The epic voyage of Christopher Columbus to America

The epic voyage of Christopher Columbus to America

Christopher Columbus made a voyage across the Americas back in the year 1492. Columbus entered Americas from Spain through the Atlantic Ocean. Within that year, he made four trips; the first was in 1492, the second in 1493, the third in 1498, and the last one in 1502.  Columbus’ primary objective of his voyage was to discover the shortest route connecting Asia and Europe through the ocean.  Although Columbus did not find that route, his trip to America made him aware of America’s existence. Though his primary quest was discovering a water route, his motive changed once he got in America and discovered American as new content.    His voyage is, however historically revered for the positive effects it brought about, such as the dawn of New Lands, modern agricultural methods introduction, and promoting interaction amongst others. But, different historians have different perspectives on Christopher Columbus’ legacy. In their claim, the voyage was flawed as it prepared for the arrival of Spanish colonization, the spread of diseases, conquest, and marauding of wealth found within the discovered lands. While analyzing Columbus’s objective of his voyages within the Americas, this paper intends to explain different aspects of his journey to America and its effects on society.

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The epic voyage of Christopher Columbus to America back in 1492 is commonly known as the modern era start point and is viewed as the start of globalization. However, Columbus’ legacy and the impact of the caused by the later European explorers still remain controversial.   Some people view him as a talented mariner and brave that should be remembered for his benefits in Western civilization to America’s native peoples and untold glory and Wealth to Europe.  However, the criticizers view him as an incompetent explorer that just accidentally stumbled on the Americas and used enslavements and violence against the natives almost in all ways[1] only to accumulate personal glory and mass wealth.  Based on research, there is little evidence of revisionist influence, and also, there is a lack of adequate data that support a Columbus’ heroic traditional heroic image. At the same time, just a few Americans, that rejects the Columbus’ hoary positive image as the person who discovered America.  This shows the difference that lies between the ideological outlook of the ones who recognize the Indians’ priority as the first Americans and the ones which characterize Christopher Columbus as a villain.[2]

Columbus lived in a time when Europeans  underwent many challenges.  Butterway[3] notes that most of these challenges were caused by famine, diseases, and religious oppression. In his time of exploration,  there existed debate of   Spanish’  search for the shortest trade route heading to the West Indies. Buttery[4] Notes that Christopher’s objective of voyages may not have been anchored in the fallacy of obtaining amass wealth for himself and also for his government but to establish a New World for Christianity colonization by Spain that would lead to future colonization.   Columbus’s faith as a Catholic was Strong, and he had a firm belief in the Bible. Hence, it was his role to expand his  Christianity belief in America.  Also, his voyage across the oceans took around 1492 days. Thus, his journey brought in New Lands like the Caribbean islands and other countries like  Trinidad and Tobago for the Europeans.  could be the reason why most towns and streets have probably this is wbeen   named after him.  In some of the many voyages he made, Columbus can hbe termed as courage and perseverance role model and an icon of America’s evolution – a practical navigator. His   new territories discoveries offer a chance for trade growth, science as well as contemporary construction of administration

Native Americans describe Columbus as the y most fascinating and friendly individual ever to have been produced by the world. In his diaries, Columbus personally asserted this and affirmed that no other person had encountered individuals with a good heart (the natives) than himself.    Following this interpretation, Columbus’s intent may have been to take advantage of the New Lands he was voyaging.   Also, this is evident from the way he would refer to Taino Indians as sub humans since he could not perceive them as a fellow human being.

The objective of Columbus voyages

Another objective of Columbus voyages is cited as search of wealth through spices and gold trade.   Thrilled with vast deposits of gold within the Carribean’s, Columbus established a three-month quota system.   Following this, each Indian within the Caribbean island, whether a man, a woman, or a child above 14 years, was required to deliver the set quota each month. Columbus would order very harsh punishment, including having their hands chopped using an axe any time the allowance became unrealized.  This punishment was meant to set an example to other Indians that failed to honor the three quota system. Also, Columbus warranting his actions by sending heathens and not the Christians to Spain while chained.  This may better demonstrate that he was not only cruel but power-thirsty

From the conformist view of colonial history, Columbus’s obsession with gold was perceived as indicative of the conquistador’s obvious lust for enrichment.  But, what is often overlooked is the fact that his pursuit was an artifact of his celestially discovered belief that he would successfully find not just gold deposits, but King Solomon Mines. Also, Columbus’s Terrestrial Paradise hunt, as well as his conviction in the third voyage, has been viewed as a shame to historians that wanted to represent him as the unstopped power of colonial occupation and enslavement.


