Week Two Readings

The Reading the journal of Christopher Columbus was (to say the least) a interesting read. When it comes to historical views on the man, there are two popular conceptions, the hero or villain. The hero approach sees Columbus as a brave man that sail the ocean to lead to the founding of nations to come. The villain approach sees him as a mass slaughter to the native people in what is now Latin America. The journals I argue may be important for crafting another approach, Columbus the blind man, not with glory or with angry, but just a unknowing person within a world he does not understand.

The journals are more or less boring at first with him only describing how his ships are faring in his voyage to at least what he thinks is the Mongol Empire. He however does not accomplish and instead lands near Cuba. What is interesting is that Columbus finds the natives to be simple but pleasant. Stating if they want to convert these people to Christianity, they would have to use gentile rather then harsh means of doing so. He also praises and admires the natives at certain points in his travels but nether less see them as foreign or other and thus making him distrustful of them. This is a blow to the villain approach to Columbus because it shows that Columbus instead of being a blood thirsty murderer, is shown to have some admiration for the natives rather seeing them as something to profit off of. Neither, this is his own accounts so he may change the facts for self-pervesvation of his character.

These journals also high list Columbus blind ambition to either get to the Asia or at least find something he can bring back to Spain to show his King and Queen. Natives keep telling him what he does not want to hear. That he is not in the realm of the Khans and that there is no great supply of gold. Either way, Columbus still tries to create a narrative that his travels where not in vain but meant something.

Overall, Columbus is neither painted as complete and heartless monster or a hero that found a new world, but a man blind with his own need to find and hold onto glory. Yet the narrative he created to try to find meaning in his travels would cause a flood of Europeans to come and change the world and bring about nations that are going to be built on blood.

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