For years, many Italian-Americans held raffles, spaghetti dinners, beauty pageants, and other events to pay for this statue near St. Michael’s Church in their Atlantic City neighborhood. City officials and the NJ Casino Control Commission removed the statue last July after Black Lives Matter and other leftist groups vandalized and destroyed similar statues in other cities.
Columbus discovered America on this day, October 12, in 1492. An often forgotten result of this event is that Christianity and Western Civilization were saved. Columbus himself probably knew this. That is probably why he named the first island he discovered “San Salvador” or Holy Savior.
Until Columbus discovered America, Christianity and Western Civilization were on the verge of collapse. This was because of the stunning Islamic conquests that ban nearly 900 years before.
In just ten years, between 622AD and 632AD Muhammed conquered the entire Arabian peninsula. During the next hundred years, his followers then wiped out two thirds of the Christian world. They started by overrunning the entire Middle East including what is now Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Iraq, and eastern Turkey. They then went east to conquer what is now Iran and Pakistan. They went west to conquer all of North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. They then conquered all of what is now Spain and Portugal and parts of France.
During that first 150 years, followers of Muhamad destroyed Roman, Greek (Byzantine), and Persian civilizations that had been there for more than a thousand years.
After about 200 years of defeat after defeat, Christians began to push back. They protected their holy places in Palestine through the Crusades. They won back Spain and Portugal. However, during the 1300s, the Ottoman Turks took up the banner of Jihad and continued the Muslim expansion.
During the 1300s: Ottoman Turks conquer most of the Greek (Byzantine) Empire. That includes what is now Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria. In 1389, the Turks conquered Serbia after the Battle of Kosovo. In 1453, the Ottoman Turks completely destroyed the last remnants of Greek (Byzantine Empire) by taking its capital of Constantinople. That great city is now known as Istanbul. The Turks also turned the “Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), the world’s largest Christian church, into a mosque.
The fall of Constantinople in 1453 is one of the most significant events in European history. This event triggered European exploration of the Atlantic Ocean and their discovery of America. However, this event is not even mentioned in “Enduring Vision”, the US History textbook used in many US colleges and high schools.
The fall of Constantinople was a catastrophic and psychologically devastating defeat. It ruined economies in much of Europe. Europe was denied access to the “Silk Road” to China. Christian ships could no longer sail safely anywhere in the Mediterranean Sea. Columbus and a whole generation of Italian merchants and sea captains were forced to flee to Spain, Portugal, France, and England. They found it safer to sail in the stormy, unknown waters of the Atlantic Ocean, than along the calm, well-charted trade routes of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Ottoman Turks saw their conquest of Constantinople as proof that Allah wanted Muslims to rule the world. They also saw it as proof that they were destined to take control of the Islamic world away from the Arabs.
In 1512, the Ottoman Turkish rulers or Sultans, made themselves the undisputed “Caliphs” or rulers of the entire Islamic world. The Ottoman Turks seized Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt, Damascus in Syria, and the holy Muslim cities of Mecca and Medina in Arabia.
As Caliphs of the entire Islamic world, the Sultan’s of Turkey then began to finish the job the Prophet Mohammad himself had started exactly 900 years earlier. In 1522, the Ottoman Turks tightened their control of the Mediterranean by conquering the Christian island fortress of Rhodes, Greece. In 1528, the Ottoman Turks conquered Hungary. During that same year, they and their “Barbary Coast” allies defeated Spain on land and sea near Algeria.
During that previous 200 years, from the early 1300s to the early 1500s, Ottoman Turk armies and navies consistently outnumbered and outgunned Christian defenders on land and sea. Christians suffered defeat after defeat with no end in sight. The Turkish Sultans openly bragged that they would soon conquer Rome and do to St. Peters Basilica what they had previously done to the Haggia Sophia Church in Constantinople.
All that changed soon after Columbus discovered America. Spain and much of Europe quickly became wealthy from the gold and silver they found in America, along with their new ways to reach China and the spice islands of the East Indies by sea. It also made the Ottoman Turks poor. Fewer Europeans paid them taxes, tribute and protection money to pass through waters and territory they controlled to reach China and the East.
Spain and its sea-faring and merchant allies then donated much of their wealth to help the Catholic Church defend Christian Europe from the Ottoman Turks.
In 1571, Pope Pius V formed a new alliance of Christian nations called the “Holy League”. It began with Spain, Austria, and most of Italy. They were later joined by Poland, several German states, Croatia, Serbia, and Romania.
Pope Pius spent much of the wealth from America to build hundreds of the most modern and best equipped warships in the world. He also paid, fed, and equipped thousands of Christian soldiers and sailors.
Polish King Jan Sobieski used giant cannons like these to drive Turkish invaders away from Vienna, Austria, on September 12, 1683. Those cannons were given to Poland by Pope Innocent XI with wealth from Spain. Spain obtained this wealth from lands and trade routes discovered by Columbus.
The Pope’s leadership plus massive new wealth from America quickly changed everything. In 1571, a Holy League fleet destroyed a massive Turkish fleet near the Greek port city of Lepanto. In 1593, their armies defeated the Turks in Croatia and Serbia. In 1683, Holy League armies stopped the Turks outside the walls of Vienna Austria. Christian armies paid and equipped with wealth from America then drove the Turks out of Poland, Hungry, Croatia, Serbia, and the rest of Austria.
Statue of Richard Somers and Mural of Important Events in His Life in Somers Point, New Jersey. The “Barbary Pirates” he fought in 1804 had been attacking, robbing, and enslaving Christians since North Africa was conquered by followers of the Prophet roughly 1300 years ago.
Ironically, the Mediterranean Sea did not become completely free from Turkish attacks until the more than 200 years later. That was when the navy of the newly formed United States of America defeated the Muslim sea fighters of North Africa during the “Barbary Wars” of 1801-1805. Richard Somers of Somers Point, New Jersey, was a hero in that war. For years, those “Barbary Pirates” supplied the Turkish Sultans with wealth and slaves they captured by attacking Christian ships.
- We are a group of roughly 150 ordinary citizens who mostly live near Atlantic City, New Jersey. We volunteer our time and money to maintain this website. We do our best to post accurate information. However, we have made mistakes. If you see any mistakes or inaccurate, misleading, outdated, or incomplete information in this or any of our posts, please let us know. We will do our best to correct the problem as soon as possible.
- If you agree with this post, please share it as much as you can. Please simply click the Twitter or Facebook icons below. Or better yet, please copy the link, or all or part of the content for this post, and paste it in the “comments” section of your local newspaper, your local “micro-newspaper” like Patch.com, or in any of the unwanted articles from CNN or other “mainstream” spammed into your Facebook feed before an election.
Seth Grossman, Executive Director