Excerpt: “A People’s History of the United States“
by Howard Zinn
Because of Columbus’ exaggerated report and promises [to the King & Queen of Spain, who were financing his voyages], his second expedition was given seventeen ships and more than twelve hundred men.
The aim was clear: slaves and gold.
They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives.
But as word spread of the European’s intent they found more and more empty villages. On Haiti, they found that the sailors left behind at Fort Navidad had been killed in a battle with the Indians, after they had roamed the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor.
Now, from his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend.