Was Christopher Columbus Truly a Hero?
Ever since the year of 1937, Columbus Day has been celebrated every year on the twelfth of October or the second Monday of October. On this day, we citizens are supposed to acknowledge and celebrate what he has accomplished. What is that exactly? We were taught as young children that Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, and that he was a brave person for sailing into the unknown. We celebrate Columbus’s accomplishments, but fail to realize that he has done terrible things as well. Even though he was a brave individual, we let that overshadow the fact that he has done some terrible things. The bravery of Columbus does not justify his actions at all.
Columbus was a selfish person. Along with ninety crew members, Columbus set sail to search for a water route to Asia. In a book written by Samuel Eliot Morison, entitled Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Morison spoke of a wager. “The first man to sight land was supposed to get a yearly pension of 1,000 maravedis for life, but Rodrigo never got it, Columbus claimed he had seen a light the evening before. He got the reward” (Morison 2). Rodrigo said that he spotted land first, but somehow Columbus ended up with the reward. Columbus took credit for someone else’s work. Columbus was being greedy and unfair. This occurrence displays that he has a bad personality trait, which is lying. We were taught as children that lying is a bad thing to do. A saying that I have always heard growing up was that a liar will tell one lie and have to tell another lie to cover up the previous one. Who knows how many lies that Columbus told throughout his career?
To add to the list of villainous actions, Columbus fought and took the Native Americans as slaves. The goal of Columbus and his crew was to spread Christianity and find gold. The Native Americans were generous enough to welcome Columbus and his crew in open arms. Columbus and his crew did not return the favor. Columbus attempted to change the culture of the Native Americans by trying to convert them to Christianity. When Columbus met the Natives, he wanted to make them similar to the Europeans. In Howard Zinn’s book, A People’s History of the United States, I located a quote proving in his own words that Columbus took the Natives as slaves. A portion of this quote states, “As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts” (Zinn 4). Columbus took some of the natives by force for his own beneficial gain. It wo...