothing. Red and purple were strictly forbidden. Women had limits on how much jewelry they could own and how much money they could spend on dresses they were fined if they violated. These limits adultery also had a series of fines, and a woman who failed to pay her adultery fine would be beheaded. It is unclear if Columbus found these rules stifling, as he was a religious extremist himself, but he also spends most of his life in Lisbon, Spain, or in like in Portugal, in in Spain, or at sea. So, like, maybe he kind of was like, Jesus **** Gino was ********. He's living with us over here on the moon. He does. He does get the **** out of there about as quickly as he can. I mean, it feels like he purports to. Of the city. So it feels like the dad from the witch would get the **** out of there. Yeah, it does. It does feel like this is like, yeah, it's a little stern for me, we're going to live in the woods. But we don't know when he goes sailing for the first time, but as a genoise boy he would not have lacked opportunities to do so. Later in life he wrote that he started sailing at a young age and that he was particularly drawn to the art of navigation, which he said quote incites those who pursue it to inquire into the secrets of the world. For whatever reason, I often find myself reiterating to the audience that for most of Western history, 14 counted as an adult, and so when Christopher was that age, he starts working full time as a sailor. He probably started out. Sailing on a caravel, which is a sail bearing merchant vessel mainly was supposed to like kind of stick either close to the rivers or to the coastline, and he seems to have been good at this, enough that he signed on for several more trips. This is dangerous, backbreaking work. Young sailors are made to do the kind of tasks that older men, with their ruined joints and off broken bones, could no longer handle. As is always the case when young boys put to see there was a significant risk of being sodomized. You have no information about this whatsoever, so I'm not going to, like, belabor the point, but I believe that that is, that is a fact of sea life, yeah. Refer to The Pogues album Rum, ****** and the Lash For more information on that part of sailing. In addition to the obvious dangers of the sea, in the 1400s Italian sailors in the Mediterranean lived under constant threat of attack. Every city in Italy was always at war with every other city, and they can always like if you're always allowed to be a pirate to other Italians. So Italians haven't changed all that much in the last couple 100 years. It is not unlikely that Christopher would have found himself in the midst of several small neighbors. Naval skirmishes in his early 20s. All we know for certain, though, is that by the time he was 21 he had mastered the skills of a sailor and he had proven himself to be a particularly gifted navigator. He had also developed a talent for manipulation. I'm going to quote from Carol Delaney here. He was commissioned by King Rene of Anjou, who would continue to oversee the government of Savona, to capture a galeus, a very large 3 masted galley that included rowers as well as sails off the coast of Tunis. Enroute, Columbus learned that in addition to the Galeus there were two ships and a carrack which frightened my people and they regard resolved to go no further but to return to Marseille to pick up another ship and more men. I, seeing that I could do nothing against their wills without some ruse, agreed to their demand and changing the point of the compass made it sail at nightfall and at sunrise. The next day we found ourselves off Cape Carthage while all aboard were certain we will bound for Marseille. So he, like as the navigator, secretly takes them into battle when they think they're going back for reinforcements because he doesn't want to like **** ** this deal he's got going on with this king. And one of the things that saves him on this because this goes pretty well for them. Gina Wise are like the best sailors. They are famously good at fighting at sea. The first time we can confirm Christopher experienced ship to ship combat was in 1476 when he was 25 and his convoy. So he's in a convoy of ships and they get accosted by a group of French privateers allied with an Italian city state and they're outnumbered. I think it's something like 2 to one like this is a disastrous looking battle, but the genoise lose 3 ships, including the boat that Columbus is on, and the attackers lose 4. Hundreds and hundreds of men die, and this is they have like rudimentary guns and cannons. At this point, for the most part, they're slamming their boats into each other and beating each other to death with sticks and knives at close range and lighting each other on fire with petroleum. Just iron. Raw. It is a nightmare and he fights in this battle. He fights in this battle, very nearly dies. His ship sinks and he has to swim 6 miles to shore clinging to an oar like this is it? Is it? It is very unlikely that he survives the circumstances he finds himself in, but he manages to do it. Umm. He eventually winds that land, America and we yes, yeah. And he finds himself in Lagos and Portugal. They take care of him because there's generally all the seafaring cities, like, even if they're at war, are kind of like, well, if you're a sailor who, like, washes up, we have a duty