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Columbus: Fact vs. Fiction

by Maryann Pisano on October 12, 2015



FACT:  The destruction of the native populations of North and South America over the centuries is a complex historical tragedy.  No one knows exactly how many people were here when the Europeans arrived.  The numbers vary from 8 million to 145 million.  Many researchers believe the number to be around 40 million.

Columbus made four voyages to the Caribbean in a 12-year period (1492-1504), spending from only seven months to two years and nine months (including the year he was shipwrecked on his fourth voyage.)  It is inconceivable that he could have killed millions of people in so short a time.

In fact, most of the native populations perished because they lacked the immunity to such diseases as small pox, typhoid and diphtheria as well as the non-fatal childhood diseases of measles and mumps that they caught from the Spanish explorers.


  • Columbus proved that it was possible to safely cross the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The recorded history of the Western Hemisphere begins with Columbus.  There was no written history about these vast continents before his arrival in 1492.
  • Columbus was the first to open relations between Europe and the Western Hemisphere.  His voyages mark the beginning of more than 500 years of cultural, economic and political relations between Europe and the Americas.
  • The route across the Atlantic Ocean that Columbus charted in the 15th century is still used by sailors today.

Source:  The Order Sons of Italy in America


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