Christopher Columbus

Columbus’s discovery has been acknowledged greatly by the world, it being thought of as ‘history’s biggest mistake’ to some, whilst also accredited of as a heroic achievement to others at the same time. His expeditions to the Americas were inspired by his theories of a round Earth. Of course, there are also many other benefits if he succeeded, which not only motivated him, but also kept him going instead of turning right back to Italy when he couldn’t find land. I will be explaining why he went on these voyages and the long-term/short-term consequences of his discovery.

Why do most people do things? There is a long list of reasons why: fame, respect, curiosity, money… etc. Gold and fame were Christopher Columbus’s main purposes for trying to reach the Americas. He had reached an agreement with his benefactors: he would be knighted and gain new and important titles such as Don Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Seas, and vice-roy of all new lands he discovers. Christopher also demanded that these titles were to be passed on to all his descendants.

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This is a long term reason as it would last for a long time, for example, even though he lived hundreds of years ago, he is very renowned and well known today. He is acknowledged as somewhat of a heroic nowadays and is known to have discovered America, which was known as the New World back then. Gold was also promised to Christopher Columbus. Although this is a short term reason, he and his family would have benefited greatly from it. He had demanded one tenth of all wealth, metal, spices, gold and gems.

Being a Christian himself, Columbus very much wanted to spread the Christian faith all over Asia as well as Europe. He would have gained the Church’s respect and trust if he converted Asians. However, although nobody supported him when he first expressed his wishes to travel West, he was adamant that he was the ‘Chosen One’. When the Church refused to fund his expedition, he didn’t dare speak against him as it was illegal to speak against the Church and you could be burned at the stake for it. He did, though, ask for an audience with the Queen to ask the crown to sponsor his voyages.

She had refused at first to subsidize his plan to sail to the Indies, and it actually took her one to two years to agree to his conditions. Even though he had the little disadvantage of not having the Church behind him, that didn’t stop him from wanting to spread his religion and belief in God. Religion would clearly have been a long term consequence as religion is passed down through generations and faith and loyalty for God never ends. Especially in the time when Columbus existed, the Church was extremely powerful and strict, which is another reason why he wanted to spread the Christina faith.

Columbus wanted to gain the Church’s trust and wanted them to supply him with equipment, men and gold for future expeditions. Another factor of Christopher’s journeys was his spirit of adventure. He was curious and was eager to learn more about the Earth. He wanted to discover new trade routes from Europe to India and China without having to take the African route as it takes approximately a year to reach those two countries. Since the turks had closed the route by land, it was even more important to find a new way to get to Asia.

This also would have been a merit to him and his country as they could trade more and new things such as silks, spices, metals, gems/jewels, gold, medicines… etc. Of course, let’s not forget Columbus’s big theory: the world is round and not flat. Back in the olden days, people believed that the world was flat, and if you sailed too far, you would fall of the edge of the earth. Additionally, then believed that sea monsters inhabited the edges of the world, which was why sometimes explorers would set off on expeditions and not return.

As we move on to consequences, we find that there are many negatives aftereffects of the discovery. For one, the genocide, or mass murder of the natives. They were not all necessarily murdered, but some were also worked to death. This led to spread of fear and the idea of white or western dominance/supremacy. The natives were led to be afraid of the Spaniards and their modern technology and power over them. They were also forced into religion conversion, as they had their own gods and beliefs before being influenced by the Spanish.

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