to, like, take care of you because that's just kind of good business, you know, for everybody. So they take they, they they they patch him up. And he eventually gets back in the convoy which had survived the battle, and he finishes his voyage in London. While he's in London, he takes on another gig and he actually sails as far north as Iceland, which at that point is known as though I think it's actually pronounced. Now it was during this far northern voyage that Christopher first felt the easterly currents of the Atlantic, which helped to inspire an idea in him. If he were to voyage far to the West, beyond the roots known to any European, he could probably count on those eastern currents to carry him back to Europe. It was also on this trip that he visited Galway, where several frozen dead bodies had washed up and they appeared. Columbus says that they're Asian people. He has never met anybody from that part of the world. He has read descriptions in Marco Polo. And these are waterlogged corpses. Who knows what dead people he encountered? 3 John Wayne. Yeah. Like, he has no idea who these people are. He decides they're probably from, like, China. And he concludes because of these waterlogged corpses, that Asia is much closer to Western Europe on the western side than previously guessed. Right. So he's like, oh, look at these. Yeah. So you could see things coming together based largely on, like, a mix of accurate things. Yes. Those currents can, in fact carry you. Back from, you know, the West to to to Europe. Uh, we gotta ask. Just not for jewels. Why? Look at this bloated corpse. What do you mean? Why? Why? Look at this dead body. This **** *** ************ means that I'm gonna get rich. So in between his voyages, Christopher settles into a new life in Lisbon among the expat Genoise community. There again, they're the best sailors pretty much in the Mediterranean. So, like, they're kind of in demand everywhere else that has ports. So they they set up a lot of different like little little Lisbon, everybody wears Gray and traffics children. Sailing thing because of the city video game. They are very, yeah, super good at sailing and said yes, the sex trafficking doesn't make it into civil. I never unlocked that perk. I wanted it so bad. See, that's why you that's why you keep losing Michael Gandhi nukes me always. It's tough. So he gets married in a 1479. She's gonna die right away, don't worry. And he has a child, Diego. In 1480 now, his wife's father participated in Portugal's first colonizing mission in Porto Santo, between Europe and Africa. The island is Portugal's base of operations for their colonizing in Africa, which had started in this. Portugal is starting to operate, and it's not this is not colonization in the sense that you are going to see it later during the scramble to Africa. They are taking in and governing large land masses. They are setting up kind of trading missions on the African coast, right? And it's here that we're going to need to leave Carol Delaney's account of Columbus's life behind, because she leaves this part entirely out. This is the first major bit of whitewashing and her Columbus in Jerusalem book, she she does talk a little bit about the time he spends on the African coast. She notes that in late 1481 or early 1482, he participates in a trip to Portuguese controlled Ghana. For a bunch of complicated reasons we don't need to get into, the Pope had given Portugal the right to handle all trade on the West African coast, only Portugal. Gets to do that in this. This comes with the rights to enslave any pagans or Muslims they encounter. Now, again, this is slavery. This is not yet racial slavery, because if people convert to Christianity before they're enslaved, they cannot be enslaved. So this is religious slavery. Right like that is the basis for it, as opposed to what's going to be the basis for it in the future, which is Nice, but it's different. Hung up on the fact that it's the Pope's call that the Pope decides gets the right to go to spoil. Africa. It's bizarre. Yeah. It's the. And he said and he says Portugal. Yeah. So Delaney mentions this that, like, they have the right to enslave people that they encounter on the. They're like, Oh well, then by all means, yeah. But she spends most of her time just talking about, like, so there's these series of beliefs that Europeans have about skin color and the equator. It is generally taken that people skin gets darker closer to the equator. There are some attendant racial beliefs that are kind of like the early stirrings of the kind of. White racial hierarchy that's going to be in place not that far in the future. This is where like those ideas are coming together, but there's this understanding that like people near the equator have darker skin, they are very smart, but they can't control their emotions. Whereas people who are like further N are are dumb but calm. And then like people who are in people in Europe are the perfect balance of everything. So that's why we're the best, right? This is more or less their understanding of like and they also at the same time again because. Everyone's very dumb back, then. They believe that all metal is the same thing, and that the closer you get to the equator, the more time metal has to, like, ripen. And that's what makes it gold. So they there's this is valuable context for what