Christopher Columbus: The Villain
- Length: 548 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)
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Christopher Columbus, was he a hero, or villain? For about 500 years, people have praised him and celebrated his life as though he was someone who did good for us. Schools teach students that Columbus was a great man, found gold and pearls, and discovered new lands. Students are even taught the names of Christopher Columbus' three ships he used on his first voyage. However, they grow up not knowing the truth about Christopher Columbus, what he really did to 'accomplish' his tasks. I simply believe that schools should show both sides of Columbus' story, so that students can be aware of the facts behind the 'discovery' of Early America.
Christopher Columbus unintentionally discovered America, when he landed in the Caribbean Islands. He had left Spain in search of Asia and India. When he and his crew arrived at what now is Haiti for his second voyage, they demanded food, gold, and anything else they wanted from the Indians, even sex with their women. Columbus punished those who committed offenses against him. Rape and enslavement had been brought upon the natives. When the natives of the land, known as the Arawaks, tried to fight back, it led to a massacre of their people in which by Columbus? order, meant crossbows, small cannons, lances, and swords to destroy them. Even wild hunting dogs were released to rip up the Arawaks, whom by the end of the day were dead or ready to ship to Spain as slaves. None of this was ever taught to students.
I didn?t know much about Columbus, but when it was taught to us as a class, which was rarely, the lessons were brief and covered only the ?positive? things that he did. That is, from the eyes of those who believe Columbus was a noble man. It wasn?t until 6th grade when my teacher showed my class the book Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen that we opened our eyes and saw reality. We had been deceived. Deceived by videos. Deceived by books. Deceived by teachers. But at least it felt good to know the truth-finally.
There is no reason for schools to be hiding reality from young minds. Young minds that just suck in all this information without questioning it. They are vulnerable, gullible almost, and believe almost anything. So teaching kids the real side of things should be the correct thing to do.
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Or isn?t it? Schools should show what Columbus really was, a lucky explorer who happened to come across a land that had already been inhabited. That isn?t ?discovering.? There is a statue and a landmark in New York dedicated to him. So many other people, most who knew the difference between right and wrong, helped make this country what it is, and not even half are mentioned in school history books. This, although minor, is a problem.
So in conclusion, I ask for more thought to be put in when schools are teaching lessons like this. The truth, and all the truth, should be taught to students. Also, for people to open their eyes and see Christopher Columbus not as a hero or an admiral, but as the cruel, heartless villain that encouraged genocide and took what wasn?t his.
Christopher Columbus: Villain Or Hero? Essay
For more than five centuries Americans have lifted Christopher Columbus to heights of greatness and god-like. We celebrate his life as though he was a man that had done us a great favor. In resent years Christopher Columbus has come under scrutiny, his life and works being questioned more than celebrated. There have be many great men and women that contributed to the building of our great nation but they do not receive anywhere as much recognition as Columbus. When a person begins to study the actual accounts of the "finding of the New World" they begin to wonder if Columbus should adored or hated for his actions. As a child I was taught that Columbus was a great man that had accomplished great things for the sake of humanity, but in reality his agenda was not to better humanity but to better himself. He found the Americas by mere chance and he did not even know of what he found. We give him credit for "finding" the Americas but history tells of the people, that he called Indians, already inhabiting the foreign land. So you decide whether or not Christopher Columbus should be revered a hero.
Columbus' original plan was to prove that early geographers were wrong and that the world was larger than computed (William Howarth). He had sponsorship from the King and Queen of Spain who were finally convinced by Columbus by his belief that he was a divine missionary, ordained by God to spread Christianity (P. J. Riga). When he got to the New World he had found that there was the possibility that there might be an abundance of gold, and gold was the commodity Columbus pursued with obsessive zeal (William Howarth). It would seem to be an item that he had a lust for more than anything. An elder on Tortuga described "within a hundred or more leagues . . . an island that was all gold . . . such a quantity that it is collected and separated as with a sieve; and they melt it and make bars and a thousand objects." The credulous Admiral soon hauled anchor and departed. Gold became his journey's fleece and grail. A few days before departure he was still tracking rumors about "an exceedingly great quantity of gold" in Hispaniola, "where he could get it for nothing." That search continued on all four of his voyages, but the Indies never yielded him much treasure (William Howarth).
Columbus' journey didn't start out to be a bad idea, he even gave examples of how he tried to reason and befriend the indigenous people of the Americas. "I," he says, "in order that they would be friendly to us--because I recognized that they were people who would be better freed [from error] and converted to our Holy Faith by love than by force--to some of them I gave red caps, and glass beads which they put on their chests, and many other things of small value in which they took so much pleasure and became so much our friends that it was a marvel" (Columbus Quote from Christian History). Columbus did do the world a great service when he made his exploration and some people would argue...
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