Columbus was actually a bit of a barbarian. In fact, he was arrested and returned to Spain after being found to be too barbaric a ruler in his role as governor of the Hispaniola colony. 23 people testified about his cruelty as a really, really bad guy. He even refused to let the natives convert to Christianity because Catholic law dictated that baptized people could not be enslaved. Studies show that there were aprox300,000 people in Hispaniola, but 56 years after Columbus, it was only 500.