Christopher Columbus is considered to be a controversial character in history (Bauer 2013; 87). Many books portray him as the prominent Italian explorer who discovered North America. There are numerous misconceptions pertaining his heroic character (Burger 2013; 61). October 12th marks his arrival day to the Bahamas. He also went to the coasts of Haiti, Cuba and Dominican Republic (Lillejord 2013; 961).
Even though he was attributed to presenting the Americas to the European colonization, he was also blamed for destroying the Native people who resided in the places where he landed. He encountered a group of people called Taino when he first arrived at Hispaniola. These people were ‘very well built’ with handsome bodies and good-looking faces. Since they did not carry arms, he thought he could use them as good servants (MYINT 2015; 21). These natives were made slaves and if they did not collect adequate gold, they stand a chance of losing their limbs or get killed. He was later arrested by the Spanish Government due to the mistreatment he did to the native people. He admitted to his heinous crimes and his title of governor was revoked (Liu 2014; 970). Many people think that he was a hero due to the fact that what his voyages did. His expeditions permitted the exchange of animals, plants, ideas, culture and even diseases across the Western and Eastern Hemisphere known as the Columbian Exchange (Tiesler 2016; 200). Columbus together with his men introduced diseases to this ‘?New World’ which resulted in the destruction of its people(Liu 2014; 968).
Smallpox disease killed most of the native people and as a result their population dropped down drastically. The outcome of these illnesses on the Native Americans made the Americas to be dominated by the European people. Once the Europeans were capable of moving to every part of the world, modern age would start which will change the world forever. Foodstuffs which were brought from the Americas such as tomatoes, corn and potatoes became very popular within Europe and assisted in improving the population of Europe (Muz 2015; 21). On the other hand, the wheat obtained from Europe became the major source of food among the people of Americas(Liu 2014; 971). Columbus could also be considered as a heroic character because of his courageous actions of leading the voyage through the Atlantic Ocean and also discovering the modern day Bahamas (Dunn 2016; 59). He successfully led the voyage across the ocean despite the fact that sometimes the ocean can become very rough especially when there is a heavy storm. I feel that Columbus together with his colleagues were very brave and courageous in undertaking the voyage using vessels which were made in the 1400s (Jones 2015; 1698). Nowadays, there are some ships which sink in the oceans despite the technology we have today (Burley 2017; 338).
In conclusion, I think that Christopher Columbus was more of a villain character that a hero. His villain character is as a result of the personal benefits he derived from his heinous actions (Bickford 2013; 452). All the journeys he undertook to both hemispheres could be more beneficial to those people living there (Burley 2017; 339). However, he opted to make people slaves especially to the first people he came across with. The manner in which he disciplined the Taino people was not unacceptable (Findlay 2017; 265). These actions dropped throughout time and it did a lot of historic damage to the people of Native American. Another reason why I think he was a villain was that he struggled very hard to look for diamonds and gems however he could keep only 10% of what he found. This was simply motivated by personal gains (Hitchmough 2013; 263). Even though he opened a door to Europe, he ruined a lot of lives. I also think that if different actions were undertaken by him, he could have simply turned out to become a true world hero (Beding 2016; 63).
Bauer, Marta. “”Christopher Columbus: An Analysis of Myth Creation and Longevity in Early America.”” PhD diss., 2013.
Beding, Silvio A., ed. The Christopher Columbus Encyclopedia.Springer, 2016.
Bickford, John H. “”Examining historical (mis) representations of Christopher Columbus within children’s literature.”” Social Studies Research and Practice (2013).
Burley, David V., Robyn P. Woodward, Shea Henry, and Ivor C. Conolley.””JAMAICAN TANO SETTLEMENT CONFIGURATION AT THE TIME OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.””Latin American Antiquity 28, no. 3 (2017): 337-352.
Burger, Michael. The Shaping of Western Civilization: Volume II From the Reformation to the Present. Vol. 2.University of Toronto Press, 2013.
Dunn, Dennis J. “”Western Civilization.”” In A History of Orthodox, Islamic, and Western Christian Political Values, pp. 57-87.Springer International Publishing, 2016.
Findlay, Ronald, and Mats Lundahl. “”International trade and factor mobility with an endogenous land frontier: Some general equilibrium implications of Christopher Columbus.”” In The Economics of the Frontier, pp. 261-281. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2017.
Hitchmough, Sam. “”‘it’s not your country any more’. contested national narratives and the columbus Day parade protests in Denver.”” European Journal of American Culture 32, no. 3 (2013): 263-283.
Jones, Emily Lena. “”The ‘Columbian Exchange’and landscapes of the Middle Rio Grande Valley, USA, AD 1300–1900.””The Holocene 25, no. 10 (2015): 1698-1706.
Joshua, D. “”Charting Columbus’ Place in the Literary Canon.”” (2017).
Lillejord, JebadiahSerril. Christopher Columbus, Hernando Cortes, and Francisco Pizzaro: A Qualitative Content Analysis Examining Cultural Bias in World History Textbooks. Seattle Pacific University, 2013.
Liu, Xinyi, and Martin K. Jones. “”Food globalisation in prehistory: top down or bottom up?.”” Antiquity 88, no. 341 (2014): 956-963.
MYINT, B. (n.d.). Christopher Columbus: Hero or Villain? Retrieved December 16, 2015, from https://www.biography.com/news/christopher columbus-day-facts
Muoz, Eduardo Madrigal. “”From Columbus to globalism: The construction of western hegemony.”” Revistahumanidades 5, no. 1 (2015): 1-23.
Tiesler, V., A. Coppa, P. Zabala, and A. Cucina. “”Scurvy’related Morbidity and Death among Christopher Columbus’ Crew at La Isabela, the First European Town in the New World (1494–1498): An Assessment of the Skeletal and Historical Information.”” International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 26, no. 2 (2016): 191-202.
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