Many textbooks depict Columbus as the famous explorer and navigator who discovered America. But the real story paints a very different picture. Was he really a brave explorer or a greedy invader? Was he a gifted navigator or a reckless adventurer? Was he a hero or a villain?
Even if we do not take into account the fact that until 1492 America was inhabited by a lot of people, Columbus never set foot on these shores. In fact, Columbus Day, which is celebrated on October 12 in North America, is the day of arrival of Columbus to the Bahamas. He was able to reach the shores of modern Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and explored the coast of Central and South America. But the Spanish flag has not been deployed to the coast of North America. It is assumed that the first European, who sailed to the shores of North America, was Leif Eriksson, and it happened 500 years before the arrival of Columbus.
Christopher Columbus was planning to get significant power and wealth through his trip. Therefore, he held talks with the King of Spain Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. According to the contract, Columbus was to become an admiral, viceroy and governor of any territory, he would detect. In addition, the navigator could get 10% of any goods, whether pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices or other found on the new territory. Perhaps Columbus did have noble intentions, but his agreement with Spain allows you to doubt it.
When Columbus first set foot on the found land, he was confronted with the indigenous population, which was called Taino. They were very friendly and willing to use jewelry and animals to trade with the sailors. In his diary, Columbus wrote that the indigenous people were very beautiful. In addition, they did not carry weapons. Columbus assumed that they would be good servants. Soon, the indigenous population was slaves. They had to collect gold, and if they could not gather the needed quantity they risked to lose a hand. Plus Columbus took the part of the gold for himself. As a result of Europeans’ cruel treatment and infectious diseases that they brought with them, in ten years, the indigenous population was destroyed.
In 1499, the Spanish monarchs received reports of ill-treatment of indigenous people, including flogging and executions. Columbus was the governor of this territory, so he was arrested and taken to Spain. While some of the charges may have been invented by political enemies, Columbus admitted to monarchs that most of them were true. For this, he lost his title as governor.
Many textbooks depict Columbus as the famous explorer and navigator who discovered America. But the real story paints a very different picture.