Christopher Columbus Hero or Tiran

Christopher Columbus is revered as the conqueror of the new world; but many people have a different view of his accomplishments. People debate on whether Columbus discoveries were self-credited or completely his findings. There are two very different views of Columbus, in one hand there is the Italian explorer who discover the Americas and the New World; in the other hand there is the Columbus, who should have been condemned for bringing slavery, diseases, and death to the indigenous inhabitants of the so-called new World.
Many Americans still admire Christopher Columbus because as his story is traditionally though and passed down he discovered America. It has been argued over time that Christopher Columbus was not the hero that he is made out to be. After all, every child learns that he was the one responsible for discovering the Americas. From learning that, people immediately think he was a great man and never examine the subject any deeper.
For the people who look deeper into the events that took place, they find themselves are astounded when they find how cruel he really was. As years pass and new generations seek facts in history rather than a mystique, we start finding that sometimes history gets manipulated concealing facts and only disclosing portions of the truth glorifying some characters throughout our history. As a child the information learned in schools about his life only depicted Columbus as a great explorer and colonizer who discovered the New World. Christopher Columbus (c. 31 October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was a navigator, colonizer, and explorer from the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy, whose voyages across the Atlantic Ocean led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere. ” Christopher Columbus sailed to the west across of the Atlantic searching for a better route to Asia but became famous by finding the Americas instead. In 1476 Columbus almost paid with his life in his first trip to the Atlantic.