comes next, that Europeans at the time believe. Your skin gets darker closer to the equator and no matter where you are in the world, and all metal is metal, and you find gold at the equator, right? Yeah. This is again why he winds up, because again, you think about Columbus's trying to sail W to find land. Why wouldn't he start? His voyage, like from the coast of Iberia, you know, further north or further north and Europe, as opposed to he sails to the Canary Islands. And then he goes into the Caribbean. He goes down South because the equators where you find gold, right. So it's because of these beliefs that he picks the route that he picks. So this is valuable context for what comes next. But Carol Delaney, just when she talks about Columbus's time on the African coast, this is all she talks about, like the geographical knowledge he acquires, his growing understanding of winds and currents. The notes he makes in his log book, that's all the detail, like this line here, is about all of the detail you get about Columbus's time in Ghana. Quote, with the new information about winds and currents that Columbus absorbed on this trip, combined with his belief about the width of the ocean, he concluded that the ocean could be crossed and that on the far side of it, in the same climactic zone, there would be gold. Now, again, that's not useless context, but if you have an inquisitive mind, you might be going, hmm, right now. I bet he probably. I bet he did other stuff when he was on the coast of Africa. Because he spends eight years in Lisbon and he makes a number of voyages for Portugal. And in order to talk about what he's doing in that. I'm going to quote now from the book the other slavery by Andres Resendez. Andre resendez. Sorry. The early Portuguese slave trade assumed several forms, from inherited slavery to indentured servitude, forced labor for a fixed period of time, occasionally with modest wages. This was the form of slavery with which Columbus was familiar. He briefly wrote about his experimenting with importing entire families from Guinea to Portugal, not just men, and his disappointment that the experiment did not ensure greater loyalty or cooperation among the slaves. The problem is, Columbus saw it was the Babel of tongues spoken in Guinea. Now, the fact that Columbus is importing entire enslaving and importing entire families from the African coast to Europe, Carol Bellamy doesn't think that's worth talking about because she makes a major the through line in her book is that he wasn't pro slavery. And he was horrified at the fact that people kept getting enslaved, like it's one of those like Casablanca gambling occurring in this establishment moments, but with, you know, the ownership of human beings. She's like, well, he was there, he accrued people skills and managed he didn't like. Slavery. She completely leaves out the fact that he is he is enslaving and importing entire families into Europe in this period of time. Now obviously this is again pretty normal behavior for a guy at the time. The slavery that the Portuguese are engaged in is not pretty, but again, it's also not what it is going to become yet. But he is enslaving people. He is in the business of being a slave trader way before he is sailing to the New World. So when we talk about what comes later. Slavery is not something that does not come naturally to Christopher Columbus, but Michael. It's time for a word from our sponsors and I want to talk about a special thing that we're supporting today. Michael, you love the environment, right? I'll think about it. Big fan, big fan of look, we'll see. I think we can all agree. Wastefulness. One of the major problems that that our species. Sure. Right. Well, wait, yeah. Half of the food grown in the United States, you know, gets gets wasted. You know, vampire drain, which is just the power we use on devices that no one is using, just completely unnecessary power drain. 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And the shocking discovery I made where I faced the consequences of writing a book I thought would help people? Isn't that funny? It's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Revisionist history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. Ohh, we're back. O Columbus, the slave trader, comes along away from his time enslaving people in order to profit for Portugal, convinced that he could sail West and reach Asia. This would allow him to avoid the Muslim blockade on trade from that part of the world is not really a blockade, but it like it makes it a lot more expensive and difficult. Whenever you have political **** with the Ottoman Empire, they're not going to let you trade, so it's like a problem. For the Christians. So he sees this both as if we can get to Asia from the West, number one, we can get all their good **** #2. We can get all that gold. Because if we can get down, if there's this lanet, there's probably a ******** of gold there. And we can convert all these good willed heathens who, as we know from Marco Polo, are just waiting for a guy who likes Jesus enough. And then they're going to, they're all going to give up whatever they've been doing, you know, it's it's going to be fine. And yet the Ottomans are an obstacle, as they so often are. Ask Dick Van Dyke. Oh, I'm sorry for that. Was that was good. That was upsetting to me. That