How should historians present Christopher Columbus to future generations?
On Thursday you will be required to hand in last days questions on exploration! I will give you 25 minutes of class time to complete them before we move on.
Christopher Columbus: Hero or Villain?
Point of View: Christopher Columbus: Hero or Villain
Columbus and those who followed him brought people to the Americas– Europeans of all kinds and later African slaves to fill the plantation system’s labor needs. With the early arrivals came diseases unheard of in the Western Hemisphere.
Smallpox alone killed an estimated 50-90% of existing populations. In the other direction, at least one disease—syphilis—traveled to Europe and did tremendous damage in the years to follow. Europeans also brought their religion (primarily Catholicism), their weapons, and their iron tools. The lives of Native Americans changed dramatically: religion affected cultural
practices and belief systems, guns destroyed populations and later advanced hunting techniques, and tools changed agricultural practices. Unlike the plant and animal exchanges, the people exchange clearly favored Europe and allowed them to take full
advantage of the Americas.
Over the past 500 years, historians have developed two views of Columbus. The first, more positive view, highlights Columbus’ navigational skills, his courage, and his drive to explore. He has often been cast as a perfect American hero—independent
and progressive. Europe certainly thanked him for centuries, as his explorations led to great riches and worldwide economic advantage. The second view focuses on the damage Columbus did, especially to peoples living in the Americas. The diseases he and others after him brought with them led to the destruction of native populations. The settlement and invasions that followed effectively destroyed those native cultures. In addition, Columbus treated the Native Americans badly and was a poor colonial governor. Nonetheless, Columbus began the interaction between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres that expanded knowledge on both sides. This eventually led to the modernworld as we know it. For this, he justifiably earns both praise and criticism.
1. How should historians present Christopher Columbus to future generations?
2. Do you think Christopher Columbus should be blamed for the problems Europeans
created for the native populations?
II. Create T-Chart below based on the information from the lesson and your opinion.
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