Christopher Columbus Hero or Villain

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					Christopher Columbus
       Hero or Villain?
  Columbus: Hero or Villain?
Directions:

   Write down weather you think the quote describes
   Columbus as a hero or a villain, and explain why.

   Discuss as a group

   Discuss as a class
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
It is October, 1492, Three small, storm-battered ships
are lost at sea, sailing into an unknown ocean. A
brightened crew has been threatening to throw their
stubborn captain overboard, turn the ships around,
and make for the safety of familiar shores. Then a
miracle: The sailors see some green branches floating
on the water. Land birds fly overhead. From high in
the ship’s rigging the lookout cries, “Land, land
ahead!” Fears turn to joy. Soon the grateful captain
wades ashore and gives thanks to God.
     American Textbook, The Land of Promise, as found
     in in Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen, James W.,pg.
     58
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
It was early October 1492, and thirty-three days since
he and his crew had left the Canary Islands, off the
Atlantic coast of Africa. Now they saw branches and
sticks floating in the water. They saw flocks of birds.
These were signs of land. Then on October 12, a sailor
called Rodrigo saw the early morning moon shining on
white sands, and cried out. It was an island in the
Bahamas, the Caribbean sea. The first man to sight
land was supposed to get a yearly pension of 10,000
maravedis for life, but Rodrigo never got it. Columbus
claimed he had seen a light the evening before. He got
the reward.
   Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States, pg. 2-3
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
They (Arawaks) never refuse anything which
they possess, if it be asked of them; on the
contrary, they invite anyone to share it, and
display as much love as if they would give their
hearts.
   Columbus’s Letter King Ferdinand II of
   Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
They are of very acute intelligence and
are men who navigate all those seas, so
that it is amazing how good an account
they give of everything.
  Columbus’s Letter King Ferdinand II of
  Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
At every point where I have been and
have been able to have speech, I have
given to them of all that I had, such as
cloth and many other things, without
receiving anything for it.
  Columbus’s Letter King Ferdinand II of
  Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
I forbade that they should be given things so
worthless as fragments of broken crockery and
scraps of broken glass, and ends of straps,
although when they were able to get them, they
fancied that they possessed the best jewel in the
world……And I gave a thousand handsome
good things, which I had brought.
   Columbus’s Letter King Ferdinand II of
   Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
Their highnesses can see that I will give
them as much gold as they may need, if
their highnesses will render me very
slight assistance; moreover, spice and
cotton, as much as their highnesses shall
command.
  Columbus’s Letter King Ferdinand II of
  Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
What we committed in the Indies stands
out among the most unpardonable
offenses ever committed against God and
mankind and this trade [in Indian slaves]
as one of the most unjust, evil, and cruel
among them.
  Bartolome de las Casas in Lies My Teacher
  Told Me, Loewen, James W.,pg. 39
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
Although Columbus made three more voyages
to America, he never really knew he had
discovered a New World. He died in obscurity,
unappreciated and penniless. Yet without his
daring, American history would have been very
different, for in a sense, Columbus made it all
possible.
   Collective story of American Textbooks.
   Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me, pg.
   39
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
When Columbus and his men returned to
Haiti in 1493, they demanded food, gold, spun
cotton—whatever the Indians had that they
wanted, including sex with their women. To
ensure cooperation, Columbus used
punishment by example. When an Indian
committed even a minor offense, the Spanish
cut off his ears or nose. Disfigured, the person
was sent back to his village as living evidence of
the brutality the Spaniards were capable of.
   Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me, pg. 61
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
They could spin and weave, but they had no horses or
work animals. They had no iron, but they wore tiny
gold ornaments in their ears. This was to have
enormous consequences: it led Columbus to take some
of them aboard ship as prisoners because he insisted
that they guide him to the source of the gold. He then
sailed to what is now Cuba, then to Hispaniola….There
bits of visible gold in the rivers, and a gold mask
presented to Columbus by a local Indian chief, led to
wild visions of gold fields.
   Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States, pg. 3
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
On Haiti, they found that the sailors left
behind at Fort Navidad had been killed
in a battle with the Indians, after they
had roamed the island in gangs looking
for gold, taking women and children as
slaves for sex and labor.
  Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United
  States, pg. 4
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
In 1495, they went on a great slave raid,
rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men,
women, and children, put them in pens
guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked
the five hundred best specimens to load onto
ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred
died en route.
   Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United
   States, pg. 4
Columbus: Hero or Villain
They ordered all persons fourteen years or older to
collect a certain quantity of gold every three months.
When they brought it, they were given copper tokens
to hang around their necks. Indians found without a
copper token had their hands cut off and bled to
death. The Indians had been given an impossible task.
The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from
the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with
dogs, and were killed.
   Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States, pg. 4
Columbus: Hero or Villain?
Among Arawaks, mass suicides began, with
cassava poison. In two years, through murder,
mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000
Indians on Haiti were dead…By the year 1515,
there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left.
By 1550, there were five hundred. A report of
the year 1650 shows none of the original
Arawaks or their descendants left on the
island.
   Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States, pg. 4-5

				
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