As I work on the revisions necessary for the upcoming second edition of The History of Puerto Rico, I’ve been delving into the research that has come out on the early years of Encounter between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of Puerto Rico over the past 10 years, since the first edition came out. At the same time, communities across the country have been questioning the appropriateness of honoring Columbus, with many opting to pull down statues.
In the suburbs of NYC, where I live, this has been especially contentious because alongside the high concentration of Latinos, African Americans and white progressives calling for Columbus statues to be taken down live many folks of Italian descent, including members of some very active Knights of Columbus chapters, who have vehemently defended Columbus legacy, illustrating the stake many older Catholics and Italian Americans still have in his image.
So I decided to write an OpEd for Hearst newspapers revealing just a sliver of some of the research I’m doing on the era of early European exploration in the Caribbean. I can’t wait to dig in further, as plenty of new documentary evidence and valuable scholarship has come out in this area since I wrote the first edition.
Here is my column.