The great nakba, or “catastrophe,”began in 1492, when Christopher Columbus proclaimed the lands of the “Indies” for Spain. Within half a century of his voyage, 95 percent of the inhabitants of the America’s had been killed by European-borne diseases, war, famine and enslavement: 100 million dead , or one out of every five human beings on the planet, the most catastrophic loss of life in recorded history.
But, the nakba had just begun. For the next half a millennium, Europeans would inflict countless “catastrophes” on the world’s darker peoples. As Mumia Abu Jamal and Stephen Vittoria document in Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide and Manifest Destiny, the Europeans killed or enslaved 60 million Africans, depopulating one continent, repopulating two others with captive peoples, and fantastically enriching the third, from which emerged “the white man,” an amalgam of “all the races of Europe” (The Melting Pot, 1908 .) Columbus’ voyage began a 500-year western European war against the rest of humanity, known more politely as “colonialism,” in which all other people’s economies and cultures were made subordinate to the master powers headquartered in London, Paris, Lisbon, Madrid – and later, Washington.