Christopher Columbus is known for committing a number of atrocities against Indigenous Peoples. Not only did he paint a horrific picture of peaceful Caribbean Natives, calling them “evil” and describing them as “savage cannibals,” he and his men raped and pillaged those peaceful Natives.
A close friend of Columbus, Michele de Cuneo, wrote a disturbing account that occurred between himself and a Native woman, who was given as a gift by Christopher Columbus:
“While I was in the boat I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me, and with whom, having taken her into my cabin, she being naked according to their custom, I conceived desire to take pleasure. I wanted to put my desire into execution but she did not want it and treated me with her finger nails in such a manner that I wished I had never begun. But seeing that (to tell you the end of it all), I took a rope and thrashed her well, for which she raised such unheard of screams that you would not have believed your ears. Finally we came to an agreement in such manner that I can tell you that she seemed to have been brought up in a school of harlots.”
Columbus was first returned to Spain in chains in 1500, after being arrested and stripped of his governor title for mismanagement of the island of Hispaniola, but he was pardoned by King Ferdinand, and given a fourth voyage.
Christopher Columbus returned to Spain again in 1504 in poor health, and collected substantial revenue from gold extraction, reports History.com. Though he felt he deserved more wealth and recognition, he never manage to gain an audience with King Ferdinand to plead his case.
To obtain the amount of gold promised to Isabella and King Ferdinand, Columbus forced Natives to work in gold mines until they were exhausted. If they refused, they were beheaded or their ears were cut off.
History Today reports that Christopher Columbus spent his final 18 months unhappily. He died on May 20, 1506 surrounded by his family in Valladolid, Spain. His sons, his brother, and even some old shipmates were at his bedside when he passed. He was around 55 years old when he died.