It was the year 1492, Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus) just finished getting the blessing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to search for a shorter route to Asia, for the spice trades. He set sail with three ships, The Niña, The Pinta, and the Santa Maria from a small port in Southwestern Spain and navigated West into the unknown. After a tedious 10 week voyage, the sailor found land, present day Bahamas and called it San Salvador, he also sailed off the Eastern coast of Cuba and the northern part of the Island of Hispaniola (The island that is Haiti and Dominican Republic) and the Santa Maria shipwrecked. Columbus spent about three months in the newly discovered lands before returning and taking approximately 25 natives with him back to Spain, a few of his men stayed behind to colonize the newly discovered lands.
In his subsequent voyages, Columbus came with more ships and with even more men. He had promised the King and Queen that he would be bring riches back to Spain and those promises were hard to fill, the finding of gold was becoming hard to come by. The indigenous men were tortured, mutilated and many of them slaughtered. Women were whipped, raped, and made sex slaves. One of Columbus’s men wrote on a journal
“While I was in the boat I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me, and with whom, having taken her into my cabin, she being naked according to their custom, I conceived desire to take pleasure. I wanted to put my desire into execution but she did not want it and treated me with her finger nails in such a manner that I wished I had never begun. But seeing that (to tell you the end of it all), I took a rope and thrashed her well, for which she raised such unheard of screams that you would not have believed your ears. Finally we came to an agreement in such manner that I can tell you that she seemed to have been brought up in a school of whores.”
All in all through his four voyages, Christopher Columbus discovered the whole Caribbean region, discovered Central America and part of the Venezuelan coast. Many can argue that Columbus was a villain and set forth the building blocks of the Spanish Conquest of the Americas. Too many, he’s a hero, this is a man who set sail into waters never sailed by man, people believed the world was flat and that sailing far enough led to an abyss with sea monsters. Without his his voyages, we wouldn’t of had the exchange of plants, animals, cultures, ideas (even diseases) between the two old world and new world.
You decide, villain or hero?