Columbus: The Darker Side

Christopher Columbus: The first person to discover the Americas and thus usher in an era of adventure, happiness, and peaceful exploration of the “New Land.”

Nowadays, kids believe in this idealistic Columbus whose actions, motives, and accomplishments are quite different than those of the actual Columbus. Let us open the book of truth and look at the facts to really see who Mr. Columbus was.

Shady Beginnings

Yeah, so…Columbus set out on his expedition in the spirit of adventure!

No! You see, way way back the known world was limited to Europe, the African coasts, India, Central Asia, and Indonesia. During the crusades, a series of failed military campaigns that attempted to capture the city Jerusalem from Muslim control, Europe was tantalized with the exotic wonders the East had to offer. Europeans were desperate for a cheaper way to access these delights as at the time they had to travel immense distances via camel and boat that shrunk their profits substantially. Columbus, under the assumption that the world was round, believed that by sailing West he would quickly end up in “The Eastern Lands.” It wasn’t for adventure that Columbus decided to begin his voyage; he was simply trying to make a bigger profit.

Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue in 1492

Yeah, so…Columbus was the first person to discover North America…omg.

No! One, he never actually landed in North America – a common misconception – and two, he was not the first to explore the Americas. When Columbus finally did make land (after falsely claiming that he had spotted  and thus keeping the money he had promised to whoever spotted land) it was in the present day Bahamas rather than Indonesia as he had planned (this didn’t stop him for calling the natives living there Indians). Also, through analyzing Scandinavian legend it is now widely accepted that Norse explorers had a one point set up colonies in Newfoundland. More recently, some have even proposed that early Western cultures could have made transatlantic voyages (as demonstrated by Thor Heyerdahl). Regardless, Columbus was certainly not the first to set foot in the Americas.

First Contact

Yeah so…Columbus was nice to the primitive Indians and got everyone to come to America and that’s why we don’t have to go to school on that one Monday, right?

 No! Well…basically no. Today, perhaps the most controversial aspect of Columbus’s journey was that it ultimately led to the genocide of the native people. While we as Americans have Columbus Day to celebrate the event that lead to the creation of our nation, the sad truth is that we are also celebrating the event that lead to the near extinction of the many diverse cultures that lived here before us.

File:Landing of Columbus (2).jpg

Sources:

Info:

  1. The American Pagent
  2. http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/latinamericatheconquest/p/Columbusfirst.htm by Christopher Minster
  3. http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/thevoyagesofcolumbus/p/08columbusbio.htm by  Christopher Minster
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E9WU9TGrec&list=PL8dPuuaLjXtMwmepBjTSG593eG7ObzO7s&index=1 by John Green
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_Heyerdahl#Boats_Ra_and_Ra_II

Pictures

  1. http://images.memegenerator.net/Instance/Preview?imageID=2395141&generatorTypeID=&text0=Um…&text1=Not%20really&rectangle=false (Made using Meme generation, and open source tool)
  2. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b4/Landing_of_Columbus_%282%29.jpg/800px-Landing_of_Columbus_%282%29.jpg John Vanderlyn
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One thought on “Columbus: The Darker Side

  1. It is definitely an interesting perspective looking deeper into Columbus’s history. In earlier years of our education, we may have gotten a bit of a misconception as to what kind of person he was, because all we initially learned was that it was basically thanks to him that people found out about the New World. However, when we look deeper into history, and see things such as the fact that he kept two journal logs, one being true, and the other being fabricated to make him look better, and then look at all of the other things that he may have been directly or indirectly responsible for, there is a lot more to him.

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