On Oct. 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus and his sailors landed on a Bahamian beach, where they were met with friendly hospitality by the Arawaks, the indigenous Bahamians. Later, Columbus wrote of the Arawaks in his log, “They willingly traded everything they owned … They do not bear arms, and do not know them … They would make fine servants … With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
Columbus got his way. The Arawaks were subjugated and forced to work in mines and plantation agriculture. The labor was so brutal that by 1650, the Arawaks were effectively exterminated, according to historian, playwright and social activist Howard Zinn, in his 1980 book: “A People’s History of the United States.”
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