The Age of Exploration clearly changed the world forever. The discovery of “The New World”, along with priceless trade routes has greatly impacted the world till this day. The men who are responsible for these magnificent discoveries certainly deserve much credit, but are they really the heroes we make them out to be? Although it does not completely diminish their notoriety, many of the individuals who were responsible for these discoveries had vicious intentions and occasionally even acted upon them. This is why there is such a divided view on the legacy of these explorers.
The first example of these “vicious” intentions, is viewed in perhaps the most renowned of the explorers, Christopher Columbus. Columbus expressed his intentions in the journal about his first voyage. He explains how the people he has discovered would be perfect slaves, and that it would only take fifty men to conquer, and govern them as he pleased. Columbus was responsible for beginning the discovery of the new world, and for that he deserves credit, but his “evil” intentions surely harms his legacy. (document 1)
Hernán Cortés was in some ways very similar to Columbus, but at the same time very different. In Cortés’s letter to Charles V, he explains the “horrible” religious custom of the Aztecs. This horrible custom that he spoke of was human sacrifice. Hernán was clearly troubled by these customs, and did what he could to stop them. Although it might seem like Cortés was committing a very good act, it was the way method that becomes questionable. Since Cortés attempted to convert the Aztecs, a raises the thought that perhaps he that was his goal from the origin. Persuading a less developed ethnic group to convert to Christianity doesn’t sound nearly as goo...
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...legacy? (document 11)
Despite some explorers heinous intents and actions, there were some terrible circumstances faced by Indians not by any desire of explorers. The biggest example of this was the extreme loss of life do to plague. Since the Indian tribes were not used to diseases that the colonists held, many of them would get infected and die. These deaths were caused by the colonists, but was not done by them on purpose. (document 8)
The Age of Exploration is a very controversial era. While many colonists were responsible for the deaths of millions of Indians, they also both discovered and taught material that is still crucial to this day. Whether it was the teaching of Spanish trades (document 4), or the “Columbian Exchange” (document 5), European explorers accomplished many great things that put slight ease to the pain that other explorers caused.
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