Columbus: The Real Story Essay, Research Paper
Columbus: Sailing on the High Seas of Personal Good Fortune
Some amateur historians might have you believe that October 12, 1492 was the single most important day in the past millennia. On that day, Columbus ?discovered? the so-called New World. If you merrily skip along through the story, every ?important? part sounds glorifying; Columbus discovers a land full of gold, many people move to this ?New World,? native lands are conquered, and finally a great capitalistic society is formed. Bartolome writes in his Journal of the first voyage on October 28, 1492, ?The Admiral says that he never beheld so fair a thing: trees all along the river, beautiful and green?? He continues writing on the greatness of the land. This is what most people know of the voyages of Admiral Columbus when in fact he had reached an already discovered land and eventually caused the death of many innocent natives.
At a port near Seville on August 2, 1492 three ship were preparing to leave harbor: the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Also leaving harbor that day were many ships filled with Jews who were in the process of being exiled from Spain. Some of these Jews were also on board the three ships headed off to the Indies. In fact many of the crew including the head navigator were Marranos (literally pigs), or unloyal converts to Christianity. When the ships finally arrived in what Columbus believed was the Indies, everyone was overjoyed, as nobody had seen land for over two months.
Upon arrival, the Indians greeted the Spaniards with food and shelter. Almost immediately after receiving such warm hospitality, Columbus and his men slapped the Indians in the face. Not only did they physically abuse the natives, but the Spaniards had also brought many infectious diseases along to the New World. Many thousands of natives died as a direct result of the foreigners? arrival. The natives were heavily persecuted because of their religious practices and their ?uncivilized? ways. Missionaries soon arrived in the New World and forced the conversion of native people to Christianity.
The Spaniards never really thought of the natives as people. In Spain, the rich were looked up to by youth. Everyone wanted to be rich when they grew up. Nobody on the original voyage was wealthy. The start of the atrocities can be related to these roll models. The rich had all the power. The more power they had, the worse they treated people lower in society than them. Now that these poor Spaniards had power, they wanted to and did abuse their undeserved power the same way as the rich in Spain had.
While Columbus was not the first to discover America, he was the first to make its existence known to a great multitude of people in Europe. His voyage was important, but also led to the near genocide of the Indian people. Without the help of soon to be exiled Jews, good winds, sheer brawn, and the power to influence many people, Columbus?s journeys would have ended up in the same way as Leif Ericson?s and countless others: widely unknown.