The prof in one of my anti-ism classes laid the “una gente in Dios” line on us the other day and I responded with this column via email. Now she’s saying the line isn’t from the first letter but from his diaries. I don’t know enough Spanish or Portugese to look up the original documents but I know I can do a ctrl + F for “gente in Dios” once I find it. Can anyone help me out on this?
What’s an anti-ism class? Anti-rationalism?
As is clear from the letter quoted in the Staff Report, Columbus was already using the word Indios before the end of the first voyage. (So were a lot of other people, except they were talking about the East Indies). The journal that Columbus kept on his first voyage is lost. The best we have is an abstract made by Bartolome de Las Casas, which includes some direct quotations. Here’s the Spanish text (as far as I can make out; my Spanish is poor) And here’s an English version. No surprise, neither one supports your professor’s claim.
Sorry, in-joke. Insert -sex-, -class-, -ethnocentr-, -rac-… They’re totally useful classes for a town as whitebread as this one, but I was out in the world beyond White Cloud a good many years and am a little tired of them. I swear if I have to watch that Jane Elliott video one more time I’m going to confiscate and burn it.
But I digress.
Thank you very much for the links. I wonder how she’ll respond to that…
From the point of view of the plausibility of chique’s teacher’s claim, this actually understates the complications. It’s these notes Las Casas that took while perusing the lost journal that are usually referred to as the Diario. He then used them in compiling his Historia de las Indias, the text of which quoted liberally from them. While specialists now consult the original Las Casas manuscripts, what tends to more usually quoted as “diary entries” are extracts from the published Historia. But Las Casas decided not to publish this in his lifetime, prefering to extract his main argument as the so-called Short Account; this doesn’t include any of the diary extracts. The Historia then didn’t see print until the 19th century.
As a result, it really wouldn’t surprise me if the quotations from the diary didn’t receive significant circulation until the 19th century. Even if the phrase did exist in them, this is far too late for a corruption of it to explain the origin of the term West Indian.
It’s Columbus’s. The only time you would have an apostrophe at the end like that is if it was a plural possessive and “Columbus” is not a plural.