(Al Cirton rap) (recitation by Barb)

People's History: Columbus (Chapter 1)

Music: Mixed Choir

Summary
From newfound land Columbus told
of fertile lands and hills of gold
and gentle people, strong and free
and suitable for slavery.

Chapter
In fourteen-ninety-two Columbus reached a land
he called Hispaniola (Cuba). On the sand
appeared a peaceful people, bearing gifts, not arms:
the Arawak, whose gentle strength and native charms
would make "fine servants." In Columbus' prompt report
to Spain, he spoke of gold and slaves, and he'd exhort
the queen for help, and praise the Holy Trinity
for his deliverance. And by a strict decree
the "Indians" (he thought he reached the Orient)
would labor in the mines, because the main intent
was sending back the precious ore to justify
the exploration. They would strip the mines and die
from overwork, and those unable to produce
the gold would have their hands cut off. And the abuse
drove men to swallow poison, and the mothers killed
their babies as the goals of commerce were fulfilled.

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