When Christopher Columbus first sighted land on that fateful day in October over 500 years ago, he did not know that he was leading America in a new direction. This direction would lead to the greatest nation in history. But it would also lead to the total destruction of one of the most culturally advanced groups of people in the world, the Native American Indians. These two different views have led to a controversial argument between people all over America. Was Christopher Columbus a bold visionary who courageously discovered a New World, advanced the interests of Europeans, and contributed to the progress of humankind, or was he a plundering, self serving, ethnocentric racist who initiated the decimation of Native American cultures and provided the impetus for the transatlantic slave trade? Columbus had a dream. His dream showed him the riches of the east. But he wanted to get there by traveling west. The choice to go this direction made many people doubt him. He asked many leaders of different kingdoms to finance his voyage but, at first, nobody accepted him. But since he was determined and persevering, Queen Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain finally accepted his quest for a new trade route to the far east. On this voyage, he inadvertently discovered the New World. When he stumbled onto this new land, he arguably made the greatest discovery of all time. It took a lot of bravery and courage to take a trip of this magnitude but Columbus possessed these qualities. After discovering America, there was a new hope in Europe. America was a new source of wealth and a place to start a new beginning. Columbus could truly be said to be a product of his era and maybe of all time. However, Columbus was not perfect. Columbus was responsible for many atrocities during his time of discovery. Everything he did was fueled by greed. The only reason he undertook the voyage was to find wealth and to elevate his social status. In order to do this he had to bring back gold or slaves back to Isabella so that it would prove they would be compensated for financing the voyage. Columbus stripped what little gold these Indians had. He saw that there wasn't much gold in the region, so Columbus took what he saw an abundance of....human life. He saw these brown skinned people and decided that they were wild savages that didn't believe God. This somehow gave him the right to either kill or enslave them. This is what Columbus and his crew did. Columbus should be credited with catalyzing the total destruction of the Native American people and the starting the transatlantic slave trade. Columbus wasn't a bold visionary; he is the most praised and loved mass murderer our history has ever seen. Was Christopher Columbus a bold visionary who courageously discovered a New World, advanced the interests of Europeans, and contributed to the progress of humankind, or was he a plundering, self serving, ethnocentric racist who initiated the decimation of Native American cultures and provided the impetus for the transatlantic slave trade? Yes. He was a noble sailor that succeeded in finding the continent that we are living on. But, in doing this, he destroyed a whole civilization. Columbus may be a hero for his time, but certainly not a hero of all history.
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