Today I learned that on Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the Americas, he encountered a friendly tribe, the Arawaks—“fitted to be ruled and to be set to work to cultivate the land and do all else that may be necessary”—that warned him about another tribe, the Caribs, that were vicious and ate their enemies. We get the word “cannibalism” from their name. Queen Isabella of Spain said it was OK to treat the Caribs harshly because of their vile barbaric practices.
Search Engine podcast host PJ Vogt and his guest, writer Kelefa Sanneh, note that the Spaniards themselves were practicing something vile and barbaric—slavery. Finding slaves was a primary purpose of Columbus’s mission.
Also, the Europeans were big hypocrites because they themselves practiced cannibalism—grinding up mummies and consuming the powder as medicine. When mummies from Egypt became hard to procure, Europeans figured out how to accelerate mummification in fresh human corpses.
Search Engine: Why don’t we eat people?