Since Elementary School, the epic tale of Columbus’s harrowing journey that ultimately lead to the discovery of America has been recited to us time and again. However, as more information has been unearthed about Columbus, his status as an American hero has been put into question. Not unlike most European explorers, Columbus came across many Native American tribes on his journeys. Since Columbus was under pressure to find new lands and amass large amounts of gold, he and his team of explorers viewed the indigenous people as nothing more than a means to an end. Columbus forced much of the native population to convert to Christianity, as well as using extremely harsh and often brutal methods to keep the Native American people in line. Since
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Catholic law forbade the enslavement of Christians; however, Columbus solved this problem by refusing to baptize the native people of Hispaniola. Columbus still committed numerous atrocities towards the natives and as a result, he nearly wiped them out. He forced them to find gold where there was none, and if they came up empty Columbus would torture, disfigure, or publicly dismember them. Columbus also forced the natives into slavery, causing most of them to die on their way to Spain. Columbus and his men threw the native’s corpses over the side of the boat and into the ocean.
As well as this, Europeans brought with them a host of diseases such as smallpox, typhus, cholera, and measles that decimated the indigenous population. New evidence suggests that Columbus’s voyage is also responsible for the outbreak of syphilis in Europe. Columbus’s goals included much more than just discovering a sea route to Asia. The gold, parrots, spices, and slaves Columbus displayed for the monarchy at Barcelona cemented Columbus’s chances to embark on second voyage. Columbus was now at the height of his fame, and he led at least 17 ships out from Cádiz on Sept. 25, 1493. Colonization and the influence of Christianity were openly included this time in his plans, and a group of friars accompanied him. The presence of some 1,300 men, around 200 private investors, and a small battalion of