Columbus was part of a commercial fleet that was attacked by French pirates as they sailed close to the coast of Portugal. The ship Columbus was sailing on was destroyed and he had to find his way to the Portuguese waterside. He decided to settle and in the course of the time he spent there he finally got married. Columbus collaborated in a couple of expeditions to Africa acquiring knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean as it flowed east and west from the Canary Islands. Columbus thought that the earth was in shape of a sphere and many contemporary experts of that time disagreed with him.
He set his sights into sailing west across the Atlantic believing that it would be a quicker and safer route to India and china. He devised a plan and lobbied for money and ships in order to start his experimental voyage. His plan was rejected by the Portuguese and Italian when finally still full of skepticism the Spanish funded his expedition. Columbus wasn’t the first European to find the Americas, Vikings had previously settled in North American for a brief time, in Canada around the 11th century. The politically correct view is that Columbus did not discover America, because people had lived here for thousands of years. ” Christopher Columbus’s explorations and voyages however, directly impacted on how people saw the world. His discoveries led to the exposure of the Americas to European colonization. It was a great time for the import and export of animals, plants and cultures, but in the other hand it brought war and death to the indigenous people who did not wanted to be ruled.
It also brought to the Americas the beginning of slavery and new deceases and death. When celebrating national holiday for an individual’s achievements, a nation shows its appreciation for that individual’s accomplishments. In the United States Columbus’s Day is a national holiday. But, as we carefully examine Columbus’ voyages and ways of establishment in the New World it should change the country’s opinions about the celebration of that holiday.
As I see Columbus expeditions through history, his arrival to the Americas was accompanied by death and destruction. Columbus took the credit for discovering the new world. But, in my opinion, it is impossible to discover something that has been there already, someplace being inhabited by people already. As Christopher Columbus proclaimed himself as the founder of the New World, he did not take considered any aspects about the current civilization inhabiting the land, the customs and traditions practiced in the country for as long as they had been there.
With only the thought of prosperity in his mind, he introduced slavery to compensate for the non-existence promised of large amounts of gold he gave the Spanish Crown. Christopher Columbus can be argued to be both a hero and/or a villain. When people think of Columbus most think of the hero that started the exploration of America, which went on to become the modern day we have now, but based on Columbus’ actions and pursuits throughout his expeditions and time in America I believe him to be a villain that led to the downfall of many civilizations.
Columbus was a very demanding and greedy man when it came to his benefits and the profits of his expeditions. He was also very stubborn and ignorant, by continually believed that he had reached Asia, instead of the Americas until he died in 1506. From the first time he met with Native Americans in 1492 until he died, Christopher Columbus took advantage of the good nature and hospitality of the natives, and eventually lead them to extinction.
Columbus first started his search for a sponsor for his first expedition westward to Asia in about 1474. Columbus was very persistent when it came to finding a sponsor for his expedition; he searched and waited for about 18 years before his plan was finally found a patron, in 1492. Columbus’ main reasons for his expeditions were in order to search for a westward trade route to Asia, spread Catholicism to the people of the west, discover any new territory for Spain and of course to boost his own fame as a navigator.
Even though Columbus was very lucky to find a sponsor for his expedition, Columbus took on the persona of being very demanding, by making further demands that would increase his own personal gain through this journey, like demanding one tenth of anything valuable found in the new lands, being made admiral of the Ocean Sea, as well as being named governor of all new land discovered. Columbus was also a very egocentric person, which most of his demands show.
Most of Columbus’ demands had to do with some kind of leadership role, but shows his lack of leadership skills when setting up several colonies and all of them being destroyed under his governing. Columbus left for his first voyage on August 3rd, 1492, with three ships (the Ni a, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria). October 12th, 1492 Columbus’ crew first spotted land, whether because of Columbus’ lack of knowledge or his misleading belief that Asia was not as far as it was already believed to be, Columbus was convinced that this new land was Asia, but was actually a small island in the central Bahaman Islands.
Coming from Europe Columbus believed “that Christians had the right to rule lands inhabited by non-Christians so without any regard for the inhabitants (Indios/Taino) of what Columbus called San Salvador (Holy Savior), Columbus claimed it for Spain and Christianity. Columbus and his sailors were greeted very graciously and were shown great generosity by the Taino. Instead of accepting their generosity and returning it Columbus only saw it as a sign of weakness, which would help him with his own personal gain.
He thought that because of their generosity they would be easy to both convert to Catholicism and be conquered. Columbus continued his search for gold by traveling from island to island, claiming them for Spain, again without any consideration for their natives. The first Spain settlement set up by Columbus was on Hipiola named La Navidad (the nativity). Here the Spanish were showered with gold by the natives of Hipiola, which convinced the Spanish to stay. In January 1493 Columbus returned to Spain, but despite their generosity Columbus took two dozen Taino (Arawaks) captives, against their will, back to Spain. The somber chronicle of the events that ended in the genocide of the peaceful Arawaks of the Caribbean islands is amply documented in Columbus’ own letters and journals and in the pages of his most ardent admirer, Father Bartolome de Las Casas, the great contemporary historian of the West Indies who believed Columbus had been divinely inspired to make the Discovery. ” Upon his return Columbus found the settlement destroyed, so Columbus went on to build another settlement, even after the obvious failure of the first settlement.
Once again Columbus left the settlement in order to search for more gold around the Caribbean. While away the colonist continued to pressure the Taino to provide food and gold, which eventually led to a revolt from the Tanio, because of his lack of leadership Columbus was replaced as viceroy. Before this Columbus allowed the colonist to control Indian labor, on his own accord against the wishes of Queen Isabelle, which would eventually lead to the encomienda system that would play a major role when it came to the destruction of the Native American tribes.
During his four expeditions Columbus came in contact with several Native American tribes his first being the Taino. Columbus was very surprised by the great generosity of these people, because Europe believed so much in their selfish lifestyle and feudalistic ways that this sort of behavior was new to them. The Spanish took this as a sign of weakness and concluded that the Native Americans were very naive and would be easy to conquer and be used as labor.
The Spanish took advantage of the Native Americans generosity, using them to mine gold, provide food and build houses. The Spanish showed very little respect to the Natives American’s lifestyle and culture, by forcing them to convert to the Roman Catholic faith. He assisted in the development of the encomienda system played a huge factor in the drop of population in the Native American tribes. Many of the Native Americans captured and forced to work for the Spanish died of overwork, malnutrition and deceases brought over from Europe and the African slave trade.
This unfortunately did not stop the European’s slavery systems, but instead the Native Americans were replaced with African slaves. Christopher Columbus left Spain in search of a trade route that would eventually boost his own fame and wealth, but instead discovered the New World and the altruistic inhabitants that lived there. Columbus only thinking about his and Spain’s own personal gain made decisions and actions that would assist this cause, but in turn would lead to the destruction of many Native American civilizations.
Greed and the hunger for power and domination destroyed in my opinion a large amount of civilizations that some of us only know because of history. As I discover my own New World through history books I see that history is in the eye of the beholder, I see that throughout time a series of events have been doctored in order to give generations a perception of greatness. But, as you dig a little deeper you will find numerous amounts of scripts and publications and at the end of the day is up to you to make your own decision.

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