For the past 500 years, Eurocentric global miseducation or His-Story has promulgated the notion that Christopher Columbus "discovered" the New World; of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
This article conducts an Afri-centric analysis of the Columbus mythology/Big Lie.
At the outset, it must be stated quite equivocally that Columbus not only discovered absolutely nothing, but, in fact, he was the one who was actually lost, period.
In his book titled They Came Before Columbus (1976), late Guyanese anthropologist/historian Dr Ivan Van Sertima has proven that Africans were in the Americas in the BC era about 1,000 years before Columbus. Columbus/Europeans came to this region in the AD era.
Columbus himself acknowledged this historical truism when he wrote in his diary on his second voyage in September 1493 as follows: "The natives of Hispaniola (Now Haiti) came to me and told me that Blacks (Africans) had come from the South and Southeast trading with them in gold-tip medal spears. They (Africans) came in large boats."
In his article titled "Pre-Columbian Black Presence in the Western Hemisphere" (1975), Almose A Thompson postulates that "At the time of Columbus, African navigators were in advance of their white European counterparts . They had established documented trade with China, Mediterranean Europe, India and Atlantic islands. The Africans laid the cornerstone for the major advances in maritime arts by applying their knowledge of measurement science to the field of navigation. During the fifteenth century, Prince Henry the Navigator, set up a school where Portuguese instructors of navigation were taught in turn at Moorish (African) schools. Here, pilots were instructed in the art of navigation, including those of Columbus. The (most) important thing to note is that the Moors (Africans) prepared (educated) some of the Europeans who subsequently made major Atlantic 'discovery' crossings."
Prof Thompson concludes as follows: "In the face of overwhelming preponderance of evidence, we must accept the fact that Africans reached the shores of the Western Hemisphere before Columbus."
And according to Dan Carlinsky (1992), "On 12 October, Columbus reached what he thought was 'the Indies'— the islands of the Orient— in the vicinity of Japan. The landfall was , in fact, in the Bahamas." Moreover, Columbus not only "miscalculated the size of the earth" but has also falsely laid claim to have 'discovered' America.
One American-Indian sets the record straight by categorically emphasising that " Native Americans had built great civilisations with many millions of people long before Columbus wandered lost into the Caribbean." Furthermore "He (Columbus) didn't discover us; we knew where we were. (Columbus didn't know where he was)."
According to the late Afri-centric, African-American scholar/historian Dr John Henrik Clarke: "The Columbus anniversary (October 12) is a celebration of mass murder, slavery, and conquest. Christopher Columbus discovered absolutely nothing; he was an adventurer, an opportunist and a wilful murderer and a liar and that what he set in motion was the basis of Western capitalism and exploitation of both Africans and indigenous Americans who had committed no crimes against European people and did not know of ( the)European intention to conquer and enslave them. (The ) facts are plain: Columbus was a thief, an invader, an organizer of rape of Indian women, a slave trader, a reactionary religious fanatic and the personal director of a campaign of mass murder of defenceless peoples."
Now is the time for Caribbean education ministers to pass a resolution to the extent that the chapter captioned "Discovery of the West Indies by Columbus" should be deleted/expunged from every textbook written about the history of the Caribbean/West Indies.
Now is the time, in the era of 50 years of putative political independence and "Independent Thought and Caribbean Freedom" for Caribbean people to re-write their own history (Our Story) and not to perpetuate, re-iterate and regurgitate His- Story.
Now is the time for Caribbean people to put potent measures in place to emancipate themselves from mental slavery because "none but ourselves can free our minds." As deceased/assassinated leader of the then Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) during the heyday of Apartheid in South Africa, Steve Biko, once admonished: "The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
In the final analysis, now is the time for conscious Caribbean people to look at their history from their own perspective/frame of reference in order to retrieve/recapture/reclaim their mind from the clutches of European indoctrination, albeit euro-centric global mis-education /analysis/interpretation of Caribbean history.
• Dr Kwame Nantambu is a part-time
lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies