Was Columbus An Imperialist Essay Research Paper

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Was Columbus An Imperialist? Essay, Research Paper Was Columbus an Imperialist? On October 12, 1492, Admiral Colon landed on a tropical Caribbean island. Finding this island was purely accidental. Colon had originally set out to find a shorter route to China and instead discovered the New World. If the purpose of Colon’s voyage was not seeking out to dominate another country (definition of imperialism) but to find a shorter route to China, then how could he be considered an imperialist? While he didn’t set out as an imperialist, some of his actions could be considered imperialistic. One of the main reasons that Kirkpatrick Sale believes that Colon was an imperialist is because “Colon went on to assign no fewer than sixty-two other names on the geography of the

islands…. with a blithe assurance suggesting that in his (and Europe’s) perception the act of name-giving was in some sense a talisman of a conquest, a rite that changed raw neutral stretches of far-off earth into extensions of Europe.”. In my opinion, what Colon did was just part of human nature. If I was an explorer in his times and I thought I had discovered a new world, I would have been naming everything in sight upon first stepping on land. Robert Royal doesn’t speak of Colon’s naming spree in his rebuttal, but he does open with a quote from Columbus. “Let us hear what their comments are now-those who are so ready with accusations and quick to find fault, saying from their safe berths there in Spain, “Why didn’t you do this or that when you were over

there.” I’d like to see their sort on this adventure…”. I think that Colon did the best he could with the knowledge and leadership skills he had. I would be curious to see what Sale would have done had he been in Colon’s position. Another major reason Sale gives for calling Columbus an imperialist is that Columbus said “And your Highnesses will command a city and fortress to be built in these parts, and these lands converted”. Sale didn’t see a reason for Columbus to want to build a fortress. Columbus hadn’t become friendly with all the Indian tribes, he may have thought that somewhere in the New World there was a threat to his small settlement. Building a city and a fortress doesn’t make him an imperialist. Columbus did use poor judgement in some respects,

but that alone doesn’t make him an imperialist. “If we wish to task Columbus for all the asymmetries that ensued, we should credit him as well for this initial attempt, later repeated by many Spanish governors and theologians, to find some just route through the thicket of massive cultural difference.” To me this quote means that while Columbus mishandled some matters in his dealings with the Indians, he also attempted to bridge the “cultural differences” between the Spanish and the natives. In his journal, Columbus said, “Your Highnesses may believe that in all the world there can be no better people or gentler people… for neither better people nor land can there be… All the people show the most singular loving behavior and they speak pleasantly.”. In fact,

Columbus became very close to King Guacanagari; they enjoyed each other’s company and even exchanged gifts. Guacanagari was so fond of Columbus that he asked that he and his brother be allowed to accompany Columbus back to Castile. When it came time to leave, Columbus gave his men this order: “…avoid as you would death annoying or tormenting the Indians, bearing in mind how much you owe these people”. I think this shows that Columbus had nothing but respect and gratitude for the Indians. Felipe Fernandez-Armesto said, “Columbus and his successors were guilty only of applying the best standards of their time”. Robert Royal makes a good point when he says “if we think we should condemn Aztec human sacrifice as wrong-not simply a different cultural form, but wrong-then