Columbus is glorified in our history as the founder of America, however if speaking in a literal context, he found the Bahamas. The Bahamas are a few hundred miles off, but A+ for effort. While Columbus gets most of the credit for founding America, in reality it was really Spain and sugar that founded America.
Starting off with the more obvious reasons, the famous voyage of 1492 was paid for and provided by the Spanish crown. Where would we be without the Spanish?! If Columbus had been denied by the crown he may never have made the trip that was his most successful failure.
¿Quiere dulces? Do you want/like sweets? Because a lot of Europe did! Strong motivators for the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile were that Columbus was proposing to shorten the trade route to India where spices, sugar, and other now common pantry items originated. Imagine having to run an excruciatingly painful mile for a very rare Butterfinger bar. Now imagine someone running half of a mile and delivering the Butterfinger right to you at a reduced time. How could they resist? A love for sweet things and laziness still dominated humans over 500 years ago. Little did they know about the health hazards and obesity rates that would ravage the world many years later.
Due to Columbus, Europe now knew that the Americas existed, and, thank you Spanish conquistadors, that there was gold and silver in these lands.
Spain was getting super filthy rich off of the gold and silver in the lands they ‘discovered.’ So rich, in fact, that prices for items became extremely high due to inflation and continued rising up to the mid-17th century. Not only that, but Spain was getting some unnecessary stalker attention from England. By this time, Spain had become a dominant power of the seas and in exploration. England was quite green about this, but the real tipping point for causing the English to pursue a settlement in the Americas was due to the fact that Protestants had become a majority in England. Spain was heavily Catholic, and the two had such an unadulterated loathing for each other that it would make Glinda the Good Witch of the North and Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West cringe.
It was in this moment that England set up settlements in North America, and thus where the beginning story of our now strong nation America begins to take root.
The next time you eat a double fudge brownie and regret it an hour later or ponder what ¡cuidado! means before slipping on wet floors, maybe you’ll think about how America was founded. Or maybe you’ll just pick yourself off of the floor and just keep walking.
“Spanish Discovery and Colonization.” Spanish Discovery and Colonization. Online Highways, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. <http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h436.html>.
M, Louise M. “Spice Trade in India.” Postcolonial Studies Emory. N.p., 1999. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. <http://postcolonialstudies.emory.edu/the-history-of-the-spice-trade-in-india/>.
The American Pageant, 11th addition textbook