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Some unexpected American history for you that might challenge the way you think about the "Discovery of the New World":
When Christopher Columbus first landed in the Americas in 1492, the first language he spoke with the Natives he encountered was Arabic.Columbus thought he was headed to China's imperial court - and he knew that the Chinese would have Arabic-speakers in their court, since Arabic was a global language of trade in much of Asia.Columbus brought along Luis de Torres - an Arab Jewish translator from Iberia - who spoke Arabic to the Cuban Tainos he encountered, hoping they could help the crew find their way to the Chinese court.1492 was also the year that Spanish leaders expelled Jewish and Muslim subjects from Iberia as part of the Inquisition, leading to the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, a complete ethnic cleansing.Luis de Torres - the Arab Jewish translator - would've been expelled from his home in Spain as well.
Sources indicate he likely converted to Christianity to avoid expulsion (a group called "Conversos").
In 1493, a group of Spanish settlers (including de Torres) were killed in an attack by Natives on Hispaniola.The Spanish tried (and failed) to convert locals to Christianity.Sources say there was one Spaniard who spoke "offensively and disparagingly" about Catholicism, "trying to dissuade anybody from adopting it".
This was most likely de Torres, whose entire family would've been recently expelled from Spain for their faith.
In the New World, the Spanish followed up on their "cleansing" of Iberia by embarking upon one of the greatest genocides in history, launching mass killings and conquest up and down the Continent.Some of the "conquistadores" who joined these crews had tested their fighting skills out during the Conquest of Iberia from Muslim kingdoms, which had ruled much of the area for around 700 years.High estimates of the number of Indigenous people killed - in the name of "Christianization" of the Americas - run up to nearly 90 million, out of a total of perhaps 100 million people.
An ethnic cleansing that the Spanish launched in Iberia, targeting Jews and Muslims, was finished in the bloodbaths of Indigenous people that birthed modern America.I first encountered the story of Luis de Torres in the books "Between Argentines and Arabs," an interesting read on the Arab communities of modern Argentina.I previously interviewed members of Mexico's large Arab community, which has had a major influence on Mexican culture:
The Arab heart of Mexico City
Arab immigrants have become a normal part of everyday life, but in many ways they remain a community apart.Many fascinating and unexpected convergences between the Middle East and Latin America, beginning with the first utterances of Arabic by Luis de Torres in the Caribbean
thats all for now thanks for reading.....
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