Colombian history part 2
Colombia’s history has seen many important changes—revolutions, wars, elections, disasters—but one critical moment overshadows everything else and made everything else possible. Can you guess the most influential event of all?
(Hint: Why is Colombia named Colombia?)
Christopher Columbus (or Cristóbal Colón, as he is known to Colombians) discovering the New World in 1492 changed everything for the Americas. Both the Old World and the New were completely transformed by his arrival. He himself mercilessly enslaved natives and paved the way for immense injustice on the part of the Catholic Spanish monarchs, but the end result of this connection was the introduction of the Gospel to the Americas—people who lived in darkness finally had a chance of seeing the light. (Not through any help from the Catholic church, of course, which waited forty-five years before finally declaring that the natives even had souls!)
Once Columbus landed on the Caribbean island now known as Hispaniola, the world would never be the same. Though we have no record of Columbus himself actually making it to modern-day Colombia’s shores, shortly thereafter the Spaniards came and conquered, pillaged, and enslaved the people. Once the pope finally decided that the natives had souls, Catholic priests really did try their best to learn the local languages and speak to the people in a way that they understood. Unfortunately, their message often was simply integrated into the local tribal beliefs. A huge part of this came from the Spanish Inquisition’s overseas influence. It’s easy to say you’re a Catholic if you know that your master kills anyone who isn’t Catholic. This is one of the reasons why a Baptist distinctive is, of course, the separation of church and state!
While the Catholic church was not tremendously effective at reaching people, at least true Christians in the Old World now knew that the New existed. Missionaries from Europe never would have set sail for America’s shores were it not for the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Isn’t it amazing how our Lord will use ANYTHING to get his job done? Even people like Columbus… or like me and you!
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