Category Archives: Week Two

The Meeting of Two Worlds

“The Meeting of Two Worlds” lecture provided an excellent introduction to the mythical beginnings of Latin America. In previous courses, I learned about Christopher Columbus’ journey and its significance as an entry into the Western world. However, we never fully associated it as a key moment for Latin America.

The first reading of Columbus’ personal journals from his voyage was interesting. With only brief knowledge of what occurred during his trip across the Atlantic, I enjoyed reading his first hand experiences of their time on the ship, their initial impressions of the Native Americans and how they interacted with this new land. I was surprised by the many accounts of lying to his crew about the distance they traveled, as if he was trying to assure himself more than anyone else that they were making progress. The journal entries reveal his obvious confusion in what he eventually located. His dedication to the belief that he found what he was originally searching for was astounding, repeatedly trying to convince himself that more people, profitable supply and gold were close by. The various drawings of the various new encounters such as the hammock or an iguana are fascinating, seeing how simple, now commonplace things were a source of awe for Columbus. I liked how in his last entries, he expressed interest in exploring the land more, but with only one vessel, would have to do so on his own. I am curious as to what he would have done or accomplished if he stayed.

The second reading was all new information for me. The reading from p.370 caught my interest. I am not sure if I understand it correctly since this is a translated text, but I tried my best to comprehend it. After just reading about Columbus’ encounters with the Native Americans, I was intrigued to read about experiences from the Incas’ perspective. There was obvious miscommunication between the Incas and foreigners. They wanted to know more about the Spaniards, curious about something as simple as what they ate. The Spaniards, partly because of language barrier and party because of their current focus, responded by saying gold and silver, an objective of their conquest. It is comical the Native Americans took it quite literally, giving them gold dust and silver and gold utensils. Candia’s reiteration of his experience with the Indians was primarily centered around silver and gold and seemingly an exaggeration of what he actually witnessed. The last paragraph of this entry seemed to express the new incomers’ dissatisfaction with what they actually found when they searched for this kingdom Candia spoke of.

There are still gaps in my understanding of the second reading, but I still enjoyed trying to make sense of the different accounts. I look forward to discussing them more in class and hopefully gaining a better understanding.