Monday, October 27, 2014

A Hero or A Murderer

"Christopher Columbus, the brave captain that risked his life to discovered America."  No, how about Christopher Columbus, the greedy discoverer that took advantage of the Native Americans and killed them for something they didn't have. Christopher Columbus is a European explorer that used his knowledge of the world against the Native Americans. He first discovered "the new world" in hopes of getting rich and finding gold. When he got there he discovered that the Natives wore gold and to Columbus that meant that they were rich. However, the small gold chains that the Natives wore was all they had for gold. Once Christopher Columbus saw the gold he immediately took control of the Natives and forced them to find gold for him. He would have monthly gold collections from each person. If they had enough gold to offer each month they were awarded by wearing a coin around their neck. If the Natives did not collect enough gold to Columbus's liking he would have their hand cut off and they would have to wear it around their necks. Christopher Columbus also hung many Natives and began war against them. The Natives were welcoming people and once Christopher Columbus came they were willing to do anything for him. That should not mean that Columbus is allowed to take over their land and kill innocent people. The Natives offered him many goods from their people however the goods they presented him weren't what he came to collect. He also treated his crew very poorly. Almost half of the people that went on voyages with Christopher Columbus died on the way. Christopher Columbus treated the Natives so poorly that when he went on his forth voyage to the new world he compiled a Book of Privileges. He created this book because when he left people were concerned with whether Columbus was doing the right things. It shows that even people in Europe were questioning the things that Christopher Columbus was doing. No one agreed with Christopher Columbus but he still continued his tactics so he would become rich. Christopher Columbus was a rich, greedy man that didn't care about the lives of others. 

The question that many Americans are still trying to answer is the fact that we still have Columbus day and if it is actually something worth celebrating. Christopher Columbus does deserve some credit he connected Europe and the Americas. That is an extraordinary discovery. He was also capable of telling when an eclipse was going to be and the cycle of the moon and stars. However, the way that Christopher Columbus is presented to younger kids through Columbus day should not be celebrated. Christopher Columbus did take a risk on going on a journey where no one else had gone. We are taught in a manner that seems like Christopher Columbus took a huge risk.That may be true, but he had pretty much known that he was going to hit land. He may have discovered something different from what he was looking for but he still hit land. The way we celebrate Christopher Columbus should be changed. I think that we should still celebrate this holiday, but it should be viewed differently. Rather then making the holiday all about Christopher Columbus it should be altered to be celebrating the achievement of the Europeans. This should be the way we look at Columbus day because Christopher Columbus did not discover America by himself. He had many sponsors and crew to sail the ships. So, rather then us celebrating someone who started the slave trade we should focus more on the whole achievement and the factors that went into it to be accomplished. Christopher Columbus may not be the most model citizen, but he deserves credit for a major discovery. 

Links to Christopher Columbus resources: 

Columbus's report on his first Voyage, 1493 

Christopher Columbus Mini Biography

Columbus' Cook of Privileges

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