Essay on The Voyage of Christopher Columbus

Essay on The Voyage of Christopher Columbus

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In 1492, an event took place that would change forever the way the world is viewed, and the way people viewed themselves. When Columbus set foot on that Caribbean island on an August morning over five hundred years ago, he set in motion one of the greatest migrations the world has ever seen. Two separate and distinct worlds met that day, even though both had populated their separate continents. One world, the old world, was made up of Europeans looking for fame and fortune, not necessarily for new and uncharted lands. Divine supports this idea by stating, “They (explorers) came not as colonists but as fortune hunters seeking instant wealth, preferably gold, and they were not squeamish about the means they used to obtain it” (Divine, p.9). The other world, the new world, was made up of “Indians”, or the people native to this newly found hemisphere. They had their own cultures, and treated the newcomers like Gods, not knowing who or what they were. In document two of Gorn, Columbus supports this by saying, “ …and others in loud voices called to all the men and women: Come see the men who cane from the heavens” (Gorn, p.9). The opportunistic and power hungry old worlders took quick advantage of this, eventually either subjugating or outright slaughtering these unsuspecting natives. In document two, Bartlolme de Las Casas states, “And they (Spaniards) committed other acts of force and violence and oppression which made the Indians realize that these men had not come from Heaven” (Gorn, p.13). Why did these adventurers choose to take advantage of the natives they encountered, rather than try to peacefully coincide and cooperate with them? I will try to answer this troubling question while chronicling the documents of Columb...


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... very clean in their persons, with alert, intelligent minds, docile and open to doctrine, very apt to receive our holy Catholic faith, to be endowed with virtuous customs, and to behave in a godly fashion,” (Gorn, p.12).
All three documents illustrated everyone coming over to the new world with basically the same outcome: exploiting the Indians in the name of God and civilization, and gain as much wealth, fame, and power as humanly possible. Not one of these explorers perceived the natives as their own people, to be left alone and live, but they saw them as people to change and rule. Each one saw the Indians as an obstacle to overcome and eliminate, so that they may be the most powerful and wealthy person or nation. Overall, each group of explorers sought a new and better life, one that involved exploiting the Indians for the good of the explorer’s culture.

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