No, I don't remember that Columbus encountered cannibals in the New World from school (granted, K-12 probably wouldn't have covered it anyway) nor anywhere that I've read about his voyages. Is there a source for this?
I read The log of Christopher Columbus / translated by Robert H. Fuson, c1987, International Marine Publishing, 970.015 Colu, 252pp. Fascinating book, the (excerpted) log of the first voyage. Columbus mentions the cannibals (or Caribes), but he says he doesn't believe most of the stories (men with dog faces, cannibals, men with only a single leg & foot, etc.) I'm looking @ other sources too.
Syphilis probably crossed over to the human population from an animal host, like small pox did.
Europeans and Asians had much more contact with domesticated animals, than there was in the Americas.
It's more likely that Syphilis was also a disease brought to the New World from the Old World.
There really was no such thing as domesticated animals in North America prior to 1492, in the sense of stock-raising and herding animals, bringing them in to close proximity with settlements.
The most common sources of meat were bison, elk, deer -- which many tribes in the Eastern Woodlands controlled migration routes by burning paths through forests that would allow for controlled hunts along "buffalo runs" and "deer parks." The animals would be attracted by abundant new growth after burnings, and communities along the pathways were tasked with managing the routes and refraining from excessive hunting to maintain adequate numbers. According to early written accounts from British, French and Dutch venturers and traders, the Erie Indians living along the southern shore of Lake Erie had extended buffalo runs as far east as the city of Buffalo, New York.....we always wondered how it got its name!
So, in a sense, they were 'domesticating' animals, but maintaining a distance that prevented species-jumping viruses from adapting to human hosts. The freedom from animal-borne diseases meant the inhabitants of the "New" World lived longer, healthier lives than most Europeans at the time; but that would soon change as epidemics from the Old World....many deliberately caused to decimate populations, took a toll on health and vitality.
Columbus didn't think he discovered anything, except a shortcut to Asia.
He believed the earth was round, but he also believed that it was only 12,000 miles in circumference.
He believed Eurasia was about 9,000 miles east to west, so that the eastern shores of Asia were about 3000 miles west of Spain. His critics believed the world was 24,000 miles in circumference, putting the eastern shores of Asia 15,000 miles to the west.
Their criticism was that Columbus only had the food and water to go 3000 miles, he would run out of supplies 12000 miles short of Asia.
So when he found lands 3,000 miles to the west, it appeared to prove his theory.
In those days Jerusalem was considered the center of the world, the Holy city of God, it was believed that opposite Jerusalem was where the devil would have his greatest influence.
How much influence did these 'critics' have with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain...who financed his voyage, on condition that the Crown would claim 10% on all the wealth earned from his voyage.
Columbus arrived in world of cannibals, who were fattening up babies for the slaughter, which appeared to confirm that he was getting closer to the opposite side of the world from Jerusalem
What's the source of that bullshit story? It's not from Columbus's own log entries, in which he wrote of the Arawaks - inhabitants of the Bahamas after failing to find a gold route yet:
They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned... . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane... . They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
In those days Jerusalem was considered the center of the world, the Holy city of God, it was believed that opposite Jerusalem was where the devil would have his greatest influence. Columbus arrived in world of cannibals, who were fattening up babies for the slaughter, which appeared to confirm that he was getting closer to the opposite side of the world from Jerusalem.
Yah. I skimmed through Cannibalism : a perfectly natural history / Bill Schutt, c 2017, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 394.12 SCHU.
Cannibalism -- Cross-cultural studies.
Animal the cannibal -- Go on, eat the kids -- Sexual cannibalism, or size matters -- Quit crowding me -- Bear down -- Dinosaur cannibals? -- File under: weird -- Neanderthals and the guys in the other valley -- Columbus, caribs and cannibalism
His take on cannibalism in the Caribbean during Columbus' time: Frustrated by the apparent lack of gold in the Caribbean, Columbus started to take Native Peoples for slaves - a kind of portable & fungible asset. Queen Isabella in Spain objected - the Native Peoples were Spanish vassals, & not to be mistreated (by Papal dispensation). Unless they were cannibals.
Predictably, then, any Native Peoples were apt to be classified as cannibals, attacked, taken, & sold into slavery.
"On islands where no cannibalism had been reported previously, man-eating was suddenly determined to be a popular practice. Regions inhabited by peaceful Arawaks were, upon reexamination, found to be crawling with man-eating Caribs, and very soon the line between the two groups was obliterated. "Resistance" and "cannibalism" became synonymous, and anyone acting aggressively toward the Europeans was immediately labeled as a cannibal." (p. 105)
There may have been cannibalism - but in the formal Spanish government/theological system, cannibalism was a convenient label to hang justification for nearly any outrage committed upon the Native Peoples - especially if labor were short, or the budget needed to be balanced. & Spain had had a lot of practice in divide & conquer - they'd just retaken Spain after nearly 800 years of occupation, after all - driven out (or caused to convert) the Islamics, & then the Jews. & then driven out the converted individuals of both faiths, when they proved to be too adept @ economics or politics or both - more so than the newly ennobled Spanish dons & various royalty.