was not good. You go ahead. No, that was fine. That was fine. Because the only person who's committed more genocide than than Christopher Columbus is famously Dick Van Dyke. The walnuts that came out of closet each represented a village that he. That's right. That's right. That's right. That's why I don't know how to continue this bit anyway as one scholar. Columbus exchanged letters with said quote. It will also be a voyage to kings and Princess who are very eager to have friendly dealings and speech with the Christians of our countries because many of them are Christians. So again they also believe that there's all these Christians stuck over in Asia who are like isolated from broader Christendom that they can like make deals with. This is not entirely there are like groups of Christians in the east that like are kind of separated from the there's like Nestorian Christians and stuff. So it's not this doesn't come out of nowhere, right? But obviously like among other things there. There, there winds up, you may not know this, Michael. There's actually a couple of continents in between Europe and Asia and the West, like, yeah, they're pretty big ones. So much of the next bit of stuff is things you're going to remember from your time in middle school social studies class. Columbus spends years going to all of the rich people, the nobles and kings that are listened to him. He tries to sell them on his grand scheme to cross the ocean. This brings us back to Carol Delaney, because she is very much in the right. By trying to return to a historic understanding of the fact that Christopher Columbus is not motivated primarily by a desire to explore or to some capitalistic urge to find new markets. He is a religious extremist. And he wants to sail West in order to fund a holy war. Now, during this. He's living in Lisbon. He starts reading the Bible, and this is a weird thing for him to do. People don't read the Bible back then, right? Normal people do not. Most of them are illiterate, for one thing. And there's also a strong understanding, sometimes enforced through law, that the word of God is not supposed to be consumed directly by worshippers. It is supposed to be transmitted through the clergy to worshippers, right? But Columbus starts reading the Bible for himself, and it's only available in Latin, right? You're not getting the Bible in other languages. It's considered kind of like sacrilege to translate the ******* Bible. So he starts reading the Bible and he's, he's, he's starting to read the Bible primarily because he wants to calculate when the end of the world is coming because he needs to. He he knows that Christians have to reconquer Jerusalem and he's trying to figure out, like, how much time is on the clock, right. How much time do we have to retake this city? Twist ending is he is the end of the world. He is the end of the world, yes. But there was there were 17159 years left, plenty of time for 15th century Christians to complete the necessary tasks before the end time. 20 years later, however, Columbus Revisited and revised his calculations and drastically reduced the number of years left to 155. If his earlier vision had been focused primarily on wrestling Jerusalem from the Muslims, he was now beginning to see that it as an integral part of the world historical drama that would culminate in the end of the world. So again, his goal is to end all life on Earth. That that is, that is his motivation. What a fortunate coincidence that after revisiting the information, it turns out I'm the most important one to ever live. And it's all going to happen during my watch, under my auspices. Yeah, yeah. I am the special boy who gets to end all life on Earth. That's that's a pretty again shoot for the stars so you'll land on the moon or whatever. He almost got there. There's a lot of people who are like, I want to sail to this place. People haven't been able, as far as I'm aware of that people have never sailed to before. And there's also a lot of people who are like, I'm fine with selling slaves. Not a lot of people are saying I am taking personal responsibility for heralding the apocalypse. Would like, that's that's Columbus the beast. Unleash the energy of God upon people. Yeah. It's unique. It's quite a goal. What do you wanna be when you grow up? Yeah, the bringer of the end of all things. Wait, wait. In a good way. In a good way. Yeah. Yeah. So like many fanatics before and after, he saw himself as a key ingredient in God's plan. And he came to believe that his budding understanding of how he might sail W to Asia was a key aspect in God's design. Quote. He knew that another crusade would be necessary if Jerusalem was to be retaken from the Muslims. He knew that there was enough gold in the east to finance such a crusade. He also knew that if the Grand Khan and his people. To be converted, as seemed likely he could count on their support. Oh, super. Like, yeah, yeah. So many of us probably did learn in school that Columbus believed the world was round and most people thought it was flat. I think this has been debunked fairly well. Anyone who thought about it was probably true that a lot of people didn't think about the shape of the world because, like, there's plagues and stuff, like, you got **** to do, but anybody who's sailed and navigated knew that the earth was broadly spherical. Columbus was