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Columbus and Los Indios as 'God's People'

November 03, 1991

In response to Wolfhawk Martinez's letter Oct. 20 about the origin of the term Indians , here's some information from Edward Abbey's "The Fool's Progress" (1988) regarding Christopher Columbus:

Abbey writes that "Columbus knew he was nowhere near India" and that he was so charmed by the people he found in the Caribbean--so sweet, happy, blessed --he called them Los Gentes en (or in ) Dios , meaning "the people in God." This is what Columbus wrote to Ferdinand and Isabella, Abbey reports, and the name Indios stuck, becoming changed by usage to Indians .

JAMES A. CAMPBELL

Culver City

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