Essay about The Greatest Accomplishment : Columbus, Cortes, And Pizarro

Essay about The Greatest Accomplishment : Columbus, Cortes, And Pizarro

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We first start by looking at the individuals who participated in the conquest, primarily Columbus, Cortes, and Pizarro. We often place these people on pedestals so to speak and admire what they were able to accomplish. However, when we delve into it all, Restall notes that in many cases, in particular Columbus, we realize that his greatest accomplishment, supposedly “discovering the New World,” was an accident. “In fact, the most exceptional thing about Columbus’ geographical vision was that it was wrong. His achievements were the result of historical accident and his role in the historical process was far larger than he was. ” Restall puts tremendous focus on the role that the predecessors to Columbus, Cortez, and Pizzaro played in the success of the conquests. Many writers ignore this factor and place much, if not all of the success in the hands of these few. The reality is that many of these “successes” were in fact accidents, and those that were not were aided by years of prior attempts and failures. In Columbus’ case, he failed dozens of times and had a very small network of people. The fact that he was able to get another chance at an expedition is a miracle.
The problem with Columbus’ voyage was that many believed that he was not being completely honest. He had been accused of lying to the Queen about the actual places he “discovered” and specifics of his voyage. Hernán Cortéz followed after and became a primary character in building the Spanish empire around Mainland Mexico, around which the Aztec empire was centered. Throughout his voyage and conquest, Cortez kept eyewitness accounts and personal letters that later became famous. “Cortés’s letter or Jerez’s narrative of the massacre at Cajamarca, framed the justificatio...


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...our analysis. There tends to be a general consensus of the main players, events and timeline of the history. When authors or historians come out against the norm, it is common for them to experience tremendous opposition. While the method that Restall uses is a very unique one, I think that the same is the case for him. Some of the myths are more controversial than others, but regardless, Restall tends to break away from the norm in his analysis. For example, during class we examined how the Europeans possessed superior weapons than the Europeans. I am convinced that this technological superiority played a major role in the downfall of the Indians. Granted, much of the damage to the indigenous population was due disease, confrontations with the Indians were far from infrequent. The more advanced steel and gunpowder weapons gave the Europeans a significant advantage.

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