Week2: The Meeting of Two Worlds

When I watched the video, I realized how little I know about Christopher Columbus. I know he was an explorer and embarked in South America. Also through my Spanish classes in high school, I learned that Columbus is a very important and praised figure in Spain, however that is about all you learn about him in Japanese schools.

Recently, through modern technology, such as social media, I was told that Columbus is not a person who should be praised or celebrated due to the cruel ways he treated the indigenous people. I, having very little knowledge, accepted this to be the truth and made up my mind that he was a villain. Watching the lecture video and reading his journal made me question my beliefs. Since he is a person of the past, I always thought of him as something like a character who is simple and has no depth and never actually thought of him as a human being. Reading his journal and listening to the lecture made me realize that just as any person cannot be defined as purely good or purely evil, the same thing can be said about Christopher Columbus or Conquistadors.

The lecture video also made me rethink the way I perceive history. Something that we in the modern world may consider a turning point in history, was probably just a typical day for most people living at the time. Similarly, we probably will not realize the significance of an event until years to come.

There are some things I found very fascinating and want to learn more about. One is how the Conquistadors or Spaniards communicated with the local people. In Columbus’s journal, he wrote that they would communicate using gestures and signs, however, it would have been highly difficult to completely understand each other and many misunderstandings would have occurred. I wonder if events would have unfolded differently if the two groups had better means of communication. I also wonder if the Incan, Aztec or Mayan societies would still exist to this day if Europeans did not arrive in South America. Maybe technology would have improved at a much rapid pace for they are said to have been a highly advanced society. Maybe they would have disappeared anyway. Although I can only imagine what Latin America would have looked like without European influence I think it’s a very interesting topic to think about.

2 thoughts on “Week2: The Meeting of Two Worlds

  1. Nitya Ramirez Machado

    Hi Jasmine!
    This last point you raise about how Latin America would have looked like without European influence is something very interesting to ponder. It almost seems very difficult to imagine. Especially because I have Spanish and Portuguese heritage on one side of my family, and native lineage on the other side. So if the europeans wouldn’t have came into contact with Latin America years ago, perhaps I would not exist, as well as a majority of the people from Latin America. And consequently, maybe the whole idea of Latin America would be completely different.

  2. simran dhaliwal

    Hi Jasmine!
    I really liked how you mentioned that a person can’t be described as purely evil or good. There is a lot to an individual that a textbook, their journal or social media won’t show us. It is important to educate yourself and be aware of information before establishing an opinion about someone. I was on the exact same boat. At first, Columbus was this hero and then a monster and now I’m not quite sure. Especially when looking at history, they themselves didn’t know the long lasting effects of their actions.


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