The year of 1492 was during an era of violence in the world, however it was also during the peak of the Age of Exploration. It was also the year in which Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. Many Americans rejoice and celebrate what Columbus did, however there is another side of the story that most don’t know. Although Columbus is often celebrated for his accomplishments, he should not be commemorated and remembered as a hero, but instead as an exploiter and a murderer because of the horrible and abusive actions he and his followers did upon the Indians and Africans.
Disregarding his faults, Columbus was however quite the accomplished man. Even though Columbus did not come from a particularly wealthy family that had strong connections, he still had the boldness and fearlessness to take on such a difficult endeavor of being the first person to sail across the Atlantic with no knowledge of knowing where he’s going (Parkes). In addition, Columbus somewhat represents what being an American is about in todays world, since he was a man who was confident and pursued to achieve his difficult task. In a symbolic sense Columbus can appropriately be regarded as the first American” (Parkes). Parkes is saying that Columbus personifies and symbolizes Americans today and was the first real American. He was an accomplished man in that he had the courage to take on a difficult venture which no man had done before. Although he did discover the Americas, Columbus and his followers harshly abused and exploited the Natives Americans.
Within years of arriving in the Americas, Columbus and the Spanish instituted a number of laws which enslaved millions of Native Americas into enforced labor (Marable). Furthermore, thousands of Native women were raped and taken advantage of (Marable). “What motivated Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors was the lure of gold and the possibility of exploiting the people and resources of these new lands (Marable).
Marable is telling us that Columbus and the conquistadors did not come to the New World in peace, but in the idea of taking advantage of and abusing the Natives and their resources. He… sowed such seeds from which originated and grew such deadly and pestilential herbs producing from themselves such deep roots, that it has been enough to destroy and devastate all these Indies” (de Las Casas). De Las Casas is saying that there was no stopping the abusing after it had begun, and that it was like an infection. It is clear now that Columbus and the Spanish were exploiters to the Natives and took advantage of their women and their lands and resources.