Christopher Columbus Research Paper

1152 Words5 Pages
The late fifteenth century provided ideal circumstances that allowed Christopher Columbus to sail for the New World representing Spain. European natives had a fierce desire for goods from Asia, especially seasonings and spices. This desire was fueled by Marco Polo’s stories inspiring Europeans to find new ways to trade with Asia, including a sea route.. These factors encouraged Spain to hire Columbus to sail across the Atlantic ocean to find a new route to India. Instead, he found an entirely new continent. Who Columbus was as a person is debated by scholars like Howard Zinn and Samuel Morrison and the viewpoints are mostly based on his actions in the New World as well as his personal writings. Historians like Zinn and Morrison argue over Columbus’s…show more content…
According to Samuel Morrison’s article, Columbus initially had humble beginnings as a poor boy who was a self made sailor and had been subservient to his superiors. Eventually, Columbus rose out of poverty to petition the monarchy of Spain to sail across the seas to the New World. According to Morrison, “[Columbus] was sure he could do it, certain that God meant him to do it; his name meant “Christ Bearer,” so he was destined to carry the good tidings to heathen lands”. Columbus was devoutly Catholic, like most of Spain had been at the time. He believed that God was calling him to spread his faith to foreign lands, as well as his own personal belief that he was meant for something greater than to live in poverty. In addition, Morrison states that Columbus’s main goal was not to conquer Japan or China and rule over the countries in the name of Spain, but rather to set up trading posts to gain access to the spice trade that the continent so desperately craved. When Columbus arrived in the West Indies and found that they were not in Asia, he worked with the Indians to explore the new land and through his helpful guides discovered tobacco, cotton, maize, the hammock, and the dugout canoe (Morrison 3). During Columbus’s second voyage he ran into a major problem. According to Morrison, the Spaniards “had signed on for one purpose only, to get gold; but there was none near by”, so Columbus “was forced…show more content…
In essence, both writers largely omit each other's views creating two radial sides of a spectrum. Zinn neglects to mention that both the native peoples in Africa and America were not entirely peaceful and friendly people, but rather they were often at war and enslaving each other. The Europeans were not entirely responsible for corrupting the previously untouched lands and peoples. On the other side of the spectrum, Morrison does not place much blame onto Columbus for what happened to the native peoples. Morrison places the blame onto the aristocracy and the people funding his mission for putting Columbus in a position where he felt forced to enslave an entire race. While there is truth in that statement, Columbus as the leader of the expedition knew about and likely sanctioned many of the atrocities committed by the Spaniards upon the native peoples, which Morrison neglects to mention. Both views are plausible, however like all people Columbus likely was a combination of good and evil. The quality of his character aside, Columbus’s arrival in the new world dramatically changed life on Earth in ways Columbus could never have anticipated, but the minute he set sail for the New World he opened up a new chapter in

More about Christopher Columbus Research Paper

Open Document