not a trailblazer here. And in fact, his understanding and theories of he's terrible at geography. He felt that Asia was so huge that there was very little ocean between Europe and Asia and generally he believed that like 1/6 of the Land's surface was ocean and the rest of it is all land. He also ended his life thinking the earth was pear shaped rather than round. So again, not great at the stuff that everyone gave him credit for when we were kids. Most of Columbus's attempts to convince royalty to back his plan failed. The King of Portugal is more interested in getting around the Horn of Africa. He's also put off by Columbus's list of demands for carrying out the exploration, which are bug **** and I'm going to quote from Bear Green's book Columbus only Green M&M's upon the ship. It's kind of worse than that. The personal demands that Columbus made of King Joao were far more onerous and unrealistic. He wanted a title, preferably Knight of the Golden Spurs, that would permit him and his descendants. Style themselves, Don, he also wished for himself the grandest title he could think of, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, with all the privileges of rank prerogatives, rights, revenue, and immunities enjoyed by the Admirals of Castile. Even to Portuguese ears accustomed to overstatement, this description verged on the absurd. A tireless conversationalist and self promoter, Columbus never knew when to stop, and he demanded appointment as viceroy and governor in perpetuity. Of all the lands and Terraferma discovered either personally by him or as a result of his voyage and he planned to award. Himself 110th of all the monies accruing to the Crown and respect of gold, silver, pearls, gyms, metals, spices and other articles of value and merchandise of whatever kind, nature or variety that should be purchased, bartered, discovered or won in battle through the length and breadth of the lands under his jurisdiction. So he doesn't just want to discover things, he wants to personally be the emperor of everything discovered under the King of Portugal, but he wants it to be his property, whatever they find. Basically, he wants the Eldon ring and the Iron Throne. He wants it all so that, again, it's not to say that he's not greedy. He's in this extraordinarily greedy man. It's also that his greed is focused on. He wants to build riches so that he can contribute to the conquest of Jerusalem and in the world. So his demands are extreme and outlandish, and burglary notes that he was basically trying to. He was basically saying, hey, if I do this, you have to make me almost as powerful as you. King of Portugal right now, the Portuguese king. For a little bit of context, this guy once stabbed his child nephew to death in a jealous rage. So this is like not a man you **** with. And in fact, a lot of historians are kind of surprised that Columbus doesn't just get murdered for saying this kind of **** to the King of Portugal. Well, they were in the middle of an iron. God shortage. Yeah. Yeah. And this this dude again. The King of Portugal is a crazed, violent narcissist. And he's like, wow, this Christopher Columbus dude. It's a crazy, violent narcissist. Yeah. Jesus, this guy needs therapy, am I right? Oh, I stabbed you to death. Sorry. So, Christopher, you know things don't work out. There's some back and forth with Portugal. We're not going to go into tremendous detail about all this. Christopher tries with other sovereigns. He since his brother Bartholomew, who's like better at talking to England to try and convince that king to fund the voyage. He doesn't have any luck with that. Eventually, at age 40 and kind of feeling like, because at 40, you're kind of old to be a sea captain, he travels to Spain, which is kind of his last hope, right? That, like, maybe I can convince these ******* monarchs to fund my ****. Now, again, he's an old man. He's starting to panic that, like, he's never going to get to do these things that he think God wants him to do. But over the course of several years, he manages to, like, wrangle an audience with Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. A lot of this is because he's he gets in good with a bunch of monks and, like, there's some, like, rich. Dude, who visits the monks and the rich dude is like, this is a good idea. I know the king and Queen and it's a whole process. You can learn all of the history if you want by reading about it. I think it's kind of boring, like place mat in a chain restaurant. Yeah, exactly. It worked, right? And both of these Ferdinand and Isabella. Again, First off, not a love match, not very similar people. Both of them had just spent the last few years unifying Spain, which is a pretty violent process. They kick out all of the Muslims or force them to convert. They also force all of the Jewish people to convert or leave. They they, like, ethnically cleanse all of the Jewish people who won't leave their religion. And those people have to sail to the Ottoman Empire, which is, like the only place that'll take them. It's a pretty gnarly process. There's an inquisition, right, that happens in this. There's all these crimes against humanity. Maybe we'll talk about it one of these days. These are not nice people, which is fun because they're both going to be much more moral people than Christopher Columbus, as the story goes on. But I