Subversive Historian – 07/31/09

Columbus Arrives in Trinidad

Back in the day on July 31st, 1498, Christopher Columbus didn’t discover the Caribbean island now known as Trinidad, but descended upon its shores anyway. As part of his Third Voyage to the Americas, Columbus claimed the land days later for the Spanish crown in spite of its original inhabitants and renamed it in the Spanish word for the “Holy Trinity.” Such was not reassuring, however, as three years prior, the European expeditionary invoked the very same trinity of the Christian faith to enslave the inhabitants of the island of Haiti. The future that awaited Trinidad after Columbus did not fare much better and can be most dramatically told by the population decline over the centuries of its native people.

It has been estimated that 40,000 natives resided on the island off the coast of Venezuela when Columbus landed ashore in 1498. By the 1838, the estimated population had dwindled to just 520. Today’s Subversive Historian Word of the Day begins with the letter “G.”

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