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Essay on American History To 1700

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The writings of Columbus, Castillo, and de la Casas represented vastly different points of view of the Spanish conquests of the Americas. In his first letter, Christopher Columbus mostly focused on the political victory of the voyage and arriving in the Indies (p. 32), and the splendor of the landscape including palm trees, mountains, and beautiful birds (p. 33). In the subsequent letter to King Ferdinand of Spain, Columbus seems selfish and one-sided (somewhat understandable considering that he was begging Ferdinand for forgiveness of his crimes (p. 35). Bernal Diaz del Castillo's account, however, was not clouded by much bias or opinions at all. Because Castillo was just a simple foot soldier (Castillo p. 42) and was left to follow the commands of Cortes and his other officers, he wrote more of a journal that described in much detail the arrive and battles in Tenochtitlan (Castillo pp. 44-52). In comparison, Bartolome de las Casas did not stray from showing his personal convictions about the overall Spanish conquest and treatment of the Indians. After becoming a priest, he expressed that he believed those who were executing these atrocities out on the Indians for want of riches and gold were not in keeping with Catholic teachings that many Spaniards claimed to abide by (p. 36). Though vastly different, the viewpoints in these writings work to demonstrate the cases that each man is trying to make for the intended reader.

Christopher Columbus shows deep conflict and contradiction in the two letters that are presented in this piece. The first letter Columbus wrote to Luis de Santangel expresses much optimism about the victory of the voyage (p. 32). He also displayed gratefulness to the King and Queen for the opportunity to...


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...ettlers subordinated their rights to follow laws passed by their government to gain protection and ensure survival.

The early days in the Plymouth settlement were not easy for the Puritans. After creating the Mayflower Compact to unify the settlers and deter defiance from the non-Puritans on board, the Pilgrims faced even more difficult times ashore (pp. 120-121). During the first winter, Bradford recorded that half of the settlers perished, many from the lack of proper shelter from the elements and various diseases, such as scurvy, that they contracted aboard the Mayflower (pp. 121-122). The non-Puritans who had come to embrace the Pilgrims in their health, abandoned their former friends selfishly when disease struck the camp (p. 122). These difficulties in the beginning of the colony threatened to destroy the faith of the once spiritually enriched Puritans.


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