Listening to “The Meeting of Two Worlds” videos and reading the journal of Christopher Columbus himself has left me with two feelings. One being, intrigued about what happens next in the historical story, and the second being frustrated with Columbus. The first feeling is usually how I feel when I begin to learn about a new subject, all the ideas are fresh and exciting, and it feels as if I’ve stepped into another world. Of course, I knew that Columbus travelled from Europe to find the West Indies, but I did not know exactly where he landed or what kinds of people that he encountered along the way. It was interesting to watch Jon’s video after reading the journal entries as it increased my understanding and deepened my interest. I also thought that the student videos were quite well done and helped the knowledge sink into my brain.
The reason that I felt frustrated with Columbus is his sheer ignorance of any other culture or religion other than his own. I understand that this was just the mindset of the time; that any one other than Europeans were “savages” and “uncivilized”, and were in need of Christianity. However, it is a completely dismissive way of thinking, and the fact that thousands of people died of foreign disease is also a maddening fact. I don’t know much about colonization in South America, but I know a little bit about North America and I know that the after effects of colonization has continued even to this day. Relationships between First Nations people and the government is still not a great one. So a question I have about colonization in South America: is the relationship between the indigenous people and the government a good one? Or is it a hostile one? What were the consequences of Columbus coming to Latin America, and how has that affected the relationship between native Latin Americans and European settlers? Another question I have is how exactly did Spanish spread throughout the countries? Did the settlers teach the indigenous people? Or was it just picked up by the people through time? Also how did the indigenous language become the language less spoken?
There were so many questions that I had after being introduced to the meeting of these two worlds and I am looking forward to discovering more of the story of how Christopher Columbus “discovered” Latin America.