Three ships were heading into port.

You thought nothing of it until the captain arrived at your palace. The dashing Italian kissed your hand and said you were beautiful. He said one day the world would know his name. You laughed and took him to your bed. 

The four days Christopher Columbus planned to spend in the Canary Islands stretched to a month. You wanted him to stay but always his eyes turned to the sea. You hid your pain. To prove your sweetness, you gave him sugarcane cuttings to take on his voyage. Only when he had gone did you give vent to the true malice of your feelings. Those around you knew your cruelty. 

Your legacy would span the world, Beatriz de Bobadilla y Ossorio. Those few stems you gave him would leave entire countries in poverty. Deforestation on an immeasurable scale would make way for sugar plantations, where the hungry crop would exhaust the soil. Millions of Africans would be enslaved and shipped around the world. 

The global society which would emerge five hundred years later would be smitten by an insatiable desire for sweetness. An epidemic of obesity and diabetes would follow in its wake. 

All this from a single gesture from a gracious, cruel hand. 


Alex Harvie

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