Impacts of Columbus Voyage

Innovative ways of agricultural practices.

Various individuals view Christopher as one to the crucial benefactor always. The fact that he launched agricultural activities everywhere he visited can be considered to be a right way he offered a contact opportunity for the new and old world. Nunn and Nancy  [5] note that the old world obtained new staple foods like sweet potatoes, potatoes cassava, and maize. Also introduced were the less calorie-intensive foods like cacao, tomatoes, peanuts, and pineapples, which are currently culinary centerpieces in various old-world countries like Greece, Italy India, Malaysia, Thailand, Hungary, and other Mediterranean countries.   Tobacco is also New World crops that were generally adopted and later became a currency substitute in different parts globally.   The exchange further leads to the drastically increased availability of different old world crops like coffee and sugar, which were explicitly suitable for the New World soils.


Societal impacts

However, Columbus is criticized for being a desperado.  Criticizes him of having ruined the beauty of the New land with his interest of greed and fame.  Also, he is accused of having raped the women together with his crew, infecting them with such diseases as syphilis in Europe.  As a result,  many deaths occurred, and destabilization of the civilization that was present for many years.

On the other hand, environmentalists criticize Columbus of having introduced the art of animal rearing, which lead to the destruction of the geography and its plantation.  Also, environmentalists contend that Columbus’s voyages gave rise to break out of diseases that affected the natives due to lack of immunity. Statistics show that approximately ninety percent of the natives succumbed to new generation diseases such as Tuberculosis, plague, and smallpox.   The Columbian exchange resulted in the trading of goods and diseases between Europeans and Amerindians is believed to have started after Columbus made his first voyage to the Americas. The new crops and livestock did well within their new environments adding diversity in the diets of the people. However, there was an unfavorable transferee of the exchange leading to mass deaths within the native inhabitants, although not the Europeans. Most of these diseases were generally Old World diseases due to many reasons. When the Amerindians moved into the new world, there was a time of mass glaciation, and this cold did away with the risk of most diseases. Hence the Amerindians have minor illnesses to share. But, the individuals who later came to be Europeans had a different experience since they were in areas that had higher temperatures as well as larger inhabitants to share illnesses.

The population making settlement in the Americas was in isolation from Afro-Eurasia over a long period. Hence,  they did not have many diseases shared across the populations over a long time in human history. But conditions such as measles, smallpox, chickenpox, malaria, yellow fever and chickenpox entirely caused a lot of deaths to Native Americans.  But later, they also developed immunity out of the available food variety offered by the Europeans, overcame the obstacle, and grew in population.   Some natives individuals viewed disease as a bludgeon utilized by antagonistic spiritual forces, and thus went to war so as to eliminate the disease amongst themselves.  But, the mourning wars within the eastern North America   would only end up in captives being adopted or ritually tortured then put to death to alleviate the anger and grief that comes with the loss. [6]

Although diseases  were a major  negative effects of the old and new world exchange, there were  a large quantity of desirable  goods that were traded. Some of these desirable effects  includes  various domestic  animals  such as cattle and pigs.  Also introduced to the native population was the horse enabling the natives to hunt more efficiently and effectively  and become powerful in war.


Therefore, Columbus’ voyages within the Northern Hemisphere were termed not as a chance to conquer but an opportunity of adopting new discoveries and ideas.  It is interesting that Columbus and his crew did not perceive the ill of burglary or taking anything from the Indians by force.  Thus, they believed they had the right to steal whenever the Indians resistant to give out what they wanted.   As a result, many Indians considered this as a new cultures being introduced by Columbus and his crew. Hence, the culture of burglary grew  in e Indian society since they considered it appropriate for anyone to steal.    They started  practicing theft towards the Spanish. But, Columbus recognized that it was vital  to instill discipline through punishment of any Indian caught with any stolen item.

[1] Hitchmough, Sam. “‘ it’s not your country anymore.’ contested national narratives and the Columbus Day parade protests in Denver.” European Journal of American Culture 32, no. 3 (2013): 263-283.

[2] Schuman, Howard, Barry Schwartz, and Hannah D’ArcyD’Arcy. “Elite revisionists and popular beliefs: Christopher Columbus, hero or villain?.” Public Opinion Quarterly 69, no. 1 (2005): 2-29.

[3] Butterway, Georgia Elizabeth. A Critical Analysis of the Works on Christopher Columbus. Department of History, Stanford University., 1933


[5] Nunn, Nathan, and Nancy Qian. “The Columbian exchange: A history of the disease, food, and ideas.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 24, no. 2 (2010): 163-88

[6] ( Khan Academy 2020)

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