Christopher Columbus (3 of 3)

Was Columbus’ discovery Hell sent rather than Heaven?

After Columbus discovered San Salvador, he later discovered the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola (now Haiti & the Dominican Republic) Columbus thought he found Cipango but was puzzled by the lack of major cities written about by Marco Polo. The caravel Santa Maria ran aground in Hispaniola and the men were forced to unload the cargo with the help of the natives. The wood from the ship was used to build a fort in La Navidad in Hispaniola.

Return Home

Columbus left about 40 officers behind to man the fort when he sailed back to Spain. He brought back gold, pineapples, parrots and 6 men he would call Indians. Columbus was richly rewarded for his finds. He made 3 more voyages to “the Indies” as he called them. The settlers rule in Hispaniola was very cruel. They forced the natives to search for gold, often torturing or killing them! 

Columbus wrote in his journal:

They were very well built, with very handsome bodies and very good faces,”  “They do not carry arms or know them….They should be good servants.”

The natives were soon forced into slavery, and punished with the loss of a limb or death if they did not collect enough gold (a portion of which Columbus was allowed to keep for himself). Between the European’s brutal treatment and their infectious diseases, within decades, the population was decimated.

Columbus the Failure?

Can we call Columbus a failure? I think so! If we look at what Columbus set out to do (find a quicker route to the East and fill out with a boatload of spices) he achieved none of this!

It is somewhat surprising that what is today considered one of the most important voyages in history was something of a failure at the time. Columbus had promised to find a new, quicker route to the lucrative Chinese trade markets and he failed miserably. Instead of holds full of Chinese silks and spices he returned with some trinkets and a few bedraggled natives from Hispaniola: some ten more had perished on the voyage. In addition, he had lost the largest of the three ships entrusted to him.

columbus fail

Columbus actually considered the natives his greatest find. He thought that a new slave trade could make his discoveries lucrative. Columbus was hugely disappointed a few years later when Queen Isabela, after careful thought, decided not to open the New World to slave trading.

Columbus never believed that he had found something new: he maintained, to his dying day, that the lands he discovered were indeed part of the known Far East. In spite of the failure of the first expedition to find spices or gold, a much larger second expedition was approved, perhaps in part due to Columbus’ skills as a salesman.

Columbus’ End!

Columbus was a bad governor and ruler! In 1499, the Spanish monarchs got wind of the mistreatment of Spanish colonists in Hispaniola, including the flogging and executions without trial. Columbus, who was governor of the territory, was arrested, chained up, and brought back to Spain. Although some of the charges may have been manufactured by his political enemies, Columbus admitted to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that many of the accusations were true. Columbus was stripped of his title as governor. (Thanks http://www.biography.com/news/christopher-columbus-day-facts)

So there you have it..that completes the Columbus story. It’s not a happy ending for our “hero”..in fact he died in misery, a fact that many people in the world would be very pleased about! Like him or not, Columbus did pave the way for European conquest of the world, and the discovery of America – which is very debateable! – which was not technically America – which was called America by AMERIGO VESPUCCI

For more information be sure to check out blogs 1 & 2…for everything else, be sure to check out my other blogs. Here is a link for a really great blog about Columbus & Genocide

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/dominicselwood/100283798/columbus-greed-slavery-and-genocide-what-really-happened-to-the-american-indians/

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