just want you to know. These are the Inquisition people. So when we're talking about them being outraged at Christopher Columbus's behavior, it's the people who started the Inquisition who are like, wow, this guy is not very, like, very like, bad person. Anyway, Christopher manages to get a sit down meeting with the Queen in May of 1486 for the first time. Carol Delaney makes sure to note that he's hot, which is a little weird, but then bear green also kind of says that he's hot, so maybe he was hot. He is a charismatic dude, obviously, because he's he talks them into this eventually. So yeah, maybe he's hot. I don't know. He does succeed in talking to King and Queen into funding his expedition, mainly the queen. The King never really buys into Columbus, but like his wife is on board and he's like. What are you gonna do? You know, diversify portfolio, throw some gyms this way, some gyms that way, see what happens. This is a law he has to follow. He's kind of like following the King and Queen for half a decade while they finish the series of battles to like unify their realm. He actually fights in a battle to take the city of Basa in Grenada in order to impress them and apparently fights very well. Like yeah, like they he he goes to war for them and stuff during this period to try to convince them to let him take a bunch of boats. They conquered Granada, and despite the fact that a Commission they convened to study his proposal is like this is impossible. Queen Isabella decides to trust Columbus more than her advisers, and she approves the expedition. Ferdinand again doesn't fight his wife on the matter. Now you know what comes next, right? In 14192, Columbus sailed his *** across the ocean blue in three ships, the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria. He set sail on August 3rd, 14921 bit of fun trivia. The Nina and the Pinta are assembled last minute by a Spanish town that had like ****** *** the king and queen and owed them a bunch of money. So like 2/3 of the fleet was built at the last minute as kind of a bribe. The ships are technically the property of these brothers who Columbus is going to have an issue with, but we'll talk about that in the next episode. I'm not going to others. They were called and they're like, we'll do even better than that. You'll see. As they shook their fists at the diminishing boats, they almost figured it out. So I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about the voyage. It's worth noting that Columbus was the thing that he's best at is navigating not geography. He's constantly wrong, and he gets into a lot of trouble and gets other people into trouble because he refuses to accept that he's terrible at, like, geography, but he's incredible at what's called dead reckoning. And this is. I don't. This sounds like magic to me. You're basically sitting in a dark room, building charts and estimating distances based on compass readings that you've taken. And normally when people do dead reckoning, they have other data that, like other sailors, have taken sailing the same route. So they're just kind of modifying it slightly in order to, like, optimize the route. No one has done this route before, so Christopher is flying purely on instinct and just like doing math in his cabin to figure out. How to get from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean and the route he picks is, is still, to this day, basically the best sale route between Europe and the Caribbean. Like, if you're sailing that distance, you more or less do just what Columbus figures out without any benefit of anything. But like a compass. And like his ability to do math, it is an astounding achievement in navigation, Samuel Morrison, who's a Harvard sailor who recreated Columbus's voyage in 1939, wrote when he was analyzing genocide and everything. They did the whole bit he does. He killed so many people. Yeah. Harvard. Uh, quote, No such dead reckoning. Navigators exist today. No man alive. Limited to the instruments. And means that Columbus's disposal could obtain anything near the accuracy of his results. So he's pretty good at this one thing. Perfect pitch of navigating the ocean. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's the thing that he's good at. Redeem credit where it's due right now, as we're all aware. He again, bad at actual geography. He does not find a. He sure knew his way around this old pair. Yeah, well, a little bit of it. So he lands eventually after like 33 days on a little island off the coast of Hispaniola or modern day Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Here is how Carol Delaney describes the moment of their first landing quote. As the anchors were dropped, the men stood on the decks and gazed at the Green Island, a soothing sight after so long at sea with only Gray blue water and sky, and saw naked people. Columbus summoned the Pinzone brothers. The captains of the other two ships donned his armour and went ashore on the launch, carrying the Royal banner and two flags emblazoned with a green cross and the initials of Ferdinand and Isabella. Now the Spanish sailors, they're relieved, first of all. The fact that these natives, you know, they're naked, they have paint that's not familiar, they look peculiar, but they also look like normal humans. Which is a huge relief because at the time, all of these guys believe what Pliny the Elder wrote about geography, which is that these other islands are like, there's these things called anthropophagy, which are like headless monsters with like torso men that like, are cannibals and stuff. So they see these guys, like, dams and stuff. Yeah, it's normal people. Great. Like that. That is kind of like the first overwhelming reaction is like, oh, thank God they're not letters. Yeah, they're not monsters. Oh, cool. We were really worried about that. All right, well, let's talk about the apocalypse. Yeah. Columbus never believed there were monsters on his part. He is moved to comment on how attractive they are, which everyone does in this. He names the island, which had been inhabited basically forever. San Salvador. Quote, he called for the Escribano scribe and as protocol. Dictated he had him record his witness that he took possession of it in the name of the Catholic sovereigns with appropriate ceremony and words. Taking possession of lands hitherto unknown or undiscovered was primarily a signal to other European nations to keep off a sign that whoever took possession first had the preeminent right to discover, explore and establish trading posts. It did not automatically imply conquest or ownership. Now, that's what Carol writes, and it's really interesting to me that she's trying to push this claim like, well, he wasn't really. He was just this is just a warning to other Europeans. Wasn't really saying we own this. Now, obviously that's not what this means necessarily, which is very silly because that's exactly what it means and exactly what he's done. And she later writes about the process of him conquering and, like taking and and governing these islands for Spain. It's extremely funny that she even now has to, like, pretend that that he's not just seeing islands inhabited by people and immediately being like, we own this **** now I'm governor, which is exactly what he actually is doing. So he writes excitedly about the resources on the islands he keeps finding. Like, we'll talk more about this in episode 2, but he keeps seeing people like little gold pieces of jewelry. And he spends a lot of the next couple of weeks eagerly searching to go for gold, trying to find minds that Spain can exploit. Because that's really everything to him, right? He has promised the sovereigns, I'm going to find gold, and we're going to use that to fund an army that we can use to bring about the apocalypse. Very, very ripe here. Yes, the metal is ripe. To the point, though, he writes very enthusiastically and positively about the local culture. And in fact, it's probably worth noting that there's elements of what he writes that are not terrible whatchamacallit, diminishing their culture or reductive. No, he's he's super. There are elements of that. He's, but he's also there's like a lot of like one of the things that's noted is that he's one of the few guys in these voyages who's like all about trying out the native foods and stuff. And he writes early, there's there's things that he does, minimize and stuff. It's worth noting that, like, Carol points out a lot about how enthusiastic, enthusiastic and positive he is about them, but also she kind of, again, among the other things she ignores is that he's enthusiastic about them because of what good subjects they're going to make for the Spanish crown, right? That's the thing he's most excited about. Delaney gives Columbus great credit for the fact that his immediate thing is like, oh, these people are, if you want to talk about diminishing, he decides based on a couple of days of communicating with them through hand signals. That they don't have a real religion. Now, what he means by that, and Carol's like, well, all he means by that is that they're not Muslim or or, you know, some other kind of clear Pagan religion. They don't have strict beliefs, so he thinks that they'll take to Christianity. He's literally saying based on hand gestures, I'm pretty sure they don't believe in anything. So we could make up Christian real easy, right? The other thing that Carol, this is where we're really getting into the **** about her that's ****** **. She's like, look, the fact that he thinks the natives will be easy to convert to Christianity. It's a gossler man. It's not just that, it's a compliment. It means that he doesn't want to enslave them, because you can't enslave Christians. You can enslave someone, and then they can convert to being Christian, and that doesn't free them. But if you convert them into Christianity, they cannot be enslaved, right? So she's like, look, Christopher Columbus clearly didn't want anything bad for these people because he wanted to convert them. This is again very ****** ** of her, very manipulative and and and sketchy. It's also ******* nonsense. Lawrence Bergreen describes things rather differently. Quote the Spanish had come all this way across the Ocean Sea expecting to confront a superior civilization. How disconcerting. To be confronted with naked people who were very poor and everything. Columbus and his men would have to be careful not to hurt them rather than the other way around. I saw some who had marks of wounds on their bodies and made signs for them to. Ask what it was, and they showed me that people of other islands which are near came there and wished to capture them, and they defended themselves. And I believe that people do come here from the mainland to take them as slaves. Slaves, the idea in slaves, yeah, the idea instantly struck Columbus as plausible, even desirable. They ought to be good servants, he continued. And if good skill for I see they repeat quickly everything that is said to them. So Delaney's like, of course he doesn't want to enslave him. He wants to convert them. And ******* Lawrence Bergreen just points out the first thing he writes about these people is they're going to be great slaves. Like, that's like servants, right, servants. But what happens is they all get enslaved. So I think it's clear what he means. So he has, he has discovered, quote UN quote new people. And the thought number one is like. Oh man, #1, these people are not as good at fighting as at us and #2, it's going to be really easy as **** to enslave them, hot dog. And we're going to talk about what comes next and everything Christopher Columbus does and we will, we will try to give some insight into these people that he has found to because they go extinct very quickly. And so there's not as much known about them as is ideal. But there there is some, there are some people trying to do decent anthropology in this. Including delas Casas to try to like save something of like these folks. So we'll talk, we will be talking about that and we will be talking about. Everything else that Christopher Columbus is about to do, which is. Much worse. It gets a lot worse after episode one. I know. He's been a very likeable guy up to this point. Yeah, as another famous Colombo once said, uh, one more thing. And then genocide. Yeah, and then genocide. So, Michael, how are you feeling at the end of part one? Has this changed your mind on Christopher Columbus? I'll tell you, I thought Amerigo Vespucci was a ***** ** ****. This guy? Yeah. No, I'm uneasy, Robert. I'm leaning on puns for my own comfort. Yeah, I mean Amerigo Vespucci. Christopher Columbus. Look, do we need to figure out what's going on with Italians? You know, maybe shut down immigration from that, from that perfidious isthmus? I don't understand geographic terms. Like Columbus. I broaden it to all humanity. I mean, we're all just metal ripening in the wind. We're all just metal ripening in the wind. That's right. That's right. Until next time, find the director. Chris Columbus. And just Huck a beer bottle at him. Like, really, really brain him hard right in the side of the head, **** him. Or at least pull your arm back in anticipation of a hug. And then TuneIn for the next episode. Yeah, yeah. What is he? What is he directed? What are his movies? I don't know. Director named. Oh, he did the Harry Potters movie? Well, there you go. That's reason enough. Yeah, screw that turf. I guess by association, even though there's. I've heard nothing but fine things about Chris Columbus. Great. Literally never heard anything about it. Really glad you maneuvered me into that. Yeah, he has the name of the other guy. I don't know. He looks like a guy who would, you know, enslave an entire people. You know what I say? Screw people who have the same name as someone else, right? Robert Evans. Like them. Hey, all all my namesake ever did was a hell of a lot of cocaine. Yeah. Yeah, he's a great. Yeah. There's nothing wrong with either Robert Evans, if you ask me. Nope. Not going to read into that anymore. O Michael, got any plug ables to plug? Oh sure, I'll do a second plug. Thank you so much. Uh, specifically, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one upsmanship. If you like hearing about video games as an art form and sort of the whole medium and the ongoing dialectic of what games are real good, me and my buddy Adam Ganser discuss that at length every week on one upsmanship. That's the number one UPS Manship. Check us out. Now, Michael. Hmm? I just learned something ****** ** about Christopher Columbus. The director. OHS production. Oh, a real thing. His production company. 1492 pictures. Oh, does this mean that the Harry Potter movies were created as part of an occult right to end the world? Because our Christopher Columbus also views himself as an agent of the Apocalypse, Harry has to reestablish the promised land as like the magical Kingdom needs to take over the Marvel world. Perhaps this Christopher Columbus is is gathering gold to himself by making movies in order to retake Jerusalem. And you said he was hot, and but we don't. We're not sure exactly what he looks like. I'm gonna assume he has just slits for a nose and is basically a Voldemort. Yes. Yes. Always saying is it took Robert, I don't know, 20 seconds to turn a man into a *******. 20 seconds. That's it. Anyway, hunt him down, folks. Bring him to justice. Oh, he directed the home alone films and Missus Doubtfire. Oh no. Call off your dogs. Yeah. No, no, no. No hunting. No, no hunting. This is the greatest moral quandary. Behind the ******** history. We'll have to crack that nut next time. Hmm. Goodbye. Behind the ******** is a production of cool zone media. For more from cool Zone Media, visit our website, or check us out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it then after just 18 months of podcasting with spreaker. I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioural discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